The coronavirus pandemic affected just about every aspect of life this year — from how we work to the way we educate our kids, shop, socialize and more. It’s especially influenced the way we consume pop culture … or don’t. As 2020 comes to a close, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the top 20 pop culture events we missed out on this year, starting with the eagerly anticipated “Friends” reunion… The special was originally scheduled to shoot in March and premiere on HBO Max when the new streaming platform debuted in May. By the time May rolled around, fans were hopeful Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer would be able to safely reunite by the end of the summer. But then in August, the erstwhile Rachel Green revealed that the reunion had been delayed yet again. More bad news came in November when Matthew Perry tweeted that the reunion wouldn’t shoot until “the beginning of March” 2021 at the earliest. Whether or not that happens is anyone’s guess! Now keep reading for more pop culture events that were canceled or delayed this year…
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The first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Black Widow,” was set to open in theaters on May 1, 2020. Instead, fans have to wait a full year — until May 7, 2021 — to see Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff on the big screen again. She wasn’t the only superhero sidelined by the pandemic… “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” the Tom Hardy-starring sequel to 2018’s “Venom,” was pushed from October 2020 to June 25, 2021, and Marvel’s “Eternals” — which will feature an all-star cast including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, “Game of Thrones” alums Kit Harington and Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani and Brian Tyree Henry — was delayed from November 2020 to November 2021.
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Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez were set to tie the knot in 2020 but canceled their wedding plans twice amid the coronavirus pandemic. They weren’t the only ones… Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom also pushed their wedding plans amid the global health crisis. So did Sarah Hyland and Wells Adams, along with several other power couples. Guess we’ll have to wait till 2021 to see if J.Lo or KP had the cuter wedding dress…
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We weep for the fashion moments that might’ve been! In late May, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that the 2020 edition of its annual gala benefiting the Costume Institute — which is widely considered fashion’s biggest night — had been canceled amid safety concerns. This year’s gala was meant to celebrate the Met’s 150th anniversary and the exhibition “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” which focuses on fashion between 1870 and the present day. Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière were set to co-chair the A-list affair — which also would’ve marked Meryl’s Met Gala debut.
Taylor Swift was set to headline her very own two-day music festival, Lover Fest, in 2020. There were supposed to be two iterations of the mysterious event: Lover Fest East in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and Lover Fest West in the Los Angeles area. Instead, the events were pushed to 2021. Also pushed to 2021? The Grammy winner’s first official concerts in Brazil — which would’ve marked her first shows ever in South America. Taylor was also planning to play her first concerts in Denmark, Poland and Portugal this year, but those gigs, along with the rest of her international tour stops, have been canceled.
In April, the organizers of San Diego Comic-Con — the world’s largest annual comic and pop culture festival — officially canceled all in-person events scheduled for 2020, which is a huge shame considering it was the convention’s 50th anniversary this year. As an alternative, SDCC At Home — a free digital streaming event — featured panels, exclusive merch drops, trailer debuts and sneak peeks at various upcoming genre movies and TV shows. But ultimately, it failed to make much impact compared to the in-person event, which featured surprise appearances by Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and more in 2019. Speaking of Tom Cruise…
“Top Gun: Maverick,” the long-awaited sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun,” was scheduled to open in theaters in June 2020. Then in March, Paramount pushed its release date to Dec. 23, 2020. In July, it was pushed back ever further: to July 2, 2021. Buzz around the action-drama — which will feature returning stars Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer along with Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Glen Powell and Ed Harris — is already extremely good, making the long wait all the more painful.
It’s our favorite music event of the year: the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place over two weekends in April at the Empire Polo Club in Southern California. Rage Against the Machine (playing some of their first shows in nearly a decade), Travis Scott and Frank Ocean were set to headline the 2020 edition of the fest, which would’ve featured performances by Megan Thee Stallion, Lana Del Rey, Calvin Harris, Big Sean, FKA twigs and many, many, many more. The celeb-loved desert dance party is also a prime opportunity for stargazing: Countless uber-exclusive parties for the rich and famous coincide with the festival each year. In March, organizers pushed Coachella from April 2020 to October 2020. In June, they pushed it again — from October 2020 to April 2021. Now, there are unconfirmed reports that the event won’t take place until October 2021 at the earliest. Other music festivals that got the axe this year? Southern California’s Stagecoach Festival, Chicago’s Lollapalooza, New York City’s Governors Ball, England’s Glastonbury Festival, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival and many more.
