Thanks to the events of Avengers: Endgame, we know how Natasha Romanoff’s story ends. But Marvel Studios’s next blockbuster, Black Widow, is going to rewind time (minus the Time Stone) and show us how it began. “We have to go back to where it all started,” Scarlett Johansson’s super-spy says in the first trailer for her first solo adventure, set to arrive in theaters on May 1. Taking place after the events of Captain America: Civil War, the Jason Bourne-esque adventure will officially launch Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also filling in gaps in Black Widow’s personal history. At least she’s not facing the past alone: before joining the Avengers, Black Widow had another family of skilled fighters and, as this early teaser reveals, they’re getting back together for one epic reunion. (Watch the trailer above.)
The roll call of family members starts with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), who went through the same intensive Red Room training that transformed young Natasha into one of the KGB’s most valuable, and deadly, operatives. Meeting again as grown-ups, the two have a serious sibling squabble that demolishes an apartment and establishes they’re still of equal fighting skill. (Not for nothing, but in the comics Yelena also achieves Black Widow status, which suggests that the present-day Avengers may not be short a Widow for long.)
After locating Yelena, Natasha tracks down her two remaining former allies, Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) and Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), who celebrates the reunion by literally squeezing back into his old costume as the Red Guardian — Russia’s answer to Cap. “You got fat,” Melina tells Alexei... but in a sweet family way, not a mean schoolyard bully way. Their shared enemy, the Taskmaster, is most definitely in shape, and the quartet is going to have to go through him to confront their shared history with the Red Room. “We have unfinished business,” Natasha says, referring to her highly personal mission. Johansson expanded on that premise when she appeared at the San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year and teased her alter ego’s mission: “What will make this film so compelling is you get to see what Natasha is afraid of, and what parts of herself she’s afraid of, and what haunts her. I didn’t have that information 10 years ago.”
Of course, at this point in the MCU timeline, Natasha also has unfinished business with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who she recently fought to a standstill at the Leipzig/Halle Airport as a member of Team Cap. Downey reprises his role as Iron Man in Black Widow (as does another Civil War veteran, William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross) and his absence from the trailer was noted on Twitter.
But was I expecting to see Tony Stark ? OH YES #BlackWidow— A girl is desperate. (@molliviaa) December 3, 2019
Black Widow looks fantastic i can't wait to see Tony Stark in it— moonlight (@TheVirtualSin) December 3, 2019
On the other hand, a lot of Marvel fans had a “Tony who?” reaction after seeing Black Widow front and center at last.
The reason why I’m excited for #BlackWidow is because I’ve grown up reading the comics & fell in love with HER ORIGIN STORY.— Nat ✨ Brie Larson (@brie_sparkles) December 3, 2019
She has been conditioned to be this cold & ruthless spy but overcame that & found/built a new FAMILY.
Such a complex character!
The outpouring of affection for Black Widow’s solo adventure should ennoble Marvel to follow through on Johansson’s wishes for an all-female superhero movie, which would also fulfill the promise of one of the most memorable scenes in Endgame when an army of the MCU’s strongest female characters join forces to fight Thanos. "I think it's something that audiences want, I certainly want [it]," the actress recently told Yahoo Entertainment. "It's more opaque for me, obviously, because of my character's fate. But I'm 100 percent all for it, I think it would be fantastic." What she said, true believers.
Black Widow blasts into theaters on May 1.
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