After this year's second team up of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Age of Ultron, many of Marvel Studios cinematic universe stars will return to kick off Phase 3 in Captain America: Civil War next spring. The upcoming film will pit Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) against former teammate and friend Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), with many of the other Avengers and their friends choosing sides.
Marvel Studios rolled out the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War late in November as well as three posters featuring the headlining heroes going head to head. Now, interviews with various Civil War cast members are surfacing offering more details about their characters like newcomer Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), as well as returning hero Natasha Romanov a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).
In the latest installment of EW's interviews with cast members from the set of Captain America: Civil War - kicked off by the cover reveal that featured Captain America, Black Panther, and Iron Man - Johansson discussed the motivations of Black Widow following the events of Age of Ultron and where her loyalties lie in the standoff between the Avengers heroes. Johansson explained that, for her part in Civil War, Natasha is trying be smart about the conflict as much as possible:
"I think when you find her in Civil War, she’s looking to strategize her position, putting herself in a place where she is able to let the powers that be fight it out or whatever amongst themselves. She’s always a little bit on the perimeter so she can have a better perspective of what’s really going on… I think she understands where everyone is coming from. And none of it really matters to her, you know? There’s a bigger problem at hand and she’s, I think, strangely, kind of the mediator. Which is not exactly how you would imagine her to be. But I think she really does see both sides of the coin and I think her strength is that she’s not personally involved."
Since the team breakdowns of who will be loyal to Iron Man and who sides with Captain America were revealed, there has been speculation about which characters may change sides during the course of Civil War. Black Widow, for instance, was speculated by some to be working undercover on Iron Man's team and being loyal to Cap. Though that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case, the "mediator" role and Natasha's tendency to stay on the periphery of the conflict that Johansson describes could explain why some believed her to be a character that would switch sides.
Additionally, with S.H.I.E.L.D. gone - or at least operating on a much smaller scale - and the Avengers splintered by the Civil War conflict, Black Widow will be on her own when making decisions. Johansson expanded on the seemingly black and white decision of choosing to align with either Iron Man or Captain America: "it’s more complicated than picking sides, you know?" For Natasha it seems she'll have an inner conflict that comes from realizing she can make her own decisions, instead of following the orders given to her, and needing to choose whether or not to do what she feels is right.
As for whether or not Civil War will continue to expand on Natasha's relationship with Bruce Banner, despite the Hulk not appearing in the third Captain America film, Johansson said, "There is little room for romance in Civil War." The actress went on to say that Natasha understands Bruce's reasoning for leaving and seeking isolation at the end of Age of Ultron, and that fans won't see a "reactive" response from Black Widow in Civil War.
Johansson did comment on the discussion that erupted following Age of Ultron concerning Natasha's relationship with Bruce, the revelation that she was sterilized by the Black Widow program, and her desire to takes a step back from being a hero. The actress said her character's motivations and storyline were carefully created by her and Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon, and that she would rather it spark conversation than go unnoticed:
"I’m happy that people scrutinize the Widow’s storylines and care about it and are invested. I’d much rather it be like that than have a kind of “meh” reaction. For me to have people say that would be, ouch, you know? Everything that I’ve done with the Widow, to me makes sense. It’s in line with active decisions that I’ve made for the character. I’ve been able to develop this character very closely with Joss and [Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo]."
So, for those who weren't impressed by Natasha's relationship with Bruce in Age of Ultron, it seems that won't be included in Civil War, but the other aspects of her character established in the Avengers film will inform her storyline in the third Captain America installment. Additionally, though we still don't know how Natasha's role as a kind of mediator will play out in the film, it seems she will have a compelling and complex role in Captain America: Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Tom Holland, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serve as executive producers and the screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.