Black Widow: Everything We Know About The MCU's First Phase 4 Film
The first movie of Marvel's Phase 4 is just around the corner
There was a lot of news coming out of San Diego Comic-Con, but some of the most exciting had to do with Marvel's Phase 4 plans, which blew the roof off of Hall H on Saturday at the convention. Fans were treated to first looks at new cast lineups and animatic logos for upcoming projects, and Marvel Studios even teased some potential avenues the shared cinematic universe could travel in the future. But the biggest segment of the panel went to Black Widow, the first movie of Phase 4-- Marvel actually brought footage and a trailer exclusively for fans in the room.
Though the reel shown in San Diego isn't currently available online, we gathered as much information from both it and the panel as we could. Here is everything we know about Black Widow, from its release date to its star-studded cast.
The cast is a mix of new and familiar faces
Scarlett Johansson is returning as Natasha Romanoff
Florence Pugh is Yelena Belova
David Harbour is Alexei, aka Red Guardian
Rachel Weisz is Melina
O-T Fagbenle is Mason
It's got an official release date
Black Widow heads to theaters on May 1, 2020.
It will deal with the infamous "Budapest" story somehow
Long-time MCU fans will understand the weight of Black Widow (and Hawkeye's) association with Budapest. The two characters first referenced their shared history in Budapest back in the first Avengers movie and Budapest has since come up time and time again as a sort of inside joke just for the two of them. The only problem is, we--as in the audience--have yet to get any real indication of just what happened in Budapest that made it so memorable for them. Absolutely no details have been shared. Clearly, it was something big--otherwise, why would they be referencing it so frequently and in so many situations--but whether it was good, bad, or something in-between has been totally left up to the imagination.
At least, that is, until now. The footage shown to fans in Hall H during Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel started, pointedly, with a title card announcing that the scene shown did indeed take place in Budapest. Looks like one of the MCU's greatest mysteries is finally going to be solved.
It's set between Civil War and Infinity War
During an interview with IGN, David Harbour confirmed that the movie will be taking place after Captain America: Civil War, presumably before Avengers: Infinity War. Maybe we'll even get an explanation for why Natasha went the bleach blonde route for her Infinity War look somewhere in here.
Yelena and Natasha go way back
During the Hall H footage, Natasha and Yelena go all in for a knock-down-drag-out brawl in the middle of an otherwise very peaceful apartment complex. The two are so evenly matched that they seem to be almost mirroring one another--a pretty clear indication that they share a lot of the same background, at least as far as their martial arts training is concerned.
Then, to really sell the idea that these are two characters with some poignant shared history, the minute the fight stops they break out the vodka and Yelena playfully calls Natasha "sis."
Mason has some complicated feelings for Natasha
O-T Fagbenle's character Mason is a new addition to the MCU--and it's unclear whether he's actually based on any character in the Marvel universe at large. He may be a version of Rick Mason, a SHIELD-adjacent side character also known as "The Agent," or he may be a totally new invention for the movie.
Regardless of who he may or may not be based on, Fagbenle teased a flirtatious relationship with Natasha during the Hall H panel, winking that Mason's feelings for the Black Widow may become an issue for him during the film.
Alexei may be linked to Captain America
David Harbour's character, Alexei, is known in the comics as The Red Guardian, a Russian WW2 hero who was actually married to Natasha for a period of time. It's unclear what Alexei's story will be in the MCU, but Harbour walked out on stage wearing a Captain America t-shirt under his suit coat. When the panel moderator asked if Cap was his favorite, Harbor teased that his character has some "complicated feelings" on the matter, leading us to believe that we may get some connection between Alexei and WW2, if not Steve Rogers himself, in the movie.
After all, with Hydra and the Red Room skulking around Europe through the end of the war, it would make sense for other cryo-freeze experiments to have been taking place, right? Maybe Steve isn't Marvel's only "man out of time." Otherwise, Red Guardian is traditionally positioned as Russia's original answer to the Super Soldier project--so that could be another potential explanation if they choose to drop the WW2 connection. Either way, things are likely to get pretty complicated and very, very interesting.
Melina might be Iron Maiden
We don't have much information about Rachel Weisz's character, Melina, just yet, but the comics could hold some answers. The Melina most closely associated with Natasha throughout Marvel history is Melina Vostokoff, aka Iron Maiden, a Russian spy and agent who developed a deep hatred of Natasha after being forced into her shadow for years.
It's not entirely clear whether Melina will be featured in the film as an antagonist, or if she will have completed her Iron Maiden evolution by the time we meet her, but it does put the potential for a major link to the confirmed villain of the film.
Taskmaster is here to make everyone miserable
The Hall H footage featured the reveal of a familiar face for Marvel fans: Taskmaster, a long-time antagonist for all sorts of superheroes, easily picked out of a lineup by his distinctive full-face skull mask, sword, and shield.
In the comics, Taskmaster is the alias of Tony Masters, a highly trained fighter and mercenary with the ability to mimic any move or combat skill after seeing it once.
However, in the clip, we saw Natasha confronting Taskmaster on a bridge, but he was never unmasked and never spoke, meaning that it's possible there might be another trick up his sleeve. In fact, he may not be a "he" at all. There is no confirmation that this Taskmaster is Tony Masters--in fact, it might be an updated version of Melina's Iron Maiden identity.
Nat's getting a new look
Disney's D23 Expo gave fans a first-hand look at Natasha's new costume--all white, this time around, instead of her traditional black--for the movie. It's unclear how this costume change will factor into the movie. Maybe there's a snowy mission in Nat's immediate future?
Taskmaster and Red Guardian have beef.
In the brand new trailer, we got an up-close-and-personal look at a fight between Red Guardian and Taskmaster that definitely looked personal. Whether it actually was--the two characters don't have much history in the comics, so it's difficult to tell--or there's something else going on is still up for debate. However, regardless of the context, we're willing to bet that the story between these two characters will have something to do with Natasha's past.
It's about family.
Also from the new trailer, we got a taste of the dynamic between Natasha, Yelena, Melina and Alexei. This won't be a huge surprise to fans of the comics, but they consider themselves a family, most likely thanks to their shared Red Room experiences.
Taskmaster isn't the only threat.
It's unclear just who these masked soldiers are working for, but there are certainly a lot of them. They may be part of the Red Room, henchmen for Taskmaster (their masks certainly do look like skulls) or something else entirely. It's definitely worth noting that their outfits do look slightly similar to Brock Rumlow's Crossbones armor, so there could be a Hydra connection.