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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a unique place, as we're currently occupying the interim period between phases. Phase Four will kick off with Cate Shortland's Black Widow, marking the first time the title character has gotten her own solo movie. Scarlett Johansson has played Natasha for a decade and eight major appearances, with Avengers: Endgame marking her character's heroic death. And it turns out that Johansson originally wasn't sure if she wanted to sign on for her solo flick.
Black Widow is one of the most significant characters in The Avengers, serving as the heart of the team. Fans had been waiting for a Widow movie for years, although when development started, Scarlett Johansson had some doubts about. In fact, she required an especially gripping story in order to lure her back for one more Marvel blockbuster. As the Oscar nominated actress explained,
I was like, I think I’m good. If we [were] going to do this, it had to be creatively fulfilling. I’ve been working for such a long time, and I have to feel like I’m challenged. I don’t want to do the same thing that I’d already done before.
Luckily for the fans, that's exactly what happened. Black Widow will allow Scarlett Johansson to flex new muscles as Natasha, and likely bring context into the character's decision to sacrifice herself in Avengers: Endgame.
Scarlett Johansson's comments to EW might surprise the rabid Marvel fanbase. Since we've spent so long waiting for Black Widow to finally get own solo movie, it seemed like a logical choice for the actress to sign on to finally get top billing in an MCU blockbuster. But it was never guaranteed, and Scarlett Johansson eventually relented given the upcoming blockbuster's story.
Black Widow is unique for a superhero movie. Set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, the movie isn't an origin story or a true prequel. But it will reveal information about Natasha's life before joining The Avengers, and fill in a gap in the larger MCU's timeline. And since the character wasn't given the full funeral treatment after perishing on Vormir, Black Widow will likely also give its title character a fitting sendoff.
While Scarlett Johansson wasn't originally sure about joining Black Widow, she's since revealed that working on the upcoming blockbuster helped to give her a sense of closure with the character. She's spent a long time kicking ass and taking names as the super spy, so Johansson certainly deserves that much. And if that blockbuster also happens to let the rabid fanbase properly mourn and celebrate Natasha in the process, so be it.