Marvel has finally released a first trailer for Black Widow - and here's our breakdown! The Infinity Saga is over, and Marvel is preparing to launch Phase 4 of the MCU. First, they're going back in order to go forward, releasing a Black Widow movie that's set in between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Fans have been clamoring for a dedicated Black Widow movie ever since Scarlett Johansson made her MCU debut as Natasha Romanoff in 2010's Iron Man 2. But the timing of this film seems more than a little strange, given Black Widow was one of the Avengers who died in Avengers: Endgame, sacrificing herself in order to get the Soul Stone to the Avengers. Marvel has teased that Black Widow will explain just why Natasha had to die.
At last, Marvel has released the first Black Widow trailer. A lot of the shots were shown to audiences at San Diego Comic-Con, meaning the content is familiar and Marvel is simply firming up the discussion points. But there are still quite a few major takeaways. Here's our guide to the Black Widow trailer.
23. Welcome To Budapest
Budapest is generally seen as one of the most important locations in Black Widow's MCU lore. In The Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye shared some banter about how fighting the Chitauri reminded them of Budapest. In Avengers: Endgame, the two shared a mission to the planet Vormir, and Hawkeye quipped about how they were "a long way from Budapest." That comment seems to imply Budapest was perhaps the place where the two first crossed paths, or else where they worked together for the first time. It's possible there'll be flashbacks that explain the Budapest references. Meanwhile, Black Widow will also introduce Florence Pugh as another Black Widow, and Marvel could easily be attempting to establish her as a mirror-image of Natasha Romanoff, another Black Widow who can be redeemed at Budapest - and who can give Natasha a legacy.
22. This Could Be The Culmination Of Black Widow's Journey
This is followed by a succession of shots from previous Marvel movies, presenting key moments in Black Widow's MCU history. It's all accompanied by haunting dialogue lifted straight from Avengers: Endgame, which carefully positions this as the culmination of Natasha Romanoff's journey. Marvel want viewers to interpret this as the final adventure of the Black Widow, the narrative key to understanding her choices in Avengers: Endgame.
It further serves as a reminder that there's a sense in which Black Widow was the most emotionally committed member of the Avengers. The rest of the Avengers saw saving the world as a job that needed doing, but Natasha saw it as an opportunity to clear up the red in her ledger, and she came to understand the Avengers as a new family. Only one key Avengers relationship is missing; the ill-appreciated and awkward romance with Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Presumably Marvel don't want to remind viewers of that.
21. Black Widow's Own Marvel Studios Logo
The last couple of years have seen Marvel Studios become increasingly creative in their rendering of the company logo. It all began with a 10-year anniversary logo that celebrated the success of the MCU, and continued with a dust effect in Avengers: Endgame to represent the aftermath of the snap. This time round, the Black Widow trailer shows an interesting dark-red logo that's placed inside a Black Widow hourglass shape. It's quite effective, and matches with the color scheme at the end of the trailer as well.
20. Black Widow on the Run
Black Widow is on the run from the authorities in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, which saw Natasha Romanoff branded a fugitive after she disobeyed orders and allowed Captain America and the Winter Soldier to escape. Marvel filmed these shots at Macon's Terminal Station, but it's designed to look like Albany in New York. The Black Widow trailer implies that this is the beginning of Black Widow's journey, but of course Marvel Studios is famous for misdirects.
19. William Hurt's Thunderbolt Ross Is Back
The Black Widow trailer confirms that William Hurt is back as General Thunderbolt Ross, but in a surprising role; he's clearly de-aged in this shot, which means he may have figured earlier in Black Widow's life and crops up in a flashback. Ironically, Ross will probably be leading the hunt for Natasha Romanoff in the present day, as he's the one in charge of enforcing the Sokovia Accords.
18. Introducing Yelena Belova
The Black Widow trailer introduces Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova. Yelena was created by Devin Greyson and J.G. Jones back in 1999, and actually made her debut in an Inhumans comic, where she was a mysterious figure orchestrating an attack upon the Inhuman city of Attilan. It didn't take long for Marvel to confirm that Yelena was Natasha's successor in the Red Room program, and the two have clashed many times, with Natasha attempting to redeem the new Black Widow. It's never been clear which of the two women is the better agent; apparently Yelena's Red Room test scores were even higher than Natasha's, but Natasha has a lot more experience to draw upon.
