(Pocket-lint) – Black Widow is almost here.
Marvel fans have been clamoring for a standalone Black Widow film ever since Scarlett Johansson brought the super-spy to the big screen in 2010 with Iron Man 2. Her first solo movie was initially set to bring the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a new era, by kicking off Phase 4.
While it will still be the first Phase 4 film to debut, three Disney+ series have premiered in 2021 – all before we finally see Black Widow. The film will arrive days ahead of the Loki finale. Disney has announced the movie will be available to stream from home on Disney+ and in theatres at the same time.
Read: What order should you watch every Marvel movie and TV shows
We have some pressing questions about this first Phase 4 film. Like, what’s next for Black Widow and her role in the MCU? Keep in mind her story arc seemingly ended with Avengers: Endgame. Also, why is Marvel choosing to start the next phase with a film set almost 10 years into the MCU’s past? To help give you a better idea of the new Black Widow film hitting cinemas soon, including how it might impact the future of the MCU, here’s everything we know about it.
NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS BELOW.
Black Widow: Rumours
For the uninitiated, Marvel plans movies in narratively connected phases.
Many titles in each phase are standalone films on certain characters, and they usually build up toward all the Avengers teaming up to deal with a threat in the final film of the phase. Phase 3 bucked that trend slightly, by adding on Spider-Man: Far From Home as something of an epilogue to the Infinity Stone-driven saga of the first three phases. This positions Black Widow in an interesting spot.
Black Widow is supposed to start an entirely new phase of Marvel films, Phase 4, although it’s set almost a decade before in the previous phase of the MCU. It’s also starring a character who died in Phase 3. So, it’s a very Phase 3-ish film, and yet it’s meant to be a Phase 4 movie.
The last time we saw Natasha Romanoff (aka the Black Widow), she was fighting her long-time friend, Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner), for who gets the right to throw themselves off a cliff. She won and died. Hence why the new Black Widow film is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War instead – when she is alive and moving on from having to choose between her closest friends, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.
MCU diehards will note that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Disney+ series is set in about 2024, thanks to the five-year time jump in Endgame, meaning Black Widow will be set eight years into the MCU timeline’s past.
New Black Widow
Scarlett Johannson is set to return as Natasha Romanoff. She’s investigating her own past, including how she was trained to become a Black Widow assassin through a Soviet training program known as the Red Room. Like one of our other favourite Marvel superheroes, Johannson is expected to pass the Black Widow baton to another assassin, Yelena Belova (played by Florence Pugh), who trained alongside Romanoff.
Trailers for the movie show Romanoff reuniting with some type of family unit she’s had in the past, including Pugh’s Yelena. We also see Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff and Stranger Things’ David Harbour. He plays the Soviet Union’s answer to Captain America, the Red Guardian.
Taskmaster, the villain?
Marvel seemed to be positioning Taskmaster from the comics as the villain in the new Black Widow movie. He’s capable of mimicking the fighting styles of anyone he observes in a fight, which is why trailers show him using claws similar to the Black Panther, a bow and arrow like Hawkeye, and a shield like Captain America. The character is masked and we know next to nothing about his motivations.
In true Marvel fashion, the latest trailer shows a man the captions identify as Dreykov (played by Ray Winstone) telling Taskmaster to “bring her home”.
What happened in Budapest?
In the first Avengers film from 2012, there’s a throwaway scene where Hawkeye and Black Widow compare Loki’s invasion of New York to another experience they had while fighting in Budapest. Marvel’s new film is set after that moment would’ve happened, but fans would love to know what actually happened in Budapest that was comparable to an alien army invading New York. Perhaps we will learn in Black Widow.
The return of Tony Stark
Early rumours suggested Robert Downey Jr would make an appearance as Iron Man. Given that Black Widow is set before the events of Endgame, and Tony Stark is still alive, it makes sense that he could have a part in the movie. Don’t get your hopes up for anything more than a cameo, though.
The same logic could be applied to other earth-based Avengers like Chris Evan’s Captain America or Anthony Mackie’s Falcon.
Black Widow: Cast and crew
Here is a selection of the main cast and crew, all of which have been confirmed by Marvel Studios:
- Scarlett Johansson – Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff
- Florence Pugh – Yelena Belova
- Rachel Weisz – Melina Vostokoff
- David Harbour – Alexei Shostakov aka The Red Guardian
- Ray Winstone – Dreykov
- Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark aka Iron Man (rumoured)
- William Hurt – Thaddeus Ross
- Cate Shortland – Director
- Kevin Feige – Producer
- Eric Pearson – Writer
Black Widow: Trailers
Here’s the latest trailer we’ve seen for Black Widow:
There are several other Black Widow trailers available on Marvel’s YouTube channel.
Black Widow: Release date
- 9 July 2021: On Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres
As if fans haven’t already waited long enough for Black Widow, Marvel Studios announced at the start of the pandemic that it pushed back the release of the film from 1 May 2020 to 6 November 2020. From there, it was pushed to 7 May 2021. Its latest release date is 9 July 2021.
The film will be available on Disney+ via the service’s Premier Access feature. For an additional fee ($30/£20), it’ll give you access to the film for it’s entire three-month stay on Disney+. You can learn more about how Disney+ Premier Access works in Pocket-lint’s guide here.
Want to know more?
Check out our guide on upcoming Marvel films, Marvel post-credit scenes, plus how to watch every Marvel movie in chronological order.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.