This morning saw the drop of the new Black Widow trailer starring the Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran, Scarlett Johansson, who has been long overdue for her own solo outing. Seeing Natasha Romanov back on screen after biting the dust in last summer’s Avengers: Endgame may confuse some casual viewers of the MCU, but this movie has been reported to essentially be a flashback that fits squarely in between the timeline of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Widow’s last scene in Civil War features Tony Stark casting her out as a criminal after betraying the team. She walks out of that scene and into this movie, a fugitive on the run. We’ll track what exactly the former Russian spy got up to in between leaving Stark’s side and joining Captain America’s underground vigilante team. It’s not hard to imagine this movie ending with an appearance from Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers or Anthony Mackey’s Sam Wilson extending their hand to Widow, linking us directly to Infinity War. But many reports suggest an involvement for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, which makes sense given his oversight role at this point in the timeline with William Hurt’s Thunderbolt Ross (seen in the trailer).
Johansson first appeared as the character back in 2010’s Iron Man 2, and I must admit I was not fully convinced the character was a necessary part of the MCU at that point. She felt like a forced set up for The Avengers and didn’t bring much more to the table than a mysterious facade and a skilled fist to Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury. It wasn’t until 2012’s The Avengers that I was all in on the character. That movie introduces her on a mission that feels like a scene from her very own spy movie. Combine that with the interrogation scene between her and Loki where a complex backstory as a Russian assassin is revealed and you have enough potential material to last a trilogy. Ever since, Johansson brought a consistent quality to Black Widow’s subsequent appearances that always left me salivating for more.
It’s a shame it took this long for a Black Widow movie to get made, especially since its placement in the MCU continuity right after Civil War makes it feel as though it should have released after that movie. Yet on the brighter side, we can assume the knowledge of her eventual untimely death will add a certain weight that the filmmakers couldn’t utilize back then. After all, who says the MCU needs to maintain a linear continuity, with all the future upcoming movies and Disney + series, we’ll no doubt be doing some scene diving into untapped continuity territory, like the five year time jump that took place in Endgame for example.
On a more straight forward note, this trailer gives off a real Bourn Identity meets Marvel Studios vibe, and how does that not sound exciting? Florence Pugh, who really upped her notoriety with last summer’s emotionally intense Midsommer, plays supporting character Yelena Belova. Marvel Comics lore has Belova take up the mantle of Black Widow, so surly we’ll see much more of her in the future. Academy award winner, Rachel Weisz, makes her MCU debut as Melina Vostokoff, also known as the villainous Iron Maiden from the comics. Vostokoff’s role appears to be an ally in the trailer, so either this is a completely new interpretation or she’ll become an antagonist before the end. David Harbour makes his jump from Stranger Things to Marvel as the eccentric Red Guardian, the Soviet equivalent of Captain America. Harbour already looks like he’s having a blast with this role. And finally, the trailer gives a brief glimpse at the beloved comic book villain, Taskmaster, a deadly foe who has the ability to mimic the fighting style of anyone he studies. No actor has been officially announced as this adversary, so Marvel is surly keeping the details to this one close to their vest. One thing is for sure, we got a lot of theorizing to do in the long wait for Black Widow’s release date on May 1st, 2020.