17. Battle of the Black Widows
Black Widow's introduction of Yelena Belova feels stylistically similar to the popular and critically acclaimed spy drama Killing Eve, in which Jodie Comer plays the ruthless assassin Villanelle. Natasha and Yelena soon engage in a brief fight, a perfect way of demonstrating that they're perfectly matched. Their fighting styles are mirror-images of one another, confirming that they trained under the same masters and learned the same techniques.
16. Black Widow's New Costume
Black Widow sees Natasha don a new costume, previously seen in concept art distributed at D23. It's bulkier than Natasha Romanoff's traditional look, and feels more like combat armor of some kind. The straps could have been attached to some kind of parachute, given there appears to be a plane crash of some kind in the background. Aspects of the Black Widow movie appear to be lifted from Paul Cornell's Black Widow: Deadly Origin miniseries, which has traditionally served as the inspiration for Black Widow's MCU backstory. If that's the case, this may not be an ordinary plane crash; the miniseries opened with Natasha successfully capturing a stolen experimental aircraft.
15. The Black Widows Consider One Another A Family
The brief scrap comes to an end, and Natasha walks away with a sarcastic comment; "It's good to see you, too, sis." It's the first indication in this trailer that all the women trained by the Red Room consider one another as part of a family, looking out for one another, and that subtly recasts Natasha's defection to SHIELD years ago. No doubt she gave SHIELD a lot of valuable intel on the Red Room, meaning their bases, contacts, safe-houses, and standard operating procedures were all compromised. But the familial bond suggests the Black Widows would have also viewed this as a very personal betrayal - and Natasha may well have made a lot of enemies inside the program.
14. A Motorcycle Fight
The two Black Widows evidently agree to put their past behind them, and drive away on a motorcycle together. Black Widow has always been associated with motorcycles, both on the big screen and in the comics; she prefers them because they give her a degree of nimbleness and maneuverability that she uses to maximum effect. They also make for some pretty impressive stunts. This shot may lead into a major action sequence in which the Black Widows are pursued by Taskmaster in a tank.
13. A Rooftop Action Sequence
The action moves to a major rooftop sequence, featuring not two but three Black Widows - the third is hard to see, but appears to be Rachel Weisz's Melina. The women race across the rooftops and use a smokestack to get down to ground level. Note that Yelena Belova and Natasha Romanoff are both wearing the exact same clothing seen in the previous shots, suggesting this is shortly after. Yelena seems quite committed to keeping the contents of her rucksack with her, even though it would surely throw her off-balance as she clambers down the smokestack.
12. A Possible Glimpse of the Red Room's Operations Center
One of the most intriguing shots in the entire Black Widow trailer shows what appears to be an operations room running clandestine activity across the globe. This is presumably the Red Room itself, and if so then the monitors indicate just how many Black Widows there are; sixteen screens are active, potentially indicating up to sixteen different missions are in progress at any one time. It's worth noting that this could potentially be a flashback scene, given Natasha Romanoff's defection to SHIELD would no doubt force the Red Room to scale down its activities.
11. "We Have To Go Back To Where It All Started"
The Black Widow trailer now moves to what appears to be some sort of military camp in a mountainous, remote environment. The voice-over - "we have to go back to where it all started" - strongly implies that this is the Red Room, the training facility where girls are transformed into Black Widow operatives. It's easy to miss at this stage, but in the background there's an avalanche sweeping down a mountain's slope. It's difficult to say whether this was caused by accident, or instead is a pretty dramatic distraction to cover Natasha Romanoff's infiltration of the Red Room.
10. Black Widow's White Costume
The trailer also shows Black Widow wearing a white costume, again lifted from the Black Widow: Deadly Origin miniseries. There, it was designed by the Red Room program itself in order to help their operatives fight in a snowy environment, and it was perfect for blending in. The suit was important to Deadly Origin, but hasn't received much exposure in the comics since, considering that Black Widow's adventures in the snow are few and far between. Dialogue implies that Natasha is wearing it in order to infiltrate the Red Room training facility.
9. Black Widows Training
Another flashback shot shows the Black Widows training together, all being drilled in the same combat techniques. The Black Widow trailer again illustrates the sheer scale of the Black Widow operation, with up to 20 women training at the same time. Note the impressive degree of symmetry, which suggests just how effective the Red Room is at schooling its subjects. This is presumably only one class, too, meaning there could potentially be hundreds of Black Widows working in the shadows of the MCU.
