‘Black Widow’: They Needed to Be Able to ‘Dig Deep and Be Brave’ for Scarlett Johansson to Return to the MCU

It took over a decade for Scarlett Johansson to get her own solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the actress recently revealed that it wasn’t an easy process. Johansson’s upcoming movie, Black Widow, is set before the events in Avengers: Infinity War and will give her character more closure following her death in Avengers: Endgame. Fans cannot wait to see what Marvel has in store for Natasha’s final chapter, but Johansson teased that there was “no reason” to make the movie unless they “could dig deep and be brave.”

Black Widow Scarlett Johansson
Black Widow herself, Scarlett Johansson | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Inside Johansson’s first solo film in the MCU

Johansson’s first appearance in the MCU as Black Widow came in the 2010 film, Iron Man 2. She went on to reprise the role in all of Marvel’s major crossovers, including Captain America: Civil War and all four Avengers movies.

Despite her prominence in the MCU, Johansson had to wait until the start of Phase 4 to get her own standalone film. Unfortunately, Natasha’s journey in the MCU will end with Black Widow as she gave up her life in Endgame to retrieve the Soul Stone. 

Black Widow is set right after the events in Civil War and will take fans to Russia, where Natasha received her spy training. The film will introduce a slew of new characters, including Red Guardian (David Harbour) and Yelena (Florence Pugh), the latter of whom will become the MCU’s next Black Widow.

While the film will set the stage for Phase 4 of the MCU, Johansson revealed that it will give fans more closure about her character’s storyline. She also stated that she couldn’t be happier with how the movie turned out and that the project was “so satisfying” to finish.

Johansson opens up about ‘Black Widow’

Many fans were disappointed with how Natasha’s story concluded in Endgame. In particular, many viewers thought she deserved a memorial at the end of the film, similar to what Marvel gave Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

Johansson didn’t spill too many details about the plot of Black Widow, but she did assure fans that they will get more closure. According to We Got This Covered, the actress also stated that they wouldn’t have done the movie at all if they weren’t able to “dig deep and be brave.”

“There was no reason to do a Black Widow standalone film unless we could dig deep and be brave. I’m very happy with all the work we’ve done on the Marvel Studios films,” she explained. “I felt that Avengers: Endgame was so satisfying I wanted to make sure Black Widow would be so satisfying, not just for the fans, but also for myself, artistically and creatively, after a decade of playing this character.”

Johansson went on to say that Black Widow will give fans a better understanding about why she chose to sacrifice herself in Endgame, instead of letting Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) give up his life.

Black Widow was originally set to premiere in theaters in May. Marvel pushed back the release date to November because of the coronavirus pandemic. Although it sounds like Natasha is the focus of the movie, the film will also introduce fans to the next Black Widow in the MCU.

Is Florence Pugh really the next Black Widow?

We already know that Natasha did not survive the events in Endgame, leaving the MCU without a Black Widow. But it sounds like Marvel has plans to make Pugh’s character the new Black Widow, at least according to director Cate Shortland.

In an interview with Empire, Shortland revealed that Johansson “hands the baton” to Pugh in the movie. This sets Pugh up to appear in future movies in the MCU, though it remains to be seen if she will eventually get her own flick.

“[Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige] realized that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Shortland stated.

Shortland admitted that they did not realize that Pugh would do such a great job in the role until they started filming. She didn’t say for sure that Yelena is taking on Natasha’s mantle, but handing over the baton definitely sounds like it.

The director also touched on Natasha’s controversial storyline in Endgame. Shortland explained how “Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral” and that she worked mainly behind the scenes, so most people didn’t know who she was.

Fans can watch Johansson and Pugh in action when Black Widow hits theaters on November 6.