Scarlett Johansson has played Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow since 2010 when he made her first appearance in IRON MAN 2, the third film in the newly born Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout her subsequent appearances in THE AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, and AVENGERS: ENDGAME, there were frequent questions regarding when Black Widow would get her own standalone film. After so long with no answers, many had began to suspect that the time for a standalone film had passed, but Johansson will be taking center stage in the upcoming BLACK WIDOW, which will be the first film in Phase 4 of the MCU.
When it first became apparent that BLACK WIDOW was actually going to happen, it was assumed that the film would be a prequel exploring Natasha Romanoff’s origin story, an assumption that was driven home given her fate in AVENGERS: ENDGAME; However, the film is said to be taking place following the events of CIVIL WAR as it finds Natasha being forced to confront her past. While speaking with Vanity Fair, Johansson revealed that she never had any interest in BLACK WIDOW being an origin story, or an espionage story for that matter.
I did not want it to be an origin story. I did not want it to be an espionage story. I didn’t want it to feel superficial at all. I only wanted to do it if it actually fit where I was with that character. I had spent such a long time peeling those layers away—I felt that unless we got to something deep, then there was no reason to make it. Because I did my job in Endgame, and actually felt satisfied with that. I would have been happy to let that be it. So there had to be a reason to do it other than just to milk something.
Scarlett Johansson has also expressed her hope that BLACK WIDOW might “elevate the genre” of comic-book movies. “That’s my goal,” Johansson explained. “The film talks about a lot of tough stuff. It deals with a lot of trauma and pain. And I hope this film is empowering for people because I think Natasha is a very empowering person, and an inspiring person in a lot of ways. She has overcome so much, and she’s brave. And so by elevating the genre I mean I hope that it can be both explosive and dynamic and have all that great fun stuff that goes with the genre, but I hope that we can also talk about, you know, self-doubt and insecurity and shame and disappointment and regret and all that stuff too. It has many different things, it’s not just that. But there’s a lot of deep stuff, I think, that drives it.“
In addition to Scarlett Johansson, BLACK WIDOW also stars star David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Mason, an ally from Romanoff’s past, Florence Pugh (MIDSOMMAR) as Yelena Belova, a sister-figure to Romanoff, and Rachel Weisz (THE FAVOURITE) as Melina, a seasoned spy. Cate Shortland (LORE) is directing BLACK WIDOW from a script by Jac Schaeffer (CAPTAIN MARVEL) and the film is slated for a May 1, 2020 release.