A slew of family-friendly movies and TV series headed to the screen in 2021 capitalize on the nostalgia of new parents (and old fans).
Tom Cruise reclaims his role as Lt. Pete “Maverick” in the upcoming movie Top Gun: Maverick
Hollywood has always trafficked in nostalgia, but several of 2021’s biggest film and TV projects are geared especially toward millennials and Gen X viewers who can now share some of their childhood favorites with their own kids (or just relive the glory days themselves from a new perspective). From the latest big-budget Disney stand-alone—Emma Stone’s Cruella, a villain origin story set amid a delicious ’70s punk London backdrop—to several streaming series geared toward old and new fans alike (Cobra Kai, Punky Brewster, and even reality series The Real World Homecoming and The Challenge: All Stars), there are plenty of nostalgia-soaked options on offer this year.
LeBron James stars alongside Tweety Bird and other Looney Tunes favorites in Space Jam: A New Legacy
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Due in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, this part animated, part live-action family flick is a remake of the ’90s classic that starred Michael Jordan. This time, instead of the Bulls superstar facing off against an evil alien theme park developer, it’s next-generation basketball G.O.A.T. (and sometime actor) LeBron James as a fictional version of himself who must win a basketball game against an AI dream team in order to save his son. His teammates? Looney Tunes faves including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Lola Bunny and more. James’ co-stars include Sonequa Martin-Green as his fictional wife, Kamiyah, and Don Cheadle as rogue AI Al-G Rhythm.
Josh Peck takes on the role of Tom Hanks’ son in the new Disney series Turner & Hooch
Turner & Hooch
The 1989 Tom Hanks buddy cop classic gets a sequel of sorts in this Disney+ series, which stars Josh Peck as the son of Hanks’ character. Scott Turner Jr. is a U.S. marshal who, much like his father, unexpectedly inherits a dog that turns out to be the crime-solving partner he never knew he needed. Burn Notice creator Matt Nix developed the revival, which also stars Carra Patterson, Brandon Jay McLaren, Anthony Ruivivar, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jeremy Maguire, Vanessa Lengies and, of course, five different French mastiffs as the lovable Hooch. Reginald VelJohnson reprises his role from the original film. The family comedy series will premiere on Disney+ in July.
The latest reboot of Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and more.
Ignoring the events of 2016’s Melissa McCarthy-led Ghostbusters reboot, this latest film is a live-action, long-in-the-works sequel to the first two Ghostbusters films. Fittingly, Jason Reitman follows in the footsteps of his father, original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, as both director and co-writer (with Gil Kenan) of the new film. Afterlife follows a single mom (Carrie Coon) and her two teenage kids (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) as they arrive in a small town and discover their connection to the original ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. Thanks to a COVID-delayed release, it’ll hit theaters Nov. 11—more than 32 years after Ghostbusters II.
Jon Hamm as Vice Admiral Cyclone in the upcoming movie Top Gun: Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick
This sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise classic was originally slated for several different release dates across multiple years before landing in theaters the weekend of Nov. 11. Cruise returns as test pilot and top Navy aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who is now a flight instructor training a new generation of Top Gun graduates—including Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), son of Maverick’s late BFF, Goose. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell and Lewis Pullman star in the film—along with one of the most anticipated returns of all: Kenny Loggins’ hit “Danger Zone,” which will definitely feature in the sequel, the singer has confirmed.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
The Ducks still fly together in this series inspired by the ’90s hockey-themed kid classics—only now they’re the bad guys. The Mighty Ducks are a powerhouse team with no room for underdogs, so intrepid hockey mom Alex Morrow (Lauren Graham) teams up with original Ducks coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) to create a new team that will house the preteen underdogs like her son, Evan (Brady Noon), rejected from the Ducks. The series premiered on Disney+ in March, and its first season features cameos from several of the film series’ original stars.
The Ducks’ new teammates include Maxwell Simkins, Taegen Burns, Brady Noon and more.
Photography by: Farah Nosh/Disney; Liane Hentscher/Disney; Courtesy of Sony Pictures; Warner Bros./Zuma Press; Paramount Pictures