The global crisis has been a double-edged sword for kids’ films and TV. On the one hand, we’re all watching more of it, thanks to being stuck indoors. On the other, workplace restrictions have slowed down work and cinematic release of many productions. Even so, there’s much to look forward to in 2021, both on the small and (assuming they can open) big screens. Here, we round up the best upcoming releases on the commonest streaming platforms, as well as some of the blockbuster movies for this year.
Coming to Netflix in 2021
Fate: The Winx Saga: (22 January) Part high-school drama, part fantasy epic, Netflix’s new live-action teen show is adapted from a Nickelodeon animation.
Angry Birds: Summer Madness: (summer) After a decade of squawking their way across our tablets, the Angry Birds show no signs of slowing down. This 40-episode series hits Netflix in the summer.
Jupiter’s Legacy: (release date unknown) This new series follows the world’s first superheroes, who received their powers in the 1930s but are now ageing grandparents.
Lost Ollie: (release date unknown) William Joyce’s beloved story about a lost toy, Ollie’s Odyssey, has now been adapted for the small screen, and promises to be a bit of a tear-jerker.
Maya and the Three: (release date unknown) A new animated series following the adventures of a warrior princess in a fictionalised Mesoamerica, and described as a “Mexican Lord of the Rings” (pictured below). It comes from Jorge Gutierrez, who directed and co-wrote the stirring Book of Life.
My Father’s Dragon: (Release date unknown) An animated version of Ruth Stiles Gannett’s 1948 children’s novel about a runaway’s search for a dragon.
Coming to Disney+ in 2021
Marvel stuff: After a relatively quiet 2020, Marvel is cranking through the gears again with the release of many new shows and shorts (not all of which are listed here). The big lead is WandaVision (15 January), which sees the two titular characters somehow transposed to 1950s domestic heaven (though all is surely not what it seems). Marvel Legends, meanwhile, offers potted histories of some of the key Marvel Cinematic Universe characters -- useful primers or reminders if you’ve not seen the films a dozen times already. X-Men Apocalypse makes it onto the platform on 29 January. Loki is getting his own series from May, with Hawkeye following suit later in the year, while The Falcon and Winter Soldier get a joint spin-off in March. Blimey.
Pixar Popcorn: (22 January) New animated shorts from franchises such as Toy Story, The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.
Flora and Ulysses: (19 February) A Disney family comedy based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo. Flora is a girl, Ulysses is a squirrel with superpowers. Sounds nuts.
The Book of Life: (22 January) Not a new film, but the welcome return of an old favourite. Three years before Disney’s Coco came this Day-of-the-Dead-influenced animation from Guillermo del Toro and Jorge Gutierrez. Despite the subject matter, it’s firmly aimed at kids.
Raya and the Last Dragon: (15 March) The next big animated Disney film is highly anticipated. This sword-and-sorcery tale will be available to Disney+ subscribers with premier access from March, and presumably everyone else a little later in the year.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch: (release date unknown) A new animated Star Wars series, featuring a band of elite clone troopers with genetic mutations. May not be based on actual events.
Star Wars: Visions: (release date unknown) Another spin-off from a galaxy far, far away, this time told in anthology format, in an anime style. Sounds intriguing.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: (release date unknown) Animated version of the popular Jeff Kinney stories.
Coming to Amazon Prime in 2021
Prime’s plans for the new year are a little harder to decipher, but a fer things caught our eye:
Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten: (spring release date unknown) This Amazon Original series has a premise that’s pretty self-explanatory from the title. Aimed at kids aged 4-7, it explores, over 52 short episodes, the adventures of a bunch of pre-schoolers with super powers.
Do, Re, Mi: (Release date unknown) Animated sing-song series aimed at preschoolers. The voice talent includes Kristen Bell (Anna from Frozen, among other roles).
The Lord of the Rings TV Series: (Release date unknown) Set thousands of years before the events of the films, and is said to be the most expensive TV series ever made. This one’s going to be huge, obviously.
Kids’ Films To Look Out For In 2021
As well as all these new TV shows, the year also promises a strong set of films for kids and teens.
5 February: Cinderella. A live-action remake of the Disney classic.
12 March: Raya and the Last Dragon. The next major Disney animation.
26 March: Peter Rabbit 2. Sequel to the rather excellent 2018 live-action film.
14 May: Rumble. A new Paramount animation about wrestling monsters.
28 May: Cruella. A fresh Disney movie about the 101 Dalmatians villain.
11 June: Ghostbusters Afterlife. A reboot/sequel of the beloved movie franchise, featuring many of the original cast.
18 June: Luca. The next major film from Pixar -- always an event.
2 July: Minions: the Rise of Gru. The yellow ones return for another origin story, this time with a young Gru.
30 July: Jungle Cruise. A new Disney film starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, based on a Disney World theme park attraction.
6 August: Hotel Transylvania 4. Let’s just hope it has more bite than the lacklustre third outing.
17 September: The Boss Baby: Family Business.
24 November: Encanto. Another major Disney film, featuring a magical family in Colombia.
17 December: New (as-yet untitled) Spiderman film. One of several Marvel films coming out this year (also Black Widow, Shang-Chi and Eternals), though this is likely to be the most family-oriented.
22 December: Sing 2. Sequel to one of the best family films of recent years.
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