The Television Academy still handed out trophies during the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20, 2020. But instead of one of the year’s biggest red carpet events, we got a mostly virtual show that saw stars like Zendaya, Regina King, Mark Ruffalo and Billy Crudup accepting Emmys from the comfort of their own homes while Jimmy Kimmel hosted from Los Angeles’s Staples Center with special drop-ins from Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and a few other bold-faced names. Leading ladies like Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon still tried to serve up some fun fashion moments, but it just wasn’t the same!
The ninth installment in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, “F9,” was set to open in theaters in May 2020. Instead, fans will have to wait a full year longer — until May 28, 2021 — to see Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster and Nathalie Emmanuel reunite on screen. “F9” will also feature the long-awaited return of Sung Kang’s Han Lue, plus John Cena’s debut in the franchise, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in June 2021.
Fans were heartbroken to see that “Empire” came to an end on April 21, 2020, not with a bang but with a whimper. The sixth and final season of the FOX musical drama was meant to be 20 episodes, but when the coronavirus pandemic forced Hollywood film and TV productions to abruptly shut down for safety reasons, the network opted to conclude the series two episodes shy of its original commitment. Showrunner Brett Mahoney was forced to cobble together elements from the completed 18th episode and the half-completed 19th episode so that episode 18 could serve as the series finale. As a result, several loose threads were left hanging, leaving fans completely dissatisfied with the conclusion. While many shows were forced to end seasons early with unexpected cliffhangers due to the shutdown, only “Empire” was forced to a premature series finale. In April, Danny Strong, who co-created the series with Lee Daniels, told The Wrap that he hadn’t given up hope on eventually delivering a proper finale: “We had an ending for the series planned that we all loved, and hopefully someday we’ll be able to film it and give the series its proper conclusion,” he said. We can only hope!
In early December, Billie Eilish announced that she was officially canceling her “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” tour, which she initially postponed in March after just three stops. She wasn’t the only superstar we missed out on seeing this year… The Foo Fighters pushed their 25th anniversary tour from the spring of 2020 to the fall of 2020 before ultimately canceling it. BTS indefinitely postponed their 2020 “Map of the Soul” world tour. The Weeknd pushed his “After Hours” tour from 2020 to 2021. The Rolling Stones postponed the North American leg of their “No Filter” tour. Elton John pushed the remaining dates on his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” from 2020 to 2021 and 2022. My Chemical Romance pushed their eagerly anticipated reunion tour from 2020 to 2021. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Other artists who postponed their tours this year? Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, Camila Cabello, Cher, Jason Aldean, Post Malone, Kiss, Tool and so many more.
The big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway smash “In the Heights” was supposed to open in theaters on June 26, 2020. Instead, the New York City-set musical will debut on the silver screen the same day it becomes available for streaming on HBO Max: June 18, 2021. (The incredibly controversial distribution deal is a major blow to the struggling theater industry, as well as to filmmakers and cast members with backend profit deals.) It wasn’t the only New York City-set movie musical that was pushed a full year… An adaptation of “West Side Story” starring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as Tony and Maria was scheduled to debut in December 2020 but will now open in theaters in December 2021. While we’re on the topic of Broadway shows…
When Broadway went dark in March, it meant we missed out on the opportunity to see a new production of “Plaza Suite” starring real-life couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, a 50th anniversary production of “Company” featuring a gender-swapped lead and Tony winner Patti LuPone as Joanne, the new jukebox musical “Girl From North Country” inspired by the works of Bob Dylan, a new production of “A Soldier’s Play” starring David Alan Grier, Blair Underwood and Jerry O’Connell, the new musical “Diana” based on the life of Princess Diana, the new musical “Mrs. Doubtfire” adapted from the Robin Williams family comedy of the same name, a new production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett, the Broadway debut of “How I Learned to Drive” starring Mary Louise Parker, a new production of “Take Me Out” starring Jesse Williams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and new productions of the musicals “West Side Story,” “Caroline, or Change” and “The Music Man” starring Tony winners Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. On top of all that, the 74th Annual Tony Awards, which were originally scheduled for June 7, were indefinitely postponed. Has there ever been a worse year for Broadway?
Royal weddings are kind of a big deal. When Prince William and Duchess Kate tied the knot, they generated millions of dollars in revenue for Britain. Likewise for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s 2018 nuptials! Even Princess Eugenie’s 2018 wedding was front-page news. So when Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi’s 2020 nuptials were downgraded from a ceremony at St. James’s Palace and a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to a small, private, socially distanced ceremony with only a few guests, we were rightfully disappointed. After all, there are only so many royals and only so many opportunities to see them exchange vows!
