The Marvel Cinematic Universe made a huge comeback in 2021 when it went radio silent in 2020 (no thanks, COVID-19). After a year of not losing our minds over mid- and post-credit scenes, we were welcomed back to the MCU in the best way possible — with the introduction of THE MULTIVERSE.
Everything has been pretty much linear in the MCU before 2021. But when 2021 hit, the probability of multiple universes became a reality (thanks Sylvie!). Now, we’re in the middle of the year and already we’re bombarded with hints about the upcoming Multiverse War while meeting new heroes along the way.
It has been a fruitful year for the MCU, and we’re not even done yet. Here’s a recap of what has happened so far, where we are right now and what to expect this 2021.
What Has Happened So Far
The MCU opened 2021 with Wanda Maximoff and the supposed-to-be-dead Vision stuck in a sitcom wonderland of Wanda’s own doing. “WandaVision” started as a lighthearted “sitcom” and turned out to be a heart-wrenching reminder of the five stages of grief as we realize that Wanda has trapped the people in Westview, so she can have her happily ever after with Vision and their two kids, Tommy and Billy.
Sadly, Wanda had to say goodbye to Vision and the kids as she faced her losses. At the same time, she embraces her destiny as the Scarlet Witch (thank you, Agnes aka Agatha Harkness for the head’s up).
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Next, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” revealed that Sam Wilson (Falcon) refused to take Captain America’s shield due to his lack of confidence and concerns with racism. At the same time, Bucky Barnes continues to recover from the trauma of being the Winter Soldier. Two broken people close to Steve Rogers end up teaming together to defeat Flag Smashers, a dupe of Captain America and the Power Broker (Sharon Carter is it you?!).
TFATWS wrapped up with Sam finally taking up the mantel of Captain America, the world acknowledging the black soldier who suffered from the Super Soldier Serum and Bucky finally forgiving himself for his past.
Natasha Romanoff makes her grand exit with a solo film: “Black Widow.” The movie follows Nat unintentionally uniting with her first family after the events of the civil war. We’re introduced to her unconventional pretend family: little sister Yelena Belova (aka the coolest character to exist), Alexei (Red Guardian, not Crimson Dynamo) and Melina (Mama of the Year).
Apart from realizing that the Red Room is still in order, Nat faces the consequences of her actions in Budapest.
“Black Widow” gives Nat the sendoff she deserves by having her shut the Red Room down for real, reconnecting with her first family and cutting her hair short as she takes a Quinjet to rescue the other imprisoned Avengers.
“WandaVision” gave us whispers of the multiverse, but “Loki” opened the damn door. We follow the 2012 version of the God of Mischief as he is apprehended by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) for causing a branch in the Sacred Timeline (aka the main MCU timeline).
If you recall, 2012 Loki stole the Tesseract during the Avengers’ time heist.
Instead of being imprisoned, Loki is hired by the TVA to help them track down a variant causing a ruckus around the TVA and the Sacred Timeline. It turns out the culprit is a female variant of himself, Sylvie. Loki ends up teaming with Sylvie to find out the people behind the TVA. Along the way, he ends up becoming friends with Mobius and falling for Sylvie. He also meets up with other versions of himself (we’re not forgetting Alligator Loki ever).
But the biggest shocker comes when Loki and Sylvie arrive at the end of time and meet HE WHO REMAINS, played by Jonathan Majors who will also play Kang the Conqueror, a more evil variant of He Who Remains. The finale has everyone sobbing as Sylvie kisses Loki goodbye and stabs He Who Remains, opening up the multiverse!
Thanks to Sylvie, ANYTHING IS NOW POSSIBLE IN THE MCU!
“What If?” explores the alternate realities in the MCU. Since the multiverse is now canon, all of these realities are canon too.
The Watcher from “What If?” takes us to different possibilities: a world without the Avengers, T’Challa as Star Lord, Thor enjoying his partying ways and zombies! We also get to meet different versions of our favorite heroes and alternate endings to iconic movies.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Finally, some Asian representation in the MCU! Shang-Chi makes his big debut to the universe in his film “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings.” The movie follows Shang-Chi as he is drawn back to his past by the Ten Rings organization, a group led by his father Xu Wenwu, the man who discovered the mystical ten rings.
Shang-Chi must stop his father from releasing the Dweller-in-Darkness, who is using the memory of his deceased mother to entice Wenwu. Our protagonist, a former runaway, embraces his destiny as he eventually inherits the powerful ten rings from his father after a long battle that revealed his power as a protector.
What to Expect
Former Avenger Clint Barton finally has his family with him. With Christmas fast approaching, all he wants is to spend more time with his wife and kids and heal from the trauma of the Snap. But when you’re Hawkeye, that’s just not possible.
His past catches up with him. At the same time, a girl named Kate Bishop is a super fan of him and a super fan of becoming a superhero. Can Clint Barton make it in time for Christmas and save the world while he’s at it?
Spider-Man: No Way Home
THIS IS THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE OF THE MCU’S 2021 MULTIVERSE MAP.
For this first time in history, everyone knows who Spider-Man is. Peter Parker can no longer separate his normal life from his superhero life. So, to restore the secrecy of his identity, Peter approaches Doctor Strange who, oddly enough, agrees to his request. But this request for secrecy results in a disturbance in the multiverse that results in Peter dealing with iconic villains from other Spider-Man universes!
MCU’s 2021 comeback is one for the books and it will surely end with a bang! What’s your favorite part of the MCU so far? Let us know!
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Ashley is an awkward potato in love with words, Kpop, and corgis. She spends her free time dancing like one of those balloon things you see in malls.