The last time we saw Black Widow in the MCU, she was sacrificing herself on Vormir to get the Soul Stone for the Avengers, but despite her death in Avengers: Endgame, she’s finally getting her own solo movie. It’s about time, since Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Natasha Romanoff has always been beloved among fans of the franchise. There is arguably no character in the MCU who deserves a solo movie more than Black Widow.
For years, she’s been relegated to sidekick roles in other people’s solo movies, and now, after nine years of popularity, her own movie is in production. So, here is everything we know (so far) Black Widow prequel.
10 It might not be an origin story
Although it will be a prequel set prior to the present day (as defined by the MCU, which depending on the timeline, could be 2023), the Black Widow movie might not be an origin story. Set photos show the title character driving a 2017 BMW 5 Series Touring Wagon, which would place the time setting somewhere between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
We caught a lot of glimpses of Black Widow’s origin story in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Scarlet Witch gave her flashbacks to her time in the Red Room program, while her history with S.H.I.E.L.D. was covered mostly by Iron Man 2, so an origin story isn’t really necessary.
9 Scarlett Johansson is heavily involved behind the scenes
A few years ago, when it was unclear if a Black Widow standalone movie would happen, despite the fans’ desperation for one, Scarlett Johansson said, “If I did it, I would dedicate myself completely to making it amazing. It would have to be the best version that movie could possibly be. Otherwise, I would never do it.”
She has been heavily involved behind the scenes of the movie now that it is happening, taking meetings with producer Kevin Feige and helping with the development of the script and the hiring of a director. If anyone understands this character, it’s the A-lister who’s been playing her since 2010.
8 Florence Pugh has been cast alongside Scarlett Johansson
Florence Pugh, star of this year’s horror masterwork Midsommar and wrestling biopic Fighting with My Family, has been cast alongside Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow. The rumor mill has it that she’s playing Yelena Belova, a spy who was sent to kill Natasha Romanoff and later became her ally (and, even later, took on the “Black Widow” moniker).
Pugh recently said of the necessity of Black Widow’s solo outing, “This film has been wanted by fans for such a long time and I think it’s well needed. So, I feel like it’s only got support and love. And that’s a very exciting thing.”
7 There’s no release date yet
Although the Black Widow movie is currently in production across the globe, Marvel Studios has yet to announce the film’s release date. There are a few Marvel releases scheduled over the next couple of years, but no confirmation yet on which of those slots has been allocated to Black Widow.
Marvel has confirmed that they decided the “best time to move forward with the project” would be to kick off the “latest phase” of the MCU following Spider-Man: Far From Home’s culmination of Phase 3, so the movie will likely release sooner rather than later. Disney will announce Marvel’s release slate later this summer, so we’ll know then.
6 The movie might be shooting in Budapest
The Black Widow prequel began shooting earlier this year in Norway before moving to Pinewood Studios in the UK by June. There are unconfirmed reports that the movie will also be shooting in Budapest. This is an important location in the MCU’s story, since Hawkeye and Black Widow have joked about a mission that they completed there for S.H.I.E.L.D. since 2012’s The Avengers.
Jeremy Renner hasn’t been confirmed to play Clint Barton in the film, while its place on the timeline appears to be long after the first Avengers movie, so this probably won’t be a depiction of that mission – unless it’s in a flashback.
5 The supporting cast is filled with recognizable faces
While none of the roles played by the actors who have been cast in Black Widow have been disclosed (apart from the role of Natasha Romanoff, of course), the actors who have signed on are pretty well-known: Rachel Weisz, who recently wowed audiences with her turn in the brilliantly acted The Favorite; David Harbour, who plays Hopper in Netflix’s Stranger Things and most recently played the title character in the R-rated Hellboy reboot; O.T. Fagbenle, who plays Luke Bankole in Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale; and Ray Winstone, who has appeared in everything from The Departed to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
4 Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson are working on the script
A number of screenwriters have worked on the script for Black Widow in the producers’ quest to get the story right, but Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson are the two credited writers. Schaeffer worked on the script for Captain Marvel and also co-wrote this year’s gender-swapped remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Hustle, starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.
Benson is known for writing and directing the romantic drama The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, a collection of three movies (a two-part version of the film, “Him” and “Her,” and one complete version, “Them”) starring James McAvoy and Benson’s then-girlfriend Jessica Chastain.
3 Cate Shortland is in the director’s chair
Marvel Studios reportedly met with more than 65 filmmakers in their search for a Black Widow director, including Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Chloé Zhao (who was instead chosen to helm The Eternals), Lynn Shelton, and Amma Asante. From a shortlist of 49 directors (which doesn’t sound like much of a shortlist, so there must have been some pretty great directors in those meetings), Cate Shortland was selected.
Shortland is an Australian director who is best known for her psychological thriller Berlin Syndrome. She got the personal approval of Scarlett Johansson, who was a fan of the director’s previous female-fronted film Lore.
2 Taskmaster is probably the villain
While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it seems as though Taskmaster will be the main villain of the Black Widow film. In the comics, Taskmaster – or Tony Masters, his real name – is a mercenary who has been both an ally and a foe of Deadpool. Marvel fans have been clamoring to see him on film for a long time.
He’s usually depicted as a supervillain in the comics, but he’s also been portrayed as an antihero and a sleeper agent, so there’s a chance to make this one of the most rounded and memorable villains in the MCU, a franchise that is often criticized for its “villain problem.”
1 The reveal of Natasha’s father could be a big part of the plot
It might seem strange that the Black Widow solo movie is releasing right after the character died in Avengers: Endgame, but the circumstances of her death might point to why this is the perfect time for her first standalone adventure. When Nat and Clint first arrived on Vormir, Red Skull said, “Welcome, Natasha, daughter of Ivan.” Nat mentioned that even she didn’t know the name of her father, which convinced her that everything Red Skull said about the Soul Stone was true.
She still won’t know her father by the end of this movie, since it’s a prequel and she didn’t know in the present day, so she wouldn’t know back then, but it could tie into the plot in interesting ways.