Black Widow Strikes Back


Aaron Michaels, Contributor

Early this morning, Marvel Studios unexpectedly dropped the first teaser trailer for their newest film, helmed by one of the founding Avengers, Natasha Romanoff! Black Widow’s solo film is sure to bring a new taste to the MCU’s vast palette, delivering an action-packed spy thriller full of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s signature sense of humor and heart. But there is one problem… didn’t she die in Avengers: Endgame? Yes, she did, and this isn’t a resurrection/reincarnation story. Her sacrifice for the Soul Stone on Vormir is indeed final, but that doesn’t mean Natasha’s story has come to a close. There is still more of Black Widow to share.

Black Widow reportedly takes place in the 2 years between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. When we see Nat in this film, she’s returned to her life on the run, and her past is running right alongside her. The blonde woman seen in the trailer is Yelena Belova, another of the proteges of the Red Room Program that trained Natasha to take the mantle of the Black Widow. Yelena has a long history in the comics of acting as either a sidekick or opposition, and eventually becoming the Black Widow herself. Yelena and Natasha’s relationship is bound to be the key focus of the film as Natasha embraces her sister, and with it, her own past and sins she strives to repent for. 

Natasha’s solo outing will also help to expand the MCU’s past even further with the introduction of David Harbour’s character Alexei Shostakov, aka The Red Guardian. Alexei’s character in the comics is Russia’s response to Project Rebirth (the experiment that created Captain America). The Red Guardian leads the Winter Guard, a group of likewise Russian knockoffs of the Avengers including Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Vision, Thor, and even the Hulk (which happens to be a foulmouthed talking bear called Ursa Major (Oh comic books, how I love you…). The Winter Guard’s possible resurgence later on could help bring a new perspective to how Russia and the world at large responds to the Blip in Avengers: Endgame.

The past baggage of the Red Room and Yelena isn’t the only problem Natasha will deal with, the long-time Marvel villain Taskmaster is slated to be the film’s big bad, and his design isn’t quite up to snuff. The Taskmaster of the comics has an orange, white, and blue color-scheme and a prominent hood, cape, and skull mask. His design in the film, however, appears almost purple and his skull mask is so subtle it’s unrecognizable. Taskmaster’s role within the film is still a mystery, but his presence is a huge threat not only to Natasha, but the MCU at large.

Rachel Weitz has been cast as the longtime Black Widow villain called the Iron Maiden, a spy with a suit of armor packed with a large arsenal of weapons. The footage in the trailer shows her seated at a dinner table with Yelena, Alexei, and Natasha as more friend than foe. Natasha even refers to her as family. Whether that warrants a betrayal or alliance is yet to be seen.

Despite being a prequel, Black Widow will help set the stage for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Yelena taking the mantle of the Black Widow after Natasha’s fate in Avengers: Endgame.

Black Widow hits theatres May 1, 2020.