- Real World: February 1. The space shuttle Columbia disintegrates on re-entry over Texas, killing all aboard.
- Real World: March 13. Nature reports that 350,000-year-old footprints of a upright-walking hominid have been found in Italy.
- Real World: March 17. After years of Saddam Hussein's violation of U.N. resolutions and alleged connections to international terrorism, U.S. President George W. Bush issues an ultimatum giving Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or be removed by force.
- Real World: March 20. Troops from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invade Iraq; the 2003 Invasion of Iraq has begun.
- Real World: April 9. Coalition forces take Baghdad, having driven Saddam Hussein from power; the coalition takes nominal and temporary control of Iraq.
- Space Odyssey: April 13. David Bowman discovers TMA-2 near Jupiter. After Bowman aboards a space pod to observe the Monolith, he is transported through the Star Gate on the Monolith to another solar system. The Discovery I is left in orbit around Jupiter. (2001: A Space Odyssey book and film)
- Space Odyssey: April 14. 20,000 light-years, and a day, later, David Bowman arrives at the Firstborn's star system and finds himself in a "hotel" room that was prepared for him. (2001: A Space Odyssey book and film)
- Space Odyssey: April 15. The Star Child that was once David Bowman returns to Earth. (2001: A Space Odyssey book and film)
- Real World: May 12. A truck bomb kills 60 at a government compound in northern Chechnya. Further bombings follow in Chechyna over the course of the year.
- Real World: June 23. In the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Grutter v. Bollinger, they uphold affirmative action in university admissions.
- Real World: June 26. In the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Lawrence v. Texas, they rule sodomy laws unconstitutional.
- Real World: July 22. Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay are found by U.S. forces and die after three hours of battle.
- Real World: October 7. Californians recall Governor Gray Davis and replace him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Real World: December 24. An outbreak of mad cow disease occurs in Washington state. Several Air France flights are cancelled on the request (following terrorist worries) of the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Spanish authorities thwart an attempted bombing by the ETA.
- Futurama: Lucy Liu is People magazine's "Sexiest Woman of the Year". (Source unknown)
- Kill Bill: The Bride awakens from her coma; the events of Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 follow.
- Mad Max: Events of The Road Warrior. (Conjecture from Mad Max Chronology; three years after the events of Mad Max.)
New Fictional Works
Darwin's Children by Greg Bear, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Loamhedge by Brian Jacques, Dark Tower 5: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King, Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
- 28 Days Later, Agent Cody Banks, Another Heaven, Arachnia, Beyond Re-Animator, Bloodthirst: Legend of the Chupacabras, The Bone Snatcher, Brother Bear, Bubba Ho-Tep
- Bulletproof Monk, The Core, Cybermutt, Daredevil, Dark Walker, Darkness Falls, Darkwolf, Deadly Stingers, Dog Gone (TV movie), Dracula II: Ascension
- Dracula III: Legacy, Dragon Fighter, Dreamcatcher, Evil Never Dies, Final Destination 2, Flesh for the Beast, Freaky Friday, Freddy vs. Jason, Groom Lake
- The Haunted Mansion, House of 1000 Corpses, The House of the Dead, Hulk, Jeepers Creepers 2, The Jungle Book 2, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Leeches!, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Matrix Reloaded
- The Matrix Revolutions, The Medallion, Midnight Mass, Mimic: Sentinel, The Missing, Nikos the Impaler, The Order, Parasite, Paycheck, Peter Pan
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Secondhand Lions, Shanghai Knights, The Shunned House, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Speed Demon
- Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Timeline, Underworld, Willard, Vampire Resurrection, X-Men 2
Notable Comic Books
Astro City: Local Heroes #1, Batman/Aliens II, Batman/Planetary: Night on Earth, JLA/Avengers, JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice, Robotech #1 (Wildstorm), The Sandman: Endless Nights, Superman: Birthright, Superman/Batman #1, Superman/Batman: Generations III begins, Thundercats: The Return, Thundercats/Battle of the Planets.
Notable Television Series
- Beginning: Battlestar Galactica (miniseries), The Big O II, Helen of Troy (miniseries), Sailor Moon (live-action), Sonic X,
- Continuing: Angel (Season 5),
- Ending: Andromeda (ending in syndication), Birds of Prey, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Farscape, Touched by an Angel, Transformers Armada.
Notable Role-Playing Games
Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition, Ghostwalk, Urban Arcana.
Notable Electronic Games
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (Gameboy Advance), The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Gamecube).
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