Quarantine has given us a lot to talk about: “What are you watching? What are you reading? How are you spending your time?”
In fact, all of this “extra time” and a smaller social calendar make us appreciate even more the entertainment that’s kept us, well, entertained, in 2020. From “Tiger King” to Drake’s “Toosie Slide” dance, and “Schitt’s Creek’s” history-making sweep at the Emmys in September, these cultural touchstones brought us together from the comfort of our own homes.
With that in mind, here are eight Canadian pop culture moments to look forward to in 2021:
The Weeknd to headline the Super Bowl halftime show (Feb. 7)
How about this for “Blinding Lights”? This “Starboy” will be the first Canadian to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show since Shania Twain co-headlined with No Doubt and Sting in 2003! For those keeping score, the 30-year-old Scarborough, Ont.-raised R&B singer, born Abel Tesfaye, would have been 12 years old at the time.
Since Shania went “Up!” in the early aughts, The Weeknd has scored one touchdown after another with his music career, earning five Billboard No. 1 hit singles on the Hot 100 charts, 10 Juno Awards, and three Grammy Awards, even if the Recording Academy inexplicably shut him out of this year’s nominations.
However, in spite of the enigmatic, press-shy musician’s gripes about these snubs on social media, we feel he will tell us all to “Save Your Tears” for this amazing, showstopping performance. And who knows … perhaps he will show up in “character” to keep us all guessing?
Keanu Reeves proves he’s “The One” again in “The Matrix 4″ (Dec. 22)
Dust off your long black trench coat, and get those sunglasses ready, because Neo is back for a fourth go at discovering the truth, and protecting humanity!
And come on, don’t pretend that you are not the least bit curious to see how Keanu’s “John Wick” moves or “Always Be My Maybe” slow-walking skills will influence his “Matrix” fight scenes.
Céline Dion’s rescheduled North American “Courage” tour (August 2021 ... for now)
“Near ... far ... wherever you are ... ” Céline Dion rescheduled part of the North American leg of her world tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is set to hit Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Edmonton in August 2021, unless it’s deemed not safe to do so.
And for those of us with Céline wanderlust, we can always receive a Titanic-inspired “Heart of the Ocean” diamond keychain that aptly reads “My Heart Will Go On” with any merch purchase over $50.
Simu Liu’s Marvel leading man moment (July 9, 2021)
From Bay Street accountant to stuntman to actor to Marvel’s first leading superhero of Asian descent, Simu Liu has come a long way since answering a Craigslist ad to be an extra in the 2013 sci-fi film, “Pacific Rim.”
In addition to reprising his role as “Jung” in season five of “Kim’s Convenience” in January, Liu’s historic Marvel superhero film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings” will hit theatres seven months later. The film recently wrapped production in Australia, and also stars Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, and Tony Leung. We can’t wait!
Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk and Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel (dates TBD)
There must be something in the water when it comes to Canadian superheroes. Or, perhaps Marvel casting is our newly unlocked Canadian super power? After months of denials, Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany was officially announced to play She-Hulk in an upcoming Disney+ series, opposite everybody’s favourite angry greenthumb, Mark Ruffalo.
Iman Vellani, a Markham, Ont. teen, is also “social media official” as Ms. Marvel! The Pakistani-Canadian appears in a new featurette as the streaming series’ title character, and will also make a splash on the big screen in the upcoming “Captain Marvel” sequel, due out in 2022.
Celeste Yim continues to kill it as “Saturday Night Live’s” latest Canadian writer
Sure, “Saturday Night Live” is Lorne Michaels’ brainchild, but in September, a different Torontonian made their “Live from New York” debut as part of the writing staff.
Since starting their tenure, the comedian and playwright has already gifted us with the Montréal news parody (and Céline Dion-friendly) “Bonjour/Hi” and “DrakeWatch,” and this very relatable sketch about informing your parents you cannot come home for the holidays. Yim’s blistering wit and CanCon references will continue to make us laugh into the new year.
Karena Evans directs episodes of the “Gossip Girl” reboot for HBO Max (sometime in 2021)
If you ask Drake, perhaps it was a divine order that the director behind his “God’s Plan” and “In My Feelings” music videos — among others — will be saying “xoxo, Gossip Girl” as the director of the first two episodes of the much-hyped HBO Max reboot.
The Toronto-born actress and filmmaker has a passion for inclusive storytelling, having won the 2019 BET Award for Music Video Director of the Year for her creative vision for Drake.
Tracey Deer’s “Beans” hits theatres (sometime in 2021)
Having acclaimed Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay celebrating your feature directorial debut? Well, that’s one way to get the buzz going!
Tracey Deer may be best known for creating the “Sex and the City”-inspired dramedy series “Mohawk Girls,” based on her documentary of the same name, but it’s her loosely-autobiographical film “Beans” which earned her the TIFF Emerging Talent Award back in September.
The film, which follows a tween girl’s perspective of the 1990 Oka Crisis in Quebec, sees the title character Beans process discrimination and racial injustice while coming of age.
Due for release next year, this relatable, unflinching portrayal of a uniquely Indigenous story looks to be a breakout, word-of-mouth hit, already garnering a 95 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and winning second runner-up from the TIFF People’s Choice Awards. For reference, 2019’s second runner-up in the audience vote? Eventual Oscars 2020 Best Picture winner, “Parasite.”
WATCH: Top 10 Moira Rose outfits on “Schitt’s Creek.”