Marvel have certainly taken their time with this one… Despite the character having made her screen debut in Iron Man 2 back in 2010 – and been a founding member of world-saving team in The Avengers – we’re still waiting for a solo Black Widow movie. That’s all about to change, however, as Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff is set to headline her own MCU outing – and we’ll probably see it as soon as April/May 2020.
If you’re one of the 17 people on the planet yet to see Avengers: Endgame you may want to look away now because there are BIG SPOILERS AHEAD.
You have to admit there’s something kind of strange about the fact we had to wait for Ms Romanoff to die – sacrificing her life to obtain the Soul Stone – for a Black Widow movie to see the light of the day. But after Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel showed that there’s a massive market for female-fronted superhero movies, it’s only right that one of the MCU’s MVPs should belatedly get the chance to headline her own film.
We don’t know much about the plot yet – we’re expecting to find out more at the Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 on Saturday September 20, when the slate of new Marvel movies is revealed – but seeing as the hero is very dead in the main MCU continuity, we’re almost certain the Black Widow movie will be a prequel.
So read on to find out everything we know so far about the Black Widow movie cast, the release date and a likely ETA for the first trailer. In other words, get ready for Marvel’s hotly anticipated Phase 4!
- Black Widow movie release date: TBC 2020
- Black Widow movie director: Cate Shortland
- Black Widow movie cast: Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz, O.T. Fagbenle
- Black Widow movie writer: Ned Benson
Black Widow movie release date
The Black Widow movie release date isn’t carved in granite just yet – expect confirmation at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday July 20 – but the smart money would be on a May 1, 2020 slot in the US (with the UK getting it a week earlier on April 24).
Why? While Marvel Studios are yet to announce what's coming when Phase 4 gets underway next year, Disney has confirmed two release slots for untitled Marvel movies in 2020 – one on May 1, 2020 (US), the second on November 6, 2020. Seeing as we know Natasha Romanoff's solo movie is already well into production, it seems a safe bet that an early Black Widow movie release date will be one of the studio’s priorities. As an original member of the Avengers, she's a suitably high-profile character to kick off Phase 4 – more so than the rumoured The Eternals – and, given what happened to Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel probably don't want to leave it too long before bringing the character back.
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Black Widow movie trailer
Given the abundance of footage available portraying Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow from past movies there are numerous teaser Black Widow movie trailers out in the wild – one ‘fan edit’ has an astonishing 5.6 million YouTube views. Sadly, like the rest, it’s fake.
But now that Spider-Man: Far From Home is out of the way, Natasha Romanoff is looking like the likeliest candidate to lead off Phase 4. With San Diego Comic-Con just around the corner, don't be surprised if a Black Widow movie trailer is one of the main attractions at Marvel’s Hall H panel this year.
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Black Widow movie cast
Inevitably Scarlett Johansson is down for the lead role in the Black Widow movie. This will be her eighth film appearance as the character, and The Hollywood Reporter says she’ll bag a monster $15 million payday for this headlining entry in the black suit. It's also safe to assume Ms Romanoff will have a new haircut – after all, she's had a different look in every one of her MCU outings so far.
To recap, we’ve previously seen Black Widow in:
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- Iron Man 2
- The Avengers
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Avengers: Endgame
Johansson will also be sharing the screen with an impressive bunch of co-stars including David Harbour (Stranger Things season 3, Hellboy) and Florence Pugh (Fighting with my Family) – reported by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, respectively. Variety also reports that there's a role for Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), while The Hollywood Reporter says that O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) has joined the Black Widow movie cast. Finally, a more recent report in Variety says that Ray Winstone (Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, The Departed) signed up for the film in June.
Marvel is yet to confirm which roles any of the supporting Black Widow movie cast are playing, though Harbour has debunked a rumour that he's playing Fantastic Four mainstay The Thing – which could have technically been possible now that Disney has bought 20th Century Fox, bringing the FF and the X-Men back under the Marvel movie umbrella.
“There was all these speculations that that's what I was playing,” Harbour told Cinemablend. “I'm not allowed to say anything about this particular film I'm doing, but... I play lots of things, and I just use the word ‘thing’ in my vocabulary a lot.”
