Joss Whedon got a whole lot right with his The Avengers screenplay, not least of which was to provide moviegoers with much richer portrayals of two previously-established Marvel Cinematic Universe players: Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). That Joss would manage to do justice by the latter came as little surprise, given that he has a history of crafting well-rounded (read: strong) female characters - and has publicly committed to continuing that practice in the future.
Case in point: the Marvel sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, will introduce Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch into the mix, and Whedon has indicated that we can expect her to be another interesting and well-crafted addition to the cast (with a proper and believable costume to reflect that). Black Widows fans do not need to worry about the character being sidelined, though, as Joss has gone on record to say that she's an important player in the next mission for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Here is what Whedon offered to the crowd at Nerd HQ during the 2013 Comic-Con last weekend (via MTV), with respect to Natasha's relevance to the storyline for Age of Ultron - and why he enjoys writing the dangerous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent as much as he does:
"Natasha is a huge part of the sequel because you do want to concentrate on the people who don't have their own franchises. Although [she's] in 'Cap 2,' [and] she's great. She was the most fun for me because she's not a hero, you know, and it's something that I read—and I feel bad that I can't remember who wrote the book—but it's in one of the books explaining, 'These guys are heroes, you are a spy. It's a different thing—it's a different skill set—and you don't have their moral high ground or any of that good stuff.' And that just makes her so interesting to me. So yeah, the stuff I've got going on with her in the second one is killer."
Marvel won't be making a Black Widow standalone film anytime soon (sorry to say). However, audiences will get to learn more about her complicated history and ambiguous moral code - as Whedon referenced in the quote above - in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is where Natasha teams with Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) on a variety of world-saving missions. There's a good chance that her storyline in that film will tie-in closely to Natasha's arc in Age of Ultron, based on the past reports about how the Captain America sequel has an important Phase 2 role (i.e. directly sets up events in Age of Ultron, like the first Captain America movie did for the original Avengers installment).
Similarly, Whedon has promised that Natasha's S.H.I.E.LD. comrade-in-arms - her "bro-friend" if you like - Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) will get to have more time to interact with his fellow Avengers in Age of Ultron (since he won't have to spend part of the film under Loki's control, like what happened in the first installment). There's a decent chance that Black Widow and Hawkeye may even have their own subplot in the Avengers sequel, given their long-established connection.
Not to mention, that duo will be among the few important human players - who are not assisted by a mechanical super-suit (a la Iron Man) - in a world where there are more and more dysfunctional super-powered individuals showing up by the day - meaning, there are certain tasks that only the aforementioned deadly, but professional-minded, assassins should be trusted to carry out.
Are you excited to hear that Black Widow will play an important role in Avengers: Age of Ultron? Let us know in the comments section!
Thor: The Dark World opens in U.S. theaters on November 8th, 2013, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016 and May 5th, 2017.