Rather than pick up in a post-Avengers: Endgame world like Spider-Man: Far From Home did, Phase 4 is beginning with a trip back to the past, as Black Widow will follow what Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff was up to between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It’s still hard to get a specific read on this movie since Marvel Studios hasn’t released a trailer yet, but here’s how Black Widow costar Florence Pugh described the tone:
I think we’ve made something very raw and very painful and very beautiful and I think people are going to be really surprised by the outcome of a big action film having that much heart. And I know lots of people will be emotional about her because her character had such a hard ending, but it was special learning from her, and she’s been doing this for like 10 years in those films. For this to be her film was special. And I got to be there and see how she does stunts and lives it, and it’s so her.
Balancing “raw” and “painful” elements with beauty is no easy feat, so it’ll be interesting to see how Black Widow pulls that off. Still, an action movie with a lot of heart is consistent with what we’ve seen from many past Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, and Pugh is clearly pleased with how it all turned out, especially since it gave her the chance to work with Scarlett Johansson.
As everyone who’s caught up on the MCU timeline knows, Natasha Romanoff sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame so that Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye/Ronin, could obtain the Soul Stone and bring it back to 2023. That marked the end of her story, but Black Widow will delve into an untold chapter of Natasha’s life, one which will see Florence Pugh (whose other credits include Fighting with My Family, Midsommar and the upcoming Little Women) playing Yelena Belova, who shares the Black Widow mantle.
As Florence Pugh acknowledged to Variety, she learned a lot from Scarlett Johansson, who will have 10 years worth of MCU screen time by the time Black Widow comes out. And considering how Johansson has said that Black Widow gave her “closure,” that might mean that this will serve as her final MCU appearance. If that’s the case, is Black Widow laying the groundwork for Pugh’s Yelena to be established as the ‘official’ Black Widow going forward?
Whatever the answer to that question ends up being, aside from when it’s set, all we know about Black Widow’s story is that Natasha Romanoff will find herself “alone and forced to confront her past,” and this will involve her crossing paths with characters like David Harbour’s Red Guardian and Taskmaster (whose actor hasn’t been identified yet). William Hurt’s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark will also appear in Black Widow, though the latter will be through deleted footage from Captain America: Civil War.
Black Widow opens in theaters on May 1. If you’re curious about what else is coming out in Phase 4 and beyond, look through our Marvel movies guide.