Black Widow Marvel is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is intended to be the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Cate Shortland and written by Eric Pearson from a story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, and stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow alongside Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz. Set after Captain America: Civil War (2016), the film sees Romanoff on the run and forced to confront her past.

Development of a Black Widow Marvel film began in April 2004 by Lionsgate, with David Hayter attached to write and direct. The project did not move forward and the film rights to the character reverted to Marvel Studios by June 2006. Johansson was cast in the role for several MCU films beginning with Iron Man 2 (2010). Marvel and Johansson expressed interest in a solo film several times over the following years, before Schaeffer and Shortland were hired in 2018. Benson joined in early 2019, with Pearson added later. Filming took place from May to October, in Norway, Budapest, Morocco, Pinewood Studios in England, and in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia.

Black Widow is scheduled for release in the United States on November 6, 2020, as the first film in Phase Four of the MCU. Its release was delayed from an original May 2020 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black Widow Marvel Cast

  • Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow Marvel:
    An Avenger, highly trained former-KGB assassin and former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Johansson described the film as an opportunity to show the character as “a woman who has come into her own and is making independent and active choices for herself”, while being in a “dark place where she’s got no one to call and nowhere to go.” Ever Anderson portrays a young Natasha Romanoff.
  • Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova / Black Widow: A sister-figure to Romanoff who was trained in the Red Room as a Black Widow.
  • David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian:
    The Russian super-soldier counterpart to Captain America and a father-figure to Natasha and Yelena. Harbour said that Shostakov was “a bit of a fatherly figure” to Romanoff, and that he “has tons of cracks all over him. And he’s not the heroic, noble man that [people] want him to be. He both comically and tragically has a lot of flaws”. Discussions between Harbour and director Cate Shortland for the portrayal of Shostakov centered on Ricky Gervais’ performance in The Office and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s in The Savages, “comedy that comes out of real domestic need”.
  • O.T. Fagbenle as Rick Mason: An ally from Romanoff’s S.H.I.E.L.D. past who is romantically interested in her.
  • William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross: The United States Secretary of State and a former U.S. Army general.
  • Ray Winstone as Dreykov: The head of the Red Room.
  • Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff / Black Widow:
    A seasoned spy trained in the Red Room as a Black Widow and a mother-figure to Natasha and Yelena who is involved in a scientific experiment.

Additionally, Olivier Richters has been cast in an undisclosed role. The character Taskmaster will be featured in the film, who has taken control of the Red Room. The character studies his opponents’ fighting style in order to mimic them and learn how to use it against them. Robert Downey Jr. will appear in his MCU role as Tony Stark / Iron Man.

Black Widow Marvel Pre-production

In February 2019, Ned Benson was hired to rewrite the script, and Feige confirmed the studio was not looking to have the film receive an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, which had been rumored previously. The following month, Florence Pugh entered negotiations to join the cast as a spy who is “morally opposite” to Romanoff. Marvel had been considering Pugh for the role since late 2018 but began looking at other actresses, including Saoirse Ronan, in early 2019. The studio returned to Pugh for the role after she received strong reviews for her performance in the film Fighting with My Family (2019).

In April 2019, Pugh was confirmed to have been cast alongside David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, and O-T Fagbenle. Feige likened the film to the television series Better Call Saul, which is a prequel to the series Breaking Bad, because it was “a wonderful example of a prequel that almost completely stands on its own… [but] it informs you about so many things you didn’t know about before.”

Black Widow Marvel Filming

Principal photography began on May 28, 2019, in Norway. By early June, production moved to Pinewood Studios in London, while Ray Winstone joined the film later that month. The film was officially announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con in July, with a release date of May 1, 2020, revealed alongside roles for some of the new cast members. In August, bodybuilder Olivier Richters announced that he had been cast in the film.

The next month, Deadline Hollywood reported that Robert Downey Jr. would appear in the film in his MCU role as Tony Stark / Iron Man. A wrap party for the film was held at the end of September, before production moved to Macon, Georgia for the week of September 30. Filming locations in Macon, including Terminal Station, were dressed to portray Albany, New York. Set photos in October revealed William Hurt would appear in the film in his MCU role as Thaddeus Ross. Filming also took place in Atlanta, Budapest, and Morocco. Filming officially wrapped on October 6, 2019.

Regarding the film’s action sequences, Shortland said they had to have “peril at its heart” and be “really emotional but also story-driven.” How to Train Your Dragon (2010) was also a source of inspiration for Shortland.

Black Widow Marvel Post-production

In January 2020, a special look trailer credited Eric Pearson as the screenwriter for the film, with Schaeffer and Benson receiving story credit. Additionally, Jeff Sneider of Collider pointed out that the trailer’s credit block did not include a cinematographer for the film. He revealed that earlier reports suggesting that Rob Hardy was hired as cinematographer had been correct, but Hardy had left the production before filming began and instead Gabriel Beristain had served as the cinematographer for the film.

Sneider wondered if contractual obstacles were to blame for Marvel not crediting Beristain so far, but felt he would be credited in marketing materials leading up to the film’s release. In mid-March, Disney removed the film from its release schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April, Disney announced that Black Widow would now be released on November 6, 2020, and the rest of their Phase Four slate of films were shifted back to accommodate this change.

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