Marvel is notoriously tight-lipped about its ever-expanding cinematic universe. But at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, stars and studio execs offered up a few tantalising details about the Marvel’s upcoming projects — including a Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, the titular super-spy, and directed by Cate Shortland.
“I don’t think I could have played this iteration of Natasha 10 years ago.” Johansson said during Marvel’s Hall H Comic-Con panel. “It would have been a very different film. I get to play Natasha as a fully realised woman and all of her many facets.”
This is a well-overdue feature for Johansson’s Black Widow, one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s original Avengers. Natasha has appeared in seven MCU films since her introduction in Iron Man 2, and fans have argued it’s about time she’s gotten a turn in the spotlight.
But there is still plenty of mystery surrounding Black Widow (the movie), especially after — spoiler alert — Black Widow (the character) died in Avengers: Endgame. Unless Marvel plans to bring Natasha back to life using some kind of comic book logic (it happens!), then it appears Black Widow’s fate in Endgame is indeed endgame for the character.
It makes sense, though, and a period piece or origin story would help tie up some loose ends while introducing some important characters in Natasha’s life. How did Natasha become a deadly assassin — did Melina (Rachel Weisz) have anything to do with her training? What was Black Widow up to as a Russian spy — was she working closely with fellow spy Yelena (Florence Pugh, Midsommar) on the field? How did she end up working with Nick Fury — maybe The Red Guardian (David Harbour, Stranger Things), Russia’s version of Captain America, inspired Black Widow to join S.H.I.E.L.D.? Will we learn about Natasha’s family or her relationships outside of the Avengers — who is Mason (O.T. Fagbenle, The Handmaid’s Tale), the “fixer” who is romantically linked to Natasha?
Marvel is still keeping quiet on a lot of major plot details, but the studio did offer a quick peek at the film during the Comic-Con panel, releasing footage of Yelena and Natasha fighting each other in Budapest, Variety reports. The footage also revealed the movie’s big bad: Taskmaster, a masked villain capable of imitating his opponents’ moves mid-battle. The scene wraps with Yelena pouring two shots of vodka, presumably to share.
“Marvel’s really focused on having very strong female characters at the forefront of their stories, and I think that’s great,” Weisz told the Associated Press at Comic-Con. “They’re doing wonderful work to represent women, people of colour, and tell different kinds of stories.”
Black Widow is scheduled for release in May 2020.