It’s been two long years since the last MCU movie, Spider-man: Far From Home, was released. Now the wait for the next instalment in the mega-franchise is almost over, with Black Widow, starring Scarlet Johansson in the title role, due to be released in May. This will kick off the big screen portion of Marvel’s Phase 4. Black Widow, real name Natasha Romanoff, has been a core part of the Avengers for a long time. We’ll take a look at her character, her movie appearances in the MCU so far and what to expect in her solo movie.
This article contains SPOILERS for the Marvel Cinematic Universe
What Is Black Widow’s Background?
At a young age, Natasha was taken and trained in the Red Room in Russia as an undercover agent. She is trained in various fighting styles, comfortable with an array of weapons and has impressive levels of agility, strength and stamina. She’s also a bit of an IT geek, regularly demonstrating her skills as a hacker.
What MCU Movies Has Black Widow Been In?
Black Widow has been a consistent presence throughout the MCU, popping up all over the place. Here’s a quick summary of her roles across the various movies in which she has appeared.
Black Widow in Iron Man 2
Black Widow made her MCU debut all the way back in 2010s Iron Man 2. Working for Nick Fury and Shield, she goes undercover as Natalie Rushman to work as a personal assistant to Tony Stark. She quickly impresses Tony by taking down Happy Hogan in a sparring match. When Shield Director Nick Fury reveals her cover to Stark he sees how good she is in the role. She helps Tony to defeat villains Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko, by single-handedly taking down a whole load of goons. She shows off her talent for computers by returning control of James Rhodes’ suit to him after Vanko had remotely accessed it.
Black Widow in The Avengers
Next up for Black Widow was The Avengers. Whilst seemingly captured, her interrogators are interrupted by a phone call from Agent Coulson. He tells Nat that Barton has been compromised and she needs to come in. This is the first sign of the close friendship between Black Widow and Clint Barton (Hawkeye). She deals with her situation efficiently. Romanoff then travels to Asia to recruit Bruce Banner to the Avengers and is introduced to Captain America aboard the Avengers helicarrier.
When questioning an imprisoned Loki about Clint, Natasha tells him that she “owes him a debt”. Hawkeye had been sent to kill her before she joined Shield but made a different call. She soon finds herself having to fight Hulk and Hawkeye, and is able to bring the latter back to the good side. At the climax of the movie, she is a participant in the battle of New York, as the Avengers defeat Loki and his Chitauri army. Whilst fighting alongside Hawkeye they mention a mission in Budapest, which has been the subject of much speculation. Black Widow is actually the one to close the portal and prevent more Chitauri from coming to Earth.
Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha teams up with Steve Rogers to uncover a HYDRA conspiracy within SHIELD. The pair form a good team, with Natasha finding time between the action to tease Cap about his love life. Romanoff appears before a Senate Subcommittee, where she tells them that they won’t lock her or the other Avengers up because the world needs them.
Black Widow in Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Natasha has a bit of a time of it in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. She is responsible for powering down Hulk with a lullaby and the pair form a close bond, with more than a hint of romance. Her friendship with Clint is further established. When the Avengers visit his home, his daughter refers to her as ‘Aunty Nat’. After Wanda causes her to have flashbacks to her past in the Red Room, Nat tells Bruce that she was sterilised at the end of her training. She shows off her motorcycle skills but is kidnapped by Ultron. She is recused by Banner and takes her place in the battle to save Sokovia, where she briefly shows she can handle Cap’s shield! The movie ends with her and Cap planning to whip the new Avengers recruits into shape.
Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War
In Captain America: Civil War Natasha sided with Tony Stark, supporting the Sokovia Accords. She is on Team Iron Man during the airport battle, fighting against Ant-Man and Clint. Eventually, see that Cap will not be stopped, she holds off Black Panther to allow Cap and Bucky to escape. Tony tells her that her decision means ‘they are coming for you”, meaning the government, so she goes into exile.
Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War
In Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow teams with Cap and Falcon to rescue Wanda and Vision from the Black Order in Scotland. She and the Earth-based Avengers then head to Africa and try to stop Thanos and his legions as they attack Wakanda. She teams with Wanda and Okoye to take down Proxima Midnight. However, Thanos is too powerful and the Avengers are unable to prevent the snap, in which Thanos extinguishes half of all life, though Black Widow is not snapped herself.
Black Widow in Captain Marvel
Black Widow makes a brief cameo in the mid-credits sting of Captain Marvel. She and the team are trying to understand the meaning of Nick Fury’s pager, which was activated at the end of Infinity War.
Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame
In Avengers: Endgame Black Widow makes her first trip into space as part of the party that goes after Thanos. Five years pass, and Nat is acting as a sort of Avengers coordinator, staying in contact with the remaining team around the universe. When they come up with a plan to bring back their fallen comrades, Natasha and Clint are assigned to travel to 2014 and retrieve the Soul Stone from the planet Vormir. They are met by Red Skull, (who, incidentally, addresses her as Natasha son of Ivan) who tells them that in order to acquire it, a loved-one must be sacrificed. Both are willing and they tussle, leading to a cliffhanger moment, and then Natasha falls to her death.
When Will Be Black Widow set?
Given the fate of the character in Avengers Endgame, one of the biggest questions ahead of Black Widow is where it will fit into the MCU timeline. The answer is that Black Widow will be set after Captain America: Civil War, which puts it during the period when the Avengers have been scattered after the events of that movie.
Who Stars In Black Widow?
Alongside Scarlett Johansson, the movie will introduce many new characters and big-name stars to the MCU. Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz will play Yelena Belova and Melina Vostokoff respectively. David Harbour, O-T Fagbenie and Ray Winstone are also cast in supporting roles. William Hurt will once more appear as Thaddeus Ross.
What’s The Premise?
From the Marvel website: Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
When Will Black Widow Be Released?
Originally scheduled for May 2020, at the time of writing (March 2021), Black Widow has a release date of July 9 2021. That is the fourth official date for the movie, and likely the final one. Why? Because Marvel has also announced that the movie will be available on Disney Plus on the same day. It won’t be included in the regular subscription though, viewers will have to pay the Premier Access fee, as was the case with Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon. Or wait a few months until it becomes available to all subscribers.