Nearly three months after the release of Avengers: Endgame, fans are still recovering from several characters' emotional goodbyes as the superhero franchise closed an action-packed chapter. Among those farewells was Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, who sacrificed herself for the sake of the remaining Avengers' quest to reverse the Infinity Stones' population wipeout. Now, with the announcement that the movie Black Widow will premiere in May 2020, Marvel fans are rejoicing over a new chance to see their favorite Russian spy in action.
The May 1 release date of the much-anticipated standalone film was announced at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, where Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed more Black Widow details. Along with Johansson, cast members Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, and O.T. Fagbenle also appeared during a panel presentation to discuss what fans can expect from the movie. Earlier that day, Comic-Con attendees also got a peek at the first footage of Black Widow.
One of many newly announced Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 projects, Black Widow was rumored to be a prequel to the Avengers era. Marvel then confirmed that the film will take place in Budapest following the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War. The cast's tidbits point toward Natasha briefly parting ways with the other Avengers. "Where we find Natasha in her life at this point is very specific,” Johansson told Entertainment Weekly. “She really is in a dark place where she’s got no one to call and nowhere to go. She’s really grappling with her own self."
The details of the new cast members joining Johansson in the film line up with the star's sentiments about Natasha's impending struggles. Pugh plays Yelena Belova, a "sister figure" to Natasha, and Fagbenle portrays Mason, a "fixer" figure from Natasha's past who may have a romantic history with her. Not unlike Natasha, Weisz's spy and assassin character Malena has apparently experienced the Black Widow Red Room program five times.
Natasha may not be in touch with Captain America during the new film, but the cast did tease a meeting between the main character and a similar man. Stranger Things' David Harbour will play a character named Alexei (too soon, Marvel, too soon), whose alter ego, the Red Guardian, is the Soviet equivalent of the super-soldier played by Chris Evans. "He has a lot of flaws, a lot of idiosyncrasies," Harbour told EW. "It’s a very rich character.”
Directed by Cate Shortland, the film will introduce a fan-favorite villain: Taskmaster, who has appeared in Marvel video games and animation, but not a live-action movie. Fans are excited to see Natasha battle it out with the bad guy.
For many, a standalone Black Widow movie feels long overdue, but Johansson believes that the timing works perfectly for herself. "I don’t think I could have played this iteration of Natasha 10 years ago,” she said at Comic-Con. “It would’ve been a very different film. I get to play Natasha as a fully realized woman and in all of her many facets. I’m excited for fans to see the flawed side of her, what she perceives to be the flawed side of her."
The Black Widow film is in theaters on Friday, May 1, 2020.