We think it's most likely, though, that Harbour is playing the Black Widow movie's main villain – That Hashtag Show has a list of character breakdowns for the movie that describes the antagonist as “exciting” and that the studio was looking for a male in their 40s. Of all the Black Widow cast announced so far, Harbour is certainly the closest match. The internet rumour mill seems to think that said villain will be long-standing Marvel Comics baddie the Red Guardian, a KGB agent who (in one of his guises) was actually married to Black Widow. Of course, Harbour may be playing someone else entirely – Marvel have a long-standing track record of wrongfooting fans – but hopefully we'll find out his character's identity in San Diego.
The same That Hashtag Show story also says the Black Widow movie cast will feature “a kick ass” female character who's like a “female Bond” – we're guessing that's Pugh’s role. Some (unconfirmed) reports suggest she's playing Yelena Belova, a Marvel Comics character who became the second Russian agent to carry the Black Widow alias.
The site's breakdowns also suggest that Marvel was looking for an actress in her 50s to play the secondary villain – Weisz isn't quite 50, but we're guessing that's her.
Also, don't be surprised if Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes crops up somewhere, given his connections with Black Widow's Soviet/Russian spymasters – and the fact he can fit in pretty much anywhere in the MCU timeline.
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Black Widow movie rating
One of the most controversial – and, to some, exciting – rumours surrounding Romanoff’s return concerns the Black Widow movie rating, with nameless ‘insiders’ proclaiming that it would be a more mature outing for Johansson. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirms that is most definitely not the case, and this will be another superhero movie for all the family – albeit under parental supervision. "It never was going to be [R-rated]" Feige told Collider. "Somebody writes, 'I hear it's R-rated!' And then everybody writes it up." Expect PG-13 all the way again, then.
Black Widow movie director
For now most of the details surrounding Johansson’s solo Avengers project are being kept top secret, but the Black Widow movie director has been known for a while. According to The Hollywood Reporter studio execs met with more than 70 potential directors for the flick, with Cate Shortland ultimately getting the big gig – the first woman to helm a Marvel movie solo, after Anna Boden directed Captain Marvel with Ryan Fleck.
Shortland made her name with a succession of short films in her homeland of Australia before the 2004 release of Somersault, her first feature . She’s best known for Lore, a 2012 historical drama where a Nazi family seek to evade Allied forces at the end of World War 2.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, potential directors who lost out to Shortland include Amma Asante (Belle, A United Kingdom), Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry, Carrie) and Maggie Betts (Novitiate).
Collider report that the Black Widow movie writer is Ned Benson, most famous for his work on The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. The role originally went to Jac Schaeffer (The Hustle), but apparently Benson has been commissioned for a significant rewrite of Schaeffer’s script.
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Black Widow movie set photos
According to Deseret News, shooting on the movie got underway in March 2019, with locations including Norway, Hungary and the UK.
There are several Black Widow movie set photos floating around, but not much that gives away anything concrete – aside from tweets revealing that Scarlett Johansson will be sporting very red hair this time out. That said, some leaked photos (below) have led to speculation about when the movie might be set, the argument being that the model of BMW in the picture places the movie’s setting between 2016 and 2018, because MCU heroes tend to drive brand new vehicles. It's an interesting idea, but we'd file this one under “pinch of salt” for now...
MCU📽️ • Ao que parece #BlackWidow deve se passar durante/após 2017, talvez entre CW e IW. O carro nas imagens é um BMW Series 5 Touring Wagon lançado em 2017. https://t.co/Ae62Ntz5CVJune 27, 2019
Black Widow movie plot
According to IMDb, the Black Widow movie plot gets underway with Romanoff living in the USA, 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. If true, that would set it in 2006, two years before the events of Iron Man, and six years before Black Widow joins the Avengers.
That same synopsis, originally uncovered by Production Weekly (via Comicbook), places Romanoff in New York at the movie’s outset, although the action will surely extend far beyond the Big Apple. As discussed earlier the UK, Croatia and/or Russia are all on the potential locations list.
As part of the movie we should see more of Romanoff’s backstory, as an agent groomed by the KGB to become its ultimate operative, only to be named an enemy of the state after its dramatic break-up.
Whenever the Black Widow movie plot kicks off, however, it's highly unlikely to be after the events of Avengers: Endgame – bringing her back to life would massively devalue her act of sacrifice to obtain the Soul Stone.
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