Black Widow is one of a handful of projects that we know is coming in the next era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film has been shooting for over a month overseas with director Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome, Lore) at the helm and Scarlett Johansson back in the lead role as the SHIELD agent turned Avenger. But even though the movie is currently in production, details have been kept under tight wraps. Thankfully, Marvel Studios finally pulled back the curtain a bit at San Diego Comic-Con.
Find out what we learned from the Black Widow Comic-Con panel below.
Black Widow Footage
Director Cate Shortland, and cast members Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O.T. Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz appeared onstage to speak about Black Widow, which is still in production in London. But the upcoming solo film of everyone’s favorite assassin has enough footage to show a teaser that was soon screened for an electrified audience. Here’s what we saw of the footage below.
Glimpses of Natasha’s past come flooding in the teaser, flashing through the her assassin academy memories from Avengers: Age of Ultron. “I made a family,” Natasha opines, as the footage leads into her turn in Captain America: Civil War, when she made a decision to let Captain America escape instead of capturing him. “They’re coming for you,” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) warns, as she flees…setting the stage for Black Widow, which seemingly takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War.
In Budapest, Natasha cautiously makes her way up an old, turn-of-the-century apartment building with a lavish staircase but weathered walls. Entering an apartment she points her gun and calls for Yelena, saying, “We’re grown-ups here.” Florence Pugh’s Yelena appears from around the corner, pointing her gun. They stand mere inches apart, guns in each other’s faces for several seconds before they both disarm each other, the camera showing their graceful parallel movements — obviously students of the same school. The grimy, tactile fight is reminiscent of the Bourne films, especially in its low light and intense close-ups. Finding their usual tactics too well-matched, their fight gets nasty and brutal, with Natasha pushing Yelena’s head down a sink and Yelena breaking a plate over Natasha’s head, and eventually resorting to knives. They find themselves at several impasses, until both of them have placed each other in chokeholds with the apartment’s curtains. After a cut to black, they’re shown having drinks.
“It’s good to see you too,” Natasha says, handing Yelena a shot glass.
The teaser leads into several car chases, with Natasha weaving in and out of Eastern European streets. We get quick shots of solemn, Brutalist imagery and foreboding silhouettes.”I got rid of my ledger,” Natasha declares, though it seems like she hasn’t completely been rid of her past. The teaser closes out with Natasha getting pinned behind a flaming car on a bridge, with hooded man attacking her in the middle of the street. The hooded uniform and its sleek design with red lining resembles that of Taskmaster, a Marvel villain that has recently been rumored to appear in Black Widow.
Black Widow Takes Place As She’s a “Fully Realized Woman”
The cast and crew flew in from London this morning to talk about the film.
“I think that’s what drew me to the story is she has so many secrets and she’s got so much vulnerability and that’s what makes her such a great heroine,” Shortland said. “In this film we get to understand her past and she gets to put all the pieces of herself together and come out a whole person.”
But it’s important to know that this isn’t a prequel, but a film that takes place after Natasha is a “fully realized woman” after the events of Captain America: Civil War.
“I don’t think I could have played this iteration of Natasha 10 years ago, it would have been a very different film,” Johansson said. “I get to play Natasha as a fully realized woman in all her many facets, and I’m excited to see fans to see what she perceives to be that flawed side of her. And I’m looking to wipe out that red in my ledger.”
Harbour gave a hint that his character has “complicated feelings about [Captain America] which we’ll come to understand that later.” Meanwhile Yelena is a “sister figure to Natasha,” Pugh said, while Fagbenle is an old contact of Natasha’s before she worked with SHIELD, and a potential love interest. Sorry Hulk. “There’s a fascinating relationship, but there’s a romantic undercurrent,” Fagbenle said. “Well more on my side, but it’s hard to have a relationship when you have a crush on an international killer.”
Meanwhile Weisz’s mysterious Malena is a “pretty tough chick” but the actress was tight-lipped on who she was, exactly. But perhaps a hint is that the hooded figure we saw in that footage was pretty slim.
Following Captain Marvel, this is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to give a female character her own solo feature film. Fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow movie ever since the character was introduced in Iron Man 2, and now they’re finally getting what they want. But will this story be satisfying enough to satisfy fans who weren’t happy with the character’s fate in Avengers: Endgame? Will this movie give us something that enhances her character and sets the stage for what’s coming in this next phase of the MCU? We’ll find out soon enough.
Black Widow is scheduled to hit theaters on May 1, 2020.
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