December 2021 is packed with movies and TV series to watch. Spider-Man: No Way Home is riding on mighty anticipation, as it promises three eras of the Spider-Man universe coming together. The new Spider-Man movie is due in cinemas December 16 in India. Meanwhile, on December 3, the Madrid heist comes to an end on Netflix with the final five episodes that make up Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2”. Cobra Kai and Henry Cavill-led The Witcher will also deliver new seasons on Netflix. Cobra Kai season 4 is slated for New Year’s Eve, while The Witcher season 2 is due December 17. Franchises are expanding elsewhere. The Matrix Resurrections takes us back into the Matrix on December 22, and The Book of Boba Fett takes us back to Star Wars’ famed Tatooine, beginning December 29 on Disney+ Hotstar.
From India, December 2021 brings the second season of Sushmita Sen-led crime thriller Aarya, available December 10 on Disney+ Hotstar. Also on December 10, Raveena Tandon struggles to solve the case of her life in Aranyak, over on Netflix. Amazon Prime Video gives us the third season of soapy cricket drama Inside Edge on December 3. Also on December 3, Abhishek Bachchan is Bob Biswas in the Kahaani spin-off on Zee5. December 3 also has Netflix’s LGBTQ drama Cobalt Blue. Tovino Thomas becomes a superhero in the Malayalam-language Minnal Murali, flashing in Christmas Eve on Netflix. Madhavan-led Decoupled storms in December 17 on Netflix.
If it’s more stars you are after then December 2021 has Benedict Cumberbatch in the Western drama The Power of the Dog, releasing start of the month on Netflix. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence are part of a very large ensemble in Don’t Look Up — Christmas Eve on Netflix — in which everyone ignores a very large comet headed for Earth. You can discover more about all these titles below, but there’s a lot more coming in December that we haven’t detailed below. That includes Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in Being the Ricardos (December 21 on Prime Video), Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Awkwafina in Swan Song (December 17 on Apple TV+), and Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson in The Lost Daughter (December 31 on Netflix).
There’s even more TV in December 2021. Amazon’s sci-fi drama The Expanse and Netflix’s sci-fi drama Lost in Space will both deliver their final seasons. The Expanse season 6 begins December 10 on Prime Video, while Lost in Space season 3 drops December 1 on Netflix. Lily Collins will take you back to the French capital as Emily in Paris season 2 arrives December 22 on Netflix.
Also keep an eye out for the critically-acclaimed Argentinian drama Azor (coming December 3 to Mubi), and The Hand of God (out December 15 on Netflix) from Italy’s award-winning Paolo Sorrentino.
With that, here’s our December 2021 guide to Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, HBO Max, and the cinemas.
The Power of the Dog
When: December 1
Benedict Cumberbatch plays a domineering rancher in the 1920 American West who psychologically tortures his fellow rancher brother (Jesse Plemons) and his wife (Kirsten Dunst). The Piano director Jane Campion adapts Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name, in what is her first feature-length movie in 12 years.
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy, Peter Carroll, and Adam Beach also star. The Power of the Dog has gotten tremendous reviews since its world premiere at the 2021 Venice Film Festival — and is currently regarded as one of the best films to release in 2021.
When: December 3
In this sequel spin-off to writer-director Sujoy Ghosh’s National Award-winning thriller Kahaani, Abhishek Bachchan steps into the titular middle-aged hitman role that was originally intended for him, as Ghosh has claimed. Having woken from a years-long coma, Bob Biswas (Bachchan) discovers he has forgotten much of his past: his profession and his family, wife (Chitrangada Singh) and two kids. When he’s driven into the old job, Biswas finds himself at a moral crossroads.
Ghosh’s daughter Diya Annapurna Ghosh takes over director on Bob Biswas, with Ghosh still supplying the script. Bachchan takes over from Saswata Chatterjee who played Biswas in Kahaani.
When: December 3
Over three years after it was first announced, Sachin Kundalkar’s adaptation of his own best-selling LGTBQ novel finally comes to life. Set in the early 1990s, a brother (Neelay Mehendale) and sister (Anjali Sivaraman) fall in love with the same man (Prateik Babbar) who is staying with their traditional Marathi family — which naturally blows everything apart. As Netflix said then, Cobalt Blue is about the “pain and the beauty of forbidden love.”
Anant V. Joshi, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Shishir Sharma, and Neil Bhoopalam also star.
When: December 3
Where: Amazon Prime Video
The third season of Amazon’s soapy cricket drama shits focus from the IPL (I mean, Power Play League) to international rivalry. As an India vs Pakistan Test series gets underway — a real one hasn’t happened since 2007–08 due to poor relations between the respective governments — the murky politics threatens to get in the way.
All eyes are trained on cricket board president and PPL founder Yashvardhan “Bhaisahab” Patil (Aamir Bashir). The sports management firm owner Vikrant Dhawan (Vivek Oberoi) is gunning for revenge, and Mumbai Mavericks co-owner Zarina Malik (Richa Chadha) is gunning for Bhaisahab’s chair.