Fans of scary movies were heartbroken when “A Quiet Place Part II” — the sequel to 2018’s “A Quiet Place” — was bumped from March 2020 to September 2020 to April 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Insanely, the horror flick — which was written and directed by John Krasinski and stars his real-life wife, Emily Blunt — had already gotten an official red carpet premiere in New York City in early March when it was pushed more than a year. It wasn’t the only eagerly anticipated new installment in a horror franchise that got pushed this year… Jordan Peele’s “Candyman” — a sequel to the 1992 film of the same name — was postponed from June 2020 to September 2020 to October 2020 to August 2021. “Spiral” — the ninth installment in the “Saw” franchise — was pushed from October 2020 to May 2021. “Halloween Kills” — the 12th installment in the “Halloween” franchise — was pushed from October 2020 to October 2021. And “The Forever Purge” — the fifth and final installment in the “Purge” franchise — was moved from July 2020 to July 2021. Perhaps it’s all for the best considering how absolutely terrifying 2020 has been even without horror films!
The coronavirus pandemic completely derailed season 16 of “The Bachelorette.” When shooting was postponed from March to June — after ABC announced the men who were set to compete for Clare Crawley’s heart — it gave the blonde beauty months to intensely research them on social media. By the time she met her suitors in person, her mind was already made up: She knew Dale Moss was the one for her … which she made abundantly clear on the first four episodes of the reality show — to both the other men and to fans watching from home! On the fourth episode, after it became obvious Clare couldn’t continue with the process, Dale proposed. Tayshia Adams soon stepped in to replace her as the Bachelorette, which got the show slightly back on track. Due to safety concerns, however, the entire season has been relegated to just one location: a Southern California resort. As a result, instead of watching Tayshia fall in love while going on wild adventures in exotic locations, fans got a series of cringe-worthy dates like strip dodgeball and a game of “The Floor is Lava” in a hotel suite. Womp.
The 25th installment in the James Bond franchise, “No Time to Die,” was originally scheduled to open in theaters in April 2020. In March, the spy film was pushed to November 2020. Then in October, it was delayed even further to April 2021. (It’s really a shame considering we all could’ve used a martini — or five! — during this stressful year.) When “No Time to Die” does eventually open in theaters, it’ll be only the second time there have been more than four years between Bond movies since the first film in the franchise, “Dr. No,” debuted in 1962. There were six years between 1989’s “Licence to Kill” and 1995’s “GoldenEye” — when Timothy Dalton handed over the reins to Pierce Brosnan. The 24th film in the series, “Spectre,” debuted in 2015.
In April, organizers officially canceled the 2020 edition of the world’s most prestigious film festival, Cannes, after initially pushing it from May to June. Spike Lee was set to become the first Black president of the competition jury during the annual film fest, which would’ve featured premieres of Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” the Pixar animated film “Soul,” the Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan romantic period drama “Ammonite,” Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock” and “Mangrove” and many more. Cannes wasn’t the only film fest that was a casualty of 2020… The 2020 editions of SXSW, the Telluride Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival were all canceled, while AFI Fest, the New York Film Festival and the bulk of the Toronto International Film Festival went digital.
In September 2019, Netflix renewed “GLOW” for a fourth and final season, likely to debut in the summer of 2020. Fans were disappointed about saying goodbye to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling but pleased by the thought that the show’s writers would be able to successfully wrap up storylines knowing the upcoming season would be their last. In February, Alison Brie, who scored two Golden Globe nominations for her work on the sports dramedy, Betty Gilpin, who earned three Emmy nominations for her performance on the series, and their uber-talented co-stars started shooting season 4. They’d completed one episode and commenced production on a second when the coronavirus shutdown rocked Hollywood. In October, after several months on hiatus, “GLOW” was officially canceled by Netflix, robbing fans of the satisfying conclusion for which they were hoping. (Talk about a gut punch!) It wasn’t the only series that was canceled after receiving a renewal… Netflix changed course on second seasons of “I Am Not Okay With This” and “The Society,” while Showtime backtracked on a second season of “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” starring Kirsten Dunst, and ABC reconsidered a second season of “Stumptown” starring Cobie Smulders. And that’s just a small sampling!
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