Rachel Weisz has confirmed that she will be playing another Black Widow in the MCU. There's been demand for a Black Widow movie ever since Scarlett Johansson made her MCU debut in 2010's Iron Man 2, with fans eager to see the character's history. Marvel's actual approach, though, looks to be subtly different.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel confirmed that the film will be set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It's clearly going to see Natasha Romanoff go head-to-head with the Red Room program that trained her to be an assassin, and there's been a particular focus upon Florence Pugh, who's playing her successor as the Red Room's Black Widow, Yelena Belova. Weisz's role has been something of a mystery, although a popular theory is that Weisz is playing a gender-swapped Taskmaster.
IGN has released an interview with Rachel Weisz from SDCC, and in it she's confirmed that Yelena Belova won't be the only new Black Widow. "There are quite a number," she told IGN. "I’m a Black Widow and there’s Scarlett [Johansson] and Florence [Pugh]. There’s quite a lot of other characters you’ll also meet that are Black Widows."
It's an interesting comment, in that it suggests the MCU's version of the Red Room is subtly different to the comics. There, only the best operative goes by the codename "Black Widow." In the MCU, in contrast, it appears to be the name of the Russian assassin-training program. Thus every operative is technically a Black Widow. That subtly reframes the film's title; it means that Black Widow is about the entire spy/assassin program, rather than focused purely upon Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff and Pugh's Yelena Belova.
It's worth noting that this doesn't actually preclude the possibility that Weisz could be a gender-swapped Taskmaster, given the villain is confirmed to be in Black Widow. She could potentially be a high-ranking member of the Black Widow program, one who assigns tasks to other operatives - literally a "Master of Tasks." If so, it will be interesting to see whether or not the character retains Taskmaster's powers from the comics, an ability to perfectly mimic any action they see. That power effectively makes Taskmaster an almost unbeatable combatant, given the comic book version can duplicate the skills of the greatest martial artists, hand-to-hand fighters, and even marksmen. Combining that kind of powerset with the training of a Black Widow would turn Weisz's character into one of the most formidable warriors in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether or not Marvel retcon any other female super-spies from the comics into the Black Widow program as well.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021