Meanwhile, the hothead Vayu (Tanuj Virwani) eggs his girlfriend and Patil’s daughter Mantra (Sapna Pabbi) to legalise betting in India, the Indian cricket team’s captain (Akshay Oberoi, new to season 3) tries to hide his homosexuality from public, and Vayu’s sister Rohini (Sayani Gupta) begins digging into their family history.
Kanishk Varma (Sanak) takes over as director, with Karan Anshuman remaining as creator. All Inside Edge season 3 epsiodes will be available at once.
When: December 3
The end is nigh. The final five episodes of the hit Spanish series — known as La Casa de Papel to Spanish speakers — that make up Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” are set to be unfurled in one go. And they are promising to be dramatic if nothing else. Spoilers ahead for “Volume 1”. Following Tokyo’s (Úrsula Corberó) death, The Professor (Álvaro Morte) is haunted by how his actions have led to the death of many of his comrades. And he’s now insistent that no one else should die for him.
That’s a smart way to wrap up the show, as the heist’s mastermind begins to question the worth and meaning of what he’s put into motion. But the authorities are hanging around for The Professor’s internal questioning — as they prepare to barge in and put an end to the heist once and for all. For Money Heist fans, Friday also brings the second episode of the making-of docuseries Money Heist: From Tokyo to Berlin.
When: December 10
Where: Disney+ Hotstar
Sushmita Sen’s mafia queen Aarya Sareen is back for more in the second season of Ram Madhvani’s (Neerja) crime thriller — and she has no shortage of problems. She needs to deliver Rs. 300 crore in five days to a foreign gangster. Her brother Sangram (Ankur Bhatia) is possibly gunning for her. And Akash Khurana’s new main character — he is billed second after Sen — wants to avenge his son’s death and vows that Aarya will pay with her life.
Jayant Kripalani, Sikandar Kher, Vikas Kumar, Sugandha Garg, Dilnaz Irani, Maya Sarao, Sohaila Kapur, Vishwajeet Pradhan, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Charu Shankar, Tariq Vasudeva, Virti Vaghani, Shataf Figar, Viren Vazirani, Shweta Pasricha, and Pratyaksh Panwar also star. Madhvani is one of three directors on Aarya season 2 alongside Vinod Rawat and Kapil Sharma. Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh and Anu Singh Choudhary form the writing team.
All Aarya season 2 episodes will be available on release date, December 10.
When: December 10
Raveena Tandon plays Kasturi Dogra, the station chief of a misty fictional Himalayan town called Sironah in this crime thriller who has sacrificed her entire life for that “one big case”. But after that case — the daughter of a foreign tourist has gone missing — turns up just as she’s about to retire, Kasturi must reluctantly work with her city-bred replacement Angad Malik (Parambrata Chatterjee).
If that sounds like India’s Mare of Easttown to you, you’re not far off. There’s a bunch of personal agendas involved here, in addition to politicians who are getting in the way of the police investigation. Aranyak also hints at supernatural happenings, with the synopsis talking about a “bloodthirsty, serial killing entity in the forest.” Will this be literal or metaphorical? We’ll see.
All Aranyak episodes will premiere at once, as is Netflix custom.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
When: December 16
This year’s most-awaited superhero movie is set to wrap up the year in mind-boggling, multiverse fashion. With Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity revealed to the public in the Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scene, everyone gets too friendly with our friendly neighbourhood superhero. Peter believes the only solution is to make everyone forget it ever happened — and so he does the only logical thing he can think of: ask Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell.
And Strange agrees, as the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailers have shown. Wait, what now? I’m having a hard time believing that Doctor Strange, a Master of the Mystic Arts endowed with massive responsibility as the carrier of the Time Stone, would agree to such a proposal. (Maybe this is Strange from another universe?) Just ask the kid to get on with his life, he’s not the first superhero whose identity is public. Anyway, this stupid plan turns out to be very stupid.
How stupid, you ask? Well, it somehow opens a portal that leads to the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting visitors from other dimensions — in the form of Spidey villains we have seen in Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. I’m talking all of them, from Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), The Sandman, The Lizard, and Electro (Jamie Foxx). Most of them died so it’s curious how they are back.
There’s even talk of Maguire and Garfield returning as respective Peter Parkers in the third act of Spider-Man: No Way Home to help out Holland, but everyone involved has repeatedly and vehemently denied such a thing. Guess we will just have to wait to catch the Spider-Man movie for ourselves to discuss the truth once and for all.
Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, J.B. Smoove, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Hannibal Buress, and J.K. Simmons also star. Jon Watts — of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Far From Home — is back as director, working off a screenplay by returning co-writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Available in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu in India.
