Welcome to 2019, the last year before we can use normal names for our decades again!
(What do you call this decade? The teens? The 10s? The post-aughts? No.)
We’re going to get some answers to big questions this year.
Here are some that I’m most excited about:
1. What will be in the Mueller report?
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, CNN and MSNBC seem to have reported “bombshells” every night.According to on-air pundits, it’s always the worst week of his presidency and it’s always the beginning of the end.
And yet Trump remains nearly as popular as ever, despite the indictments of his campaign manager, his personal lawyer, and his first National Security Advisor.
Perhaps that’s because no one has yet officially accused Donald J. Trump of any crimes.
That all could change — or not — very soon. When? The moment special counsel Robert Mueller finally hands in his report. It could clear the President. It could contain accusations so damning Sean Hannity won’t defend them. This year, we’ll find out.
Mueller reportedly started drafting his final report in early November, but we still don’t know when (or if) it will be released publicly.
2. Who’s going to run for President?
It might be easier to ask who isn’t. Elizabeth Warren and Juan Castro are already in. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are next. We could have a field of twenty on the Democratic side. The real question is: Will a Republican challenge the President? Did Mitt Romney just test the waters?
3. Will the market rebound?
It didn’t really seem like it until it was all over, but 2018 was a horrible year for the stock market. The S&P 500 fell 6.2% in 2018. That made it the worst year since the financial crisis. There hasn’t been a worse December since the Great Depression.
4. Are we headed for (or already in) a recession?
More than half of the 134 business leaders who gathered at the Yale CEO Summit in December believe we are headed toward another recession. Also in December, the spread between US 2-year and 10-year bond yields shrank to an 11-year low. It’s recovered somewhat since. But watch out. Since 1955, every time the spread has shrunk to zero and then inverted, a recession has soon followed.
5. Will democracy continue to recede?
Following the Cold War, it seemed like free enterprise and democracy were on the ascent globally. Now, not so much. Forms of capitalism continues to proliferate: Profit-taking is happening all over, and standards of living continue to rise even inside autocratic countries. But freedom is in peril. Just ask Jamal Khashoggi’s widow, the enemies of Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, the Catalan political prisoners entering their second year in Spain’s jails without trial, or the Reuters journalists facing life in prison for reporting on Malaysian genocide.
6. What will Meghan Markle name her baby?
It was one of 2018’s greatest stories: the marriage of a biracial American actress to the Queen of England’s grandson, the charming Prince Harry. Here was unity amid division. Now they’re about to have their first kid, due in spring 201 9.
7. How will “Game of Thrones” end?
Spoiler alert. If it feels like you haven’t seen “Game of Thrones” in years, that’s because you haven’t. It’s been off the air since 2017! On the last episode aired, Jon Snow and the Mother of Dragons were getting intimate at the back of a ship, and Tyrion looked pretty upset about it. So were many fans. INSIDER senior reporter Kim Renfro says it’s because the romance is a cliché. It doesn’t help that the pair are actually aunt and nephew to each other. Follow-up question: Will we have to wait till 2029 for George R.R. Martin to publish the book concluded the series on which the TV show is based?
The show’s eighth and final season will premiere on HBO in April 2019.
8. Can Ant-Man save the Avengers and the world?
In 2009, Disney bought Marvel and its 5,000 characters for $4 billion. It’s made 19 movies since, grossing over $17 billion. All of those movies had intertwining storylines, culminating in last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War.”
The film ended with a half of our heroes disappearing in an instant. The bad guy, Thanos, thought it would be better if the galaxy had half as many people.
This spring, Disney will try to match last summer’s $2 billion haul, and the Avengers will try to save the world.
“The Avengers: End Game” arrives in April 2019, and the trailer indicates they’re going to get help from Marvel’s greatest hero, Ant-Man.
9. Will Star Wars: Episode IX be any good?
Disney’s 2018 Star Wars movie, “Solo,” grossed almost $400 million worldwide.
That might seem like a lot (and it was director Ron Howard’s personal best) but the sum was actually a huge disappointment. The three Star Wars movies prior each made more than a billion dollars.
“Solo” was fun enough, but it probably suffered from Star Wars fatigue. Also, the Star Wars right before it, “The Last Jedi,” wasn’t very good. It’s hard to fit so many characters into one story, and no one likes watching grumpy Luke Skywalker.
Can “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams save the trilogy? We’ll find out when Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019.
So! There’s a lot to look forward to in 2019.
…And also one more thing after that. The “twenties” have a nice ring to it, right?