What MCU Movie Will Scarlett Johansson Be in Next?

If Marvel Cinematic Universe characters followed real-world laws of nature, well, there wouldn’t be much of an MCU. But if they did, the next movie Scarlett Johansson would appear in would be “none.”

Spoilers forthcoming if you have not seen Avengers: Endgame yet.

Many fans figured there would be at least one permanent death in a movie titled Endgame. If a character can’t really and truly die for good, does death mean anything at all in these movies? Endgame gave us two: Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Natasha Romanoff (Johansson). Our guess is that one death is likely to stick, while the other is not.

Hint: The one that won’t stick is the one whose new movie we’ve already reported. And we could see a hint of Johansson in a month and change.

Iron Man vs. Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson | Paul Morigi/WireImage

It was fitting that Endgame killed off Tony and Natasha in the same movie since Black Widow first came along in Iron Man 2. Natasha sacrificed herself so Hawkeye could retrieve the soul stone. Tony wielded the gauntlet and succumbed to its energy so he could defeat Thanos once and for all.

It’s safe to say that Tony is well and truly gone. The movie went to the trouble of staging a funeral for Tony, with all the major MCU characters appearing together in one shot, thanks to the magic of CGI. (We sincerely doubt these actors were really all in the same shot at the same time with their busy schedules).

Natasha, on the other hand, got a far less ceremonial send-off. Since her body didn’t come back, she got a solemn moment where her companions mourned her noble sacrifice, then moved on to defeat the bad guys.

Will Black Widow get a prequel or a sequel?

Here’s the thing, though: Iron Man was the hero who started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it made sense to take him full circle and let him have a permanent ending. Black Widow had more to give: so much so that Marvel is in pre-production on Black Widow’s standalone movie.  That was something fans had clamored for even before Captain Marvel. Now that Captain Marvel made more than $1 billion, Black Widow gets her solo too.

The Black Widow movie has not set a release date yet. Besides Johansson, the movie stars Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour, and will be directed by Cate Shortland. With a cast and director set, a release next year seems likely.

But how can Natasha come back? The obvious answer would be a prequel. We never got to see an origin story for Black Widow, so a movie depicting her beginnings would be welcome. A plotline submitted to IMDB by a fan suggests that’s what we’re getting:

“At birth the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova [sic]) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action moves to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative. The standalone film will find Romanoff living in the United States 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union”

Besides all that, Natasha referenced plenty of adventures that happened offscreen. The time period between Captain Marvel: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Natasha has to deal with having her cover blown, would also be good territory to explore. The IMDB lists this storyline submitted by a fan:

It’s also possible that Marvel could resurrect Natasha, just like Star Trek resurrected Mr. Spock 35 years ago. That would require otherworldly magic that wouldn’t fit in with Black Widow’s grittier, more down-to-earth sensibilities. We may find out as soon as Spider-Man Far From Home in July, if they can squeeze a hint into one of the post-credits scenes.

Johansson appears to be in no rush.

“I think everything happens when it’s supposed to,” Johansson told Variety. “All I’ll say is that I think I have a greater understanding of the character now than I ever possibly could have had before. Whatever iteration you see of this character, may or may not see of this character in the future, will be the better because of it.”