When: December 17
R. Madhavan and Sacred Games’ Surveen Chawla play a separated couple — one’s a misanthropic writer and the other’s a start-up founder — who have decided to stay together for the sake of their tween daughter in this comedy-drama that comes from A Serious Men author Manu Joseph. They are seeing other people on the side, though not all is lost between them as the Decoupled trailer suggests.
After all, they know what makes each other tick, and there’s a long past here. It’s just that they are divided on how long those good times lasted. Awkward.
National Award-winning Hardik Mehta (Kaamyaab) directs. Vikramaditya Motwane is among the executive producers alongside Joseph and Mehta. All Decoupled episodes will be available together.
When: December 17
Toss a coin, The Witcher is back. In the second season of the Henry Cavill-led fantasy series, the mayhem has increased. The Continent’s North and South are at war. Monsters are at full force, out attacking when they should be hibernating. And everyone’s favourite bard (Joey Batey) has made some mouse friends. Okay, one of those is not like the others.
Believing the sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) to be dead, the monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Cavill) brings Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) to his childhood home Kaer Morhen, the safest place he knows. Ciri takes up training in The Witcher season 2, noting that’s it her home and her fight. Yennefer is still alive, advising the Nilfgaardian sorceress pawn Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni).
All episodes of The Witcher season 2 will release at once on release date. The Witcher has already been renewed for season 3.
The Matrix Resurrections
When: December 22
Where: Cinemas + HBO Max
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back as Neo and Trinity, though their characters don’t seem to recognise each other in this fourth Matrix movie — the first since the original trilogy wrapped 18 years ago. Though The Matrix Resurrections trailer shows them surviving together. In another behind-the-scenes first, Lana Wachowski, one half of The Wachowskis, is going solo as director.
We don’t know much about The Matrix Resurrections, save for the fact that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is playing a younger Morpheus somehow, taking over from Laurence Fishburne. Jonathan Groff, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Eréndira Ibarra, and Christina Ricci are new to the Matrix. Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson, and Daniel Bernhardt are among the returnees.
Available in Indian cinemas in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Also streaming for the first month on HBO Max in the US.
Don’t Look Up
When: December 24
Netflix forked over $55 million (about Rs. X crore) to pair up Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in the lead for this satirical black comedy about two minor astronomers (DiCaprio and Lawrence) who discover that a “very large” comet is headed towards Earth. But turns out no one is really bothered — including Meryl Streep’s US President and her annoying chief of staff son (Jonah Hill) — not unless they can make trillions of dollars off of it.
Rob Morgan plays a scientist aide to DiCaprio and Lawrence’s characters, Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry play TV anchors, and Ariana Grande is basically herself but dumber. Don’t Look Up also has roles for Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Ron Perlman, Kid Cudi, Himesh Patel, Matthew Perry, and Chris Evans. Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice) directs and writes.
When: December 24
After he’s struck by lightning, an ordinary man (Tovino Thomas) from the 1990s is bestowed with superpowers not death. That includes super-strength, super-speed, and even expert trick-shot calculations, as the Minnal Murali trailer shows. He becomes the vigilante/ superhero Minnal Murali. Naturally, this doesn’t sit well with the local police who plead with the public to help them catch him.
Guru Somasundaram, Harisree Ashokan, and Aju Varghese also star. Basil Joseph (Godha) directs off a screenplay written by Arun Anirudhan (Padayottam) and newcomer Justin Mathew. Sameer Thahir is the director of photography, Livingston Mathew the editor, with Shaan Rahman and Sushin Shyam providing the background score.
The Book of Boba Fett
When: December 29
Where: Disney+ Hotstar
Waiting for The Mandalorian to return? Here’s something to tide you by. Boba Fett (Temeura Morrison) and his mercenary in-service Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), who partnered up in The Mandalorian season 2 before going their own way, lead this new live-action Star Wars series that’s been internally referred to as The Mandalorian season 2.5.
The Book of Boba Fett finds them managing the Tatooine underworld — it will also explore Fett’s life between Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and The Mandalorian season 2. Robert Rodriguez, who directed The Mandalorian episode that brought Morrison back, is directing multiple The Book of Boba Fett episodes.
The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau, Star Wars veteran Dave Filoni, and The Mandalorian director Bryce Dallas Howard are also involved behind the scenes on The Book of Boba Fett. New episodes will air weekly on Wednesdays.
When: December 31
Going by that old proverb, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) team up in the fourth season of this over-the-top dojo drama to take down Cobra Kai, now in the hands of John Kreese (Martin Kove). And by take down, I mean compete at the under-18 karate tournament. Though as Cobra Kai has shown previously, it’s willing to get a little too crazy at times. Like calm down, it’s just kids learning karate.
Also, if Cobra Kai does come down at the end of season four, is Cobra Kai still Cobra Kai? insert thinking emoji For what it’s worth, Netflix has already renewed the series for a fifth season — filming on which is nearly complete.
All Cobra Kai season 4 episodes will be available on release date.