Kicking off Phase Four of the MCU with a tried and true character like Black Widow seems like a safe bet. This is especially the case when you consider Marvel is about to introduce a bunch of less familiar ones like The Eternals and Shang-Chi. It gives Marvel another female-centered movie, which they found great success with via Captain Marvel, and fans have long asked for a Black Widow movie.
But here’s the thing: Black Widow quite literally has no future. As such, Black Widow poses something of a risk for Marvel. While fans are happy she finally got her movie, some are not happy that she had to die to get it.
The uneasy fate of Natasha
By now, most of the world knows that Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) died in Avengers: Endgame. She sacrificed herself so Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) could retrieve the Soul Stone, just as Thanos had sacrificed Gamora to obtain it. Most fans knew there would be at least one honest-to-goodness permanent death, and as heart-wrenching, as it was, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) dying wasn’t a great surprise.
However, Natasha’s abrupt death did catch fans off-guard, as did her somewhat cursory send-off. Tony got a grand, emotional farewell, bringing together almost every character that could possibly be there. Yet Natasha only gets a lot of sad faces and an object tossed across the water by the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
So that left fans leaving Avengers: Endgame knowing the Black Widow movie would be a prequel. It has since been revealed the film will take place chronologically between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame.
Scarlett Johansson is looking for ‘closure’
Johansson has rightly said she knows the character better than anyone, and like fans, she felt Natasha didn’t quite get her due. Comicbook.com quoted her as saying: “Closure. I mean, I hope so. I don’t know if I can take it anymore without closure. I mean, it’s too exhausting. I love it, I’m so proud of what we made. Now, we get to sprinkle the magic all over it.”
It also helps that Johansson isn’t just starring in the film, but also has a hand in producing it.
“I feel like I’m in control of the destiny of this film, which gives me a lot more peace of mind,” Johansson said earlier this year. “I know her better than anybody. What was her childhood like? What is her relationship to figures of authority? This character is gritty and multi-dimensional but has a lot of trauma and has led an unexamined life. In order to operate at this elite level, she has probably had to push away a lot of stuff.”
Will there be a ‘Black Widow’ sequel?
Now the question becomes, if this movie makes a great deal of money, as Marvel movies usually do, how do you follow it? Can you? One could go back even further, with another prequel, or Marvel could even movie “forward” and explore the five-year time jump in Avengers: Endgame.
Whichever way they go, they’re confronted with an unpleasant reality. Natasha is dead. You can only do so many prequels before that gets old, and a sequel just seems outlandish. Does Doctor Strange magically resurrect her? Stranger things have happened in the comics, but suspension of disbelief in actual comic books is one thing. In a movie, it’s another, no matter how trippy the CGI gets.
Still, there is another way through. Johansson has also said Black Widow could become a standalone franchise, and one way it could do that would be to introduce another Black Widow.