The Black Widow trailer gives viewers their first glimpse of Taskmaster. In the comics, Taskmaster is an assassin-for-hire who possesses the ability to mimic anything he sees. As a result, he's absorbed the fighting styles of countless key Marvel heroes, ranging from Hawkeye to Shang-Chi, from Captain America to Daredevil. The MCU's Taskmaster is a mystery right now, and people who are familiar with the comics will be more than a little bemused by the mask worn in Black Widow, which is very different to the comic book version. If Taskmaster possesses the same power of mimicry, then the fact he(?)'s using a bow and arrow may indicate he's encountered Hawkeye in the past.
7. Red Guardian
Viewers are finally given their first glimpse of the Red Guardian, who's essentially the Russian Captain America. In the comics, Alexei Shostakov was a Russian astronaut and hero who agreed to become Russia's answer to the Avengers. The MCU's Red Guardian is played by David Harbour, and the Black Widow trailer teases that he was imprisoned for an unknown reason, and has been out of action for quite some time. It's interesting to speculate whether or not this Red Guardian could be a super-soldier; while the Americans had no success recreating Abraham Erskine's super-soldier serum, the USSR would likely have pursued it as well during the Cold War, and they may have actually created another super-soldier.
6. Is Red Guardian Actually Part Of Black Widow's Family?
Red Guardian makes a quip about family being back together again, much to the frustration of Rachel Weisz's Melina. It's important to note that this may be more than just a joke. As shown in Black Widow: Deadly Origin, in the comics Natasha Romanoff married Alexei Shostakov in a last-ditch attempt to escape her life of spycraft. Alexei faked his own death in order to begin training as Red Guardian, and Natasha surrendered to a fate that now seemed inevitable. It will be fascinating to see just what relationship Red Guardian has with Black Widow in the MCU. Whatever Red Guardian's role may be in Black Widow, the trailer shows that he's a lot more than just comic relief, and still packs a punch.
5. Rachel Weisz's Mysterious Melina
The Black Widow trailer includes a first shot of Rachel Weisz's mysterious character, Melina. In the comics, Melina Vostokoff became the clandestine super-spy Iron Maiden, and developed a bitter hatred of Natasha Romanoff because she was tired of living in her shadow. In the MCU, Weisz has confirmed that Melina is another Black Widow, who's gone through Red Room training some five times. This subtly implies that the Black Widow movie isn't just a swan song for Natasha Romanoff; it's about the entire spy/assassin program. The dialogue includes another fat-shaming joke, which may well be a bad move on Marvel's part, given the fat-shaming in Avengers: Endgame was met with mixed reception.
4. The Avalanche Consumes The Military Base
The Black Widow trailer moves back to the military base, showing the avalanche consuming it even as Natasha Romanoff continues to operate from a helicopter that's leaving the scene. This is clearly intended to be one of the most intense action sequences in Black Widow, given its prominence in the trailer, but it's reasonable to assume Natasha's campaign against the Red Room is far from over at this point. It's fascinating to note how dedicated the troopers and guards at this installation are, given they're clearly continuing to focus on Black Widow in the face of their imminent deaths.
3. Black Widow in Freefall
The Black Widow trailer moves to a stunning action shot in which Natasha Romanoff leaps out of the helicopter - which appears to have been shot down - and dives down in freefall. While it's an impressive feat, it may not be quite so high-risk as it seems. Many SHIELD costumes have retractive "gliders," of the type seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and it's quite conceivable Natasha's white suit has that feature as well. Those would slow her descent, however, and right now speed is the priority.
2. Natasha Is Being Pursued By Taskmaster's Agents
It seems that the freefalling Black Widow is being pursued by troopers, who are determined to kill her. Again, their dedication is striking, given they're surrounded by chaos and yet unflinching in their resolve to take down their target. The outfits are stylistically similar to Taskmaster's, suggesting they work for him. If this is still at the Red Room - as it appears to be - then it's possible Taskmaster is the man who runs that facility, and that these are the male equivalents of the Black Widows.
1. A Stunning New Black Widow Logo
The Black Widow trailer ends with a beautiful animation sequence that's a homage to Black Widow's MCU introduction in Iron Man 2, where she demonstrated her skills in a corridor fight. This is generally seen as one of the highlights of Scarlett Johansson's tenure as Black Widow, and as such the affectionate callback is perfectly designed to promise viewers more of the same. The animation sequence is rendered in a fascinating way, portraying just the silhouette of Black Widow as she strides towards the camera, with the whole thing bathed in a red light. It then transitions to the film's new logo.
- 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
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022