For the first time since she was introduced in Iron Man 2 in 2010, Natasha Romanoff will be getting her own standalone film. On Tuesday, out of the blue, Marvel gave fans their first look at the upcoming Black Widow movie. Set to be released in 2020, Black Widow will serve as the first entry in Marvel’s Phase 4 slate.
As previously shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Natasha, who was born and raised in Russia, was trained as a spy and assassin in a secret academy called the Red Room, which was disguised as a ballet school. Natasha was taken from her parents at a young age and was sterilized like the other assassins, so she has no family or relatives to speak of. Eventually, Natasha defects to S.H.I.E.L.D., a special law enforcement and intelligence agency in the US. She also becomes part of the Avengers, where she is a part of a family of sorts, becoming very close with heroes such as Hawkeye, Hulk, and Captain America. Once Thanos wipes out half of the population, Natasha is one of the survivors that ends up going into the Quantum Realm to reverse what was done. While on the planet Vormir, Natasha is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice and kills herself so that Hawkeye can retrieve the Soul Stone. While many fans were unhappy with this decision, as they felt her death was overshadowed by Iron Man’s death in Avengers: Endgame, the spotlight will finally be all on her.
Because of Natasha’s death, Black Widow will take place somewhere in between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. During this time, Natasha, along with heroes such as Captain America and Falcon, was forced underground after their refusal to sign the Sokovia Accords. In the trailer, Natasha is continually haunted by memories of her past, as she feels more alone than ever. She decides to travel back to her former home, which leads to an intense confrontation with one of her “sisters” from the Red Room, Yelena Belova. There is no real indication as to why Natasha has come home, other than having “unfinished business” to attend to. Part of that means helping break Alexei Shostakov, also known as the Red Guardian, out of a high-security prison. The Red Guardian is the Russian equivalent of Captain America, but there is no indication as to what importance he serves in Natasha’s quest, other than his interaction with some of the other “sisters” from the Red Room.
Because this is a prequel and not a continuation of the story that was wrapped up in Avengers: Endgame, one has to wonder: what connection will this film have to future Marvel films? Or will it just be a standalone film that fills in the gaps? It could be possible that Natasha passes the Black Widow baton off to Yelena, who held the mantle in the comics for a while. We will find out soon enough, when Black Widow hits theaters on May 1, 2020.