‘Black Widow’: Scarlett Johansson Once Revealed the 1 Marvel Movie that Informed Her Spinoff (and It’s Not in the MCU)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe tends to jump around its own timeline, including the time-travel mission of Avengers: Endgame. Still, no one saw a two-year wait coming for Black Widow. According to Scarlett Johansson, the movie will be something completely different. In fact, the only Marvel movie she mentioned as a reference point isn’t even part of the MCU.

'Black Widow' stars David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz, and Scarlett Johansson at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019
‘Black Widow’ stars David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz, and Scarlett Johansson at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019 | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

‘Black Widow’ will hit theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on July 9

At one point, Black Widow was set to arrive in theaters in Marvel’s customary early May slot. Going all the way back to 2002’s Spider-Man, that release strategy has been a favorite for Marvel properties. But due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the movie — which was set to be the first MCU project for Phase 4 — was pushed from its initial May 1, 2020 date.

Even as the pandemic went on and other Disney releases such as Mulan and Soul went straight to streaming, Marvel held on for a theatrical release. In late March, Disney finally updated its release schedule with new release dates for several movies. According to Variety, Black Widow will now hit traditional and IMAX theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on July 9, 2021.

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Wolverine’s story in ‘Logan’ impacted Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’

Since Black Widow dies in Avengers: Endgame, this long-awaited solo film for Johansson’s Avenger might be the character’s last stand. As such, fans are pinning all their hopes on director Cate Shortland’s movie to live up to a decade of hype. And in a 2019 interview with MTV, Johansson did give a bit of insight into what she hoped to achieve with Black Widow.

“One, I want the film to do really well and for people to enjoy it and all of that — for it to have success. Two, I want it to be fulfilling for fans of Marvel, for fans of the character. The third thing was that I want to be the same person that I’ve been throughout these 10 years. I don’t want it to feel like, just because this character has a standalone, it’s not grounded in the history that we already know of the character. So I wanted you to feel like the character is carrying the weight of all we know. So that’s what I think we’re currently doing.”

Johansson goes on to say cite a few of the movies the production team discussed behind the scenes on Black Widow. These include 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1993’s The Fugitive, and 2017’s Logan. Interestingly, that last one is a Marvel movie but not one set within the continuity of the MCU. Of course, both Wolverine and Black Widow are haunted by dark pasts.

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Will fans get a cameo appearance from Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye?

Thus far, the MCU has only offered brief glimpses of what Natasha Romanoff’s life was like before she became Black Widow. But her solo movie will reportedly take place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. That gives the story a window to explore her criminal past, since Natasha will be on the run from the United States government. 

Of course, Black Widow is still an MCU movie. And fans should expect plenty of connections to existing characters. The most likely hero to make an appearance is Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. Whether it’s in a flashback sequence or something else, Black Widow is rumored to finally uncover the truth behind what the duo faced in Budapest, a mission first referenced in The Avengers.