Widow in the Endgame trailer

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a fascinating place right now, as Phase Three comes to a close with Avengers: Endgame. With only two blockbusters left in the current slate of movies, plenty of moviegoers are looking to the unclear future of Marvel. Unfortunately, very little is known about the franchise in Phase Four, except for Spider-Man: Far From Home and the still developing Black Widow movie. Luckily, the latter seems to be moving forward well.

Scarlett Johansson's signature Marvel character will finally take the spotlight in her own movie, with a team coming together for the developing project. Cate Shorltand has been tapped to direct the upcoming blockbuster, with an official director and producing team also assembled to craft the Black Widow movie. Now Star Wars: Episode IX art director Jim Barr has been revealed to be doing the same job for Black Widow.

This latest report comes to us from HN Entertainment, and shows that Marvel Studios is really working to get Black Widow's team together for the upcoming solo movie. While its setting and plot are still a mystery to the general public, every new crew announcement proves that the highly anticipated solo flick is truly coming together, and is poised to become a reality. The question is: when?

Jim Barr is just the latest crew member that has signed onto the Black Widow movie, with the Art Director's job helping the movie's visuals make their way to the silver screen. He'll be joining Lore director Cate Shortland, who is helming the project written by Jac Schaeffer (Captain Marvel). This trio will make up the backbone of the upcoming blockbuster, and finally give Black Widow the solo adventure she deserves.

Aside from his work as the Art Director for Episode IX, Jim Barr has a variety of credits within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was actually the art director Avengers: Infinity War, helping to bring the massive ensemble project to theaters. He also worked on Doctor Strange, which is just as challenging in regards to the ambitious scope and visuals of the trippy blockbuster.

By comparison, the Black Widow movie might be far less challenging for Jim Barr. Natasha Romanoff doesn't have superpowers, and her solo movie might give Marvel Studios the opportunity to pull back after CGI-heavy projects like Infinity War and Captain Marvel. While the public has no semblance of what Black Widow will be about, Phase Three has proven that ambitious and original new installments really resonate with audiences. Just look at the massive success of Black Panther, which has even earned a handful of Oscar nominations since its release.

The mystery of Black Widow's contents will likely continue for some time, at the very least until Avengers: Endgame finally hits theaters. Marvel hasn't reveled its plans for Phase Four, and it looks like Natasha will have a major presence in the upcoming blockbuster. Let's just hope she makes it out alive.

Widow in Infinity War

The Black Widow movie has been a long time coming, and has the potential to finally expand the character's mysterious backstory. While comic book fans may know everything about Natasha Romanoff's past on the page, it's not something that's been shown in great detail in the MCU. She's had a few scenes that mention her training and life as an assassin, and we got to see a younger version of Natasha during the character's vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Still, she's an OG Avenger who has largely functioned as a supporting character in The Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Iron Man 2.

Despite sometimes being kept on the sidelines, Scarlett Johansson’s characterization has allowed Black Widow to become one of the most popular characters in the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. And she’s factored heavily into some of the MCU’s biggest battles, including the Civil War tarmac fight, The Battle of New York, and Battle of Wakanda. But now the fandom will get a chance to get a little bit more into her head.

It’s hard to even imagine what the Black Widow movie will be about, considering the precarious position of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Avengers: Infinity War’s shocking ending. Josh Brolin’s Thanos succeeded, and wiped out half the galaxy in the snap of his big purple finger. Black Widow and the rest of the OG Avengers survived, but it’s not entirely clear if/how they’ll resurrect their fallen comrades in Avengers: Endgame.

The stakes are at an all-time high, and smart money says not every surviving Avenger will live through their second battle with Thanos in Endgame. Characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow seem like prime candidates to fall in battle, and devastate the generations of Marvel fans out there.

If Natasha sacrifices herself during the course of Avengers: Endgame, then Black Widow may end up being a prequel. Marvel Studios could even go so far as to create a post-mortem origin story, showing how Black Widow went from being a Russian killer to a top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. This would also give Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the chance to play a bigger role in the MCU, as he was the one who recruited her and changed her life years prior to The Avengers.

Hawkeye seems like a great character to pair with Natasha in Black Widow, given their long history. Fans have been lamenting about how little Hawkeye has been used in the MCU, when compared to the other original Avengers. And while he’s taking on the mantle of Ronin for Avengers: Endgame, maybe Widow’s solo flick could focus on their relationship as he comes back from that dark path.

It should be interesting to see if/how the Black Widow movie convinces Scarlett Johansson to stick around the MCU. While her contract is up, a challenging solo flick might be just what she needs to re-up. Although leading a solo movie outside of her contract may also give Johansson the opportunity for a much needed payday.

Black Widow will return to the MCU when Avengers: Endgame arrives in April 26th. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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