We’ve said goodbye to 2021 (good fucking riddance), and now that a new year has arrived, it’s the perfect time to look ahead at what’s to come in the world of pop culture. Partway through this piece, I realized it had gotten too long for a single post; I’ll publish part two in a few days.
- Here’s a list of highly anticipated books releasing in the new year, including memoirs from Bob Odenkirk and Hannah Gadsby, novels by Emily St. John Mandel and Emma Straub, and sequels to Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad (a book I highly recommend) and Tom Perrotta’s Election.
- Stranger Things 4
There isn’t a single piece of media that I am looking forward to more in 2022 than the long long LONG awaited fourth season of Stranger Things. Season three was released on July 4, 2019; three years is way too long to keep us waiting. Filming on season four originally began early in 2020, but the production was shut down due to COVID-19. Filming finally resumed that fall, but didn’t wrap until just this past summer. In the meantime, fans latched onto every detail we could, from casting (Robert Englund!) to episode titles (what IS “The Hellfire Club”?). Teasers were released throughout 2021 which filled in some of the blanks but always left us wanting more. We still don’t have an actual release date; the final teaser, released on November 6 to coincide with “Stranger Things Day”, just said 2022. Fingers crossed for a spring or summer release.
- Knives Out 2
Rian Johnson returns as director and Daniel Craig will reprise his role as detective Benoit Blanc. The film will not be a direct sequel to Knives Out, but rather a standalone story à la Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. The new all-star cast of potential suspects includes Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Ethan Hawke, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista. Filming took place over the summer; no word yet on an exact release date.
- The Midnight Club
Mike Flanagan’s upcoming Netflix series is an adaptation of Christopher Pike’s YA novel of the same name. The Midnight Club tells the story of a group of terminally ill teens at a hospice who make a pact that the first of them to die will attempt to make contact from beyond the grave. When one of them passes away, well…you can probably guess what happens next. The supporting cast includes frequent Flanagan collaborators Zach Gilford, Samantha Sloyan and Matt Biedel, as well as Heather Langenkamp. After watching Midnight Mass, I will follow Flanagan anywhere. Production was completed last September; no release date yet.
Damien Chazelle’s next feature, set to be released on Christmas Day, is a period drama set in Hollywood’s “Golden Age”. The to-die-for cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Katherine Waterston, Olivia Wilde and the incomparable Jean Smart (seriously, can she just be in all the things, please?). If Babylon is as sumptuous as La La Land, we’re in for a real treat.
- How I Met Your Father
HIMYM creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays signed on as executive producers of the sequel series, which features Hillary Duff and Kim Catrall as younger and older versions of Sophie. Similar to HIMYM, the older Sophie is telling her kids the story of how her younger self met their dad; unlike HIMYM, whose narrator Bob Saget (RIP) remained unseen for the duration of the series, we will actually see the older version of the character. Sophie’s friends will be played by, among others, GLOW‘s Chris Lowell, Grown-ish‘s Francia Raisa and Life of Pi‘s Suraj Sharma. HIMYM‘s Pamela Fryman directed the pilot (and serves as executive producer), which will be available on Hulu on January 18.
- Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s brilliant true crime book is certain to be one of the year’s best films. The story centers on the murders of Native Americans in Osage County, Oklahoma in the 1920s, and the birth of the FBI in response. Among the stars of the film are Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow. Oscar-winner Eric Roth adapted the screenplay and the legendary Robbie Robertson will compose the score.
- Daisy Jones & The Six
One of my favorites of the past few years, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel tells a documentary-style story of bandmates and sometime lovers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne (think Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham). The casting is spot-on; Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) is a particularly inspired choice to play Daisy. The book included lyrics to the titular band’s songs; I’m anxiously awaiting the announcement of who will compose the music for those songs. Daisy Jones & The Six will stream on Amazon Prime; no word on a release date yet.
- The Woman King
A historical epic set in the Kingdom of Dahomey (located in West Africa in what is now the country of Benin), Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King will star Viola Davis as Nanisca, a general in Dahomey’s all-female military (Dahomey’s male population was depleted by slavery and frequent warfare with neighboring West African countries). The Woman King is scheduled to be released by Sony Pictures on September 16.
- Under the Banner of Heaven
Based on Jon Krakauer’s brilliant non-fiction book, which interlaced the origins of the LDS Church with the story of a modern-day murder committed in the name of God by a pair of Mormon fundamentalist brothers, Under the Banner of Heaven will star Andrew Garfield as the devoutly Mormon detective whose faith is shaken by the case. Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk), who was raised in the Mormon church, developed the series and adapted the screenplay; Hell or High Water‘s David Mackenzie will direct. The series will air on FX and be available for streaming on Hulu; no release date yet.
- Untitled David O. Russell project
Scheduled to be released on November 4, the untitled period film will feature Christian Bale in his third collaboration with Russell, as well as Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Michael Shannon, Chris Rock and Anya Taylor-Joy. Plot details are being kept under wraps at this point, but Russell has made some of my favorite movies of the 21st century so I know this one will be on my “must-watch” list.
- Don’t Worry Darling
Olivia Wilde, out to prove that the lovely Booksmart wasn’t a fluke, will direct her second feature film, a 1950s period piece about a young housewife (the divine Florence Pugh) who discovers that the idyllic experimental community in which she and her husband reside harbors all sorts of secrets. The cast of this psychological thriller includes Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, KiKi Layne and Wilde herself. Don’t Worry Darling is set for release on September 23.