Marvel fans are having to be patient for new movies – and one film on the slate of upcoming Marvel movies that has been a longer time coming than most is the first solo film for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.
The character first appeared way back in 2010’s Iron Man 2 and fans have been hoping for her to lead a film ever since.
The good news is that Black Widow has completed filming and is ready for release as soon as restrictions allow, but it has already been significantly delayed as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the film industry.
The latest news suggests that the movie is still on course for a theatrical release in mid-2021, with Marvel apparently not currently considering releasing the film to streaming on Disney+.
In the meantime, though, a lot more information about the film has come to light – and one crucial new development relates to the movie’s mysterious villain, Taskmaster.
New images of the heavily armoured villain have been released in Black Widow: The Official Movie Special Book, but it’s still unknown exactly who is behind the armour – with rumours suggesting it could be Rachel Weisz’s character Melina Vostokoff or O-T Fagbenle’s Rick Mason.
Here’s everything you need to know about Marvel’s Black Widow (featuring spoilers for Avengers: Endgame).
When is Black Widow released in cinemas?
CONFIRMED: Black Widow’s new release date in the US is 7th May 2021, having moved from its second release date of 6th November this year.
Based on previous Marvel Studios release strategies, it is likely that the UK release will be either simultaneous or perhaps even a few days before, but we are yet to hear official word on this.
Though Disney has released the likes of Mulan to its Disney+ platform, Marvel is still currently eyeing a theatrical release for Black Widow and is not currently considering a streaming release, according to Deadline.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on this situation as it develops, so be sure to check back here for the latest updates.
Black Widow was originally set for release on 1st May 2020 in the UK and North America, but unfortunately, had to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Marie Claire, Johansson recently gave her thoughts on the film’s setbacks, suggesting that it’s the right course of action for these difficult times.
“We’re all eager to get the movie out, but more important than anything, everybody wants the experience to feel safe, to have people be able to really feel confident about sitting in an enclosed theatre,” she said.
Who is in the cast of Black Widow?
Although the character sacrificed her life in Avengers: Endgame, Scarlett Johansson is reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff for the Black Widow solo movie – a return made possible by its very specific position in the MCU timeline.
An impressive supporting cast has been assembled to play Natasha’s “family” from back home in her native Russia.
Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) has been cast as Melina Vostokoff, a fellow spy and product of the Black Widow training programme.
Meanwhile, Stranger Things star David Harbour will play Alexei Shostakov, also known as Red Guardian, who was the Soviet Union’s attempt at creating a super soldier like Captain America.
She is another graduate of the KGB spy programme and has a sister-like relationship with Natasha. Some fans are already speculating whether Pugh could inherit the mantle of Black Widow in future Marvel projects…
“[Kevin Feige] realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction and we didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be,” director Cate Shortland said.
“We knew she would be great, but we didn’t know how great. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So it’s going to propel another female storyline.”
Rounding out the supporting cast are O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) as SHIELD agent Rick Mason and Ray Winstone (The Departed) as one of the heads of the Black Widow training programme.
William Hurt will reprise his role as General Ross, whose previous MCU appearances include The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Bodybuilder Olivier Richters, nicknamed The Dutch Giant because of his massive 7ft 2in frame, has also joined the film in an undisclosed role.
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MARVEL ????!!! I can finally tell you guys! For the last 3 weeks, I have been in the UK filming my part for the movie: Black Widow (Marvel Studios) ????. This year in January, for the first time in my life I started to join castings for movies, who would have thought that I got to start with ''The King's Man'', then of to ''Gangs of London (HBO)'' and now Black Widow (Marvel). If someone in 2018 told me my career in the movie industry would start like this, I would have called an ambulance for him ????. It has always been my dream to do something with my size. Can't wait for all the releases in 2020. Food credit: @musclemeatnl ???? Photo credit: @gemmy.woudbinnendijk Ps. photo is not my character in this Film. #thedutchgiant #musclemeatnl #fitness #actor #acting #pinewoodstudios #marvel #marvelstudios #waltdisney #waltdisneypictures
Robert Downey Jr will reportedly appear as Tony Stark, but this is said to be only a short cameo using deleted scenes from Captain America: Civil War.
Interestingly, we’re yet to hear who will be playing Taskmaster (see below), meaning their true identity could be a surprise reveal…
What is Black Widow about?
In typical Marvel style, the plot of Black Widow has been kept tightly under wraps, but we do know that the film is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when Natasha was on the run from the authorities.
In the trailers released so far, Natasha talks about how she’s going to confront her past and that involves a trip to Russia, where she grew up and learned her fighting skills.
Last year, footage shown at San Diego Comic-Con showed Natasha heading to Budapest (the scene of a formative mission in her youth that’s been mentioned in the Avengers films), where she runs into Pugh’s Yelena before engaging in a brutal one-on-one fight.
Johansson recently described Black Widow as a “family drama” in an interview with Total Film.
“I think part of Kevin Feige’s genius is that he always thinks about what fans expect out of these films and then gives them something that they never could’ve dreamed of,” she said. “The idea of Natasha Romanoff in a family drama is the least expected thing, and I had to wrap my head around what that was going to be because there’s such a big tonal shift.”
Natasha will also be donning a new white version of her traditional outfit, which can be seen in the film’s Super Bowl TV spot…
Who is Taskmaster?
Andy Parkart, Director of Visual Development at Marvel Studios, confirmed that Black Widow will see Natasha face the Taskmaster – and no, we don’t mean Greg Davies’ Taskmaster.
Gifted with so-called “photographic reflexes,” Taskmaster only needs to witness something once in order to replicate it perfectly.
For example, if he were to spend a few minutes watching someone fight, he would then be able to expertly mimic their combat style right down to the precise details.
Judging from the recent Black Widow trailers, Taskmaster has been observing a number of MCU favourites, wielding a shield much like Captain America and utilising archery skills similar to those of Hawkeye.
In the comic books, the character wears an intimidating skull mask, but for his first live-action appearance this has been adapted into headgear similar to a biker helmet – effectively keeping his true identity a secret…
In November 2020, some new images of the character were released as part of Black Widow: The Official Movie Special Book, including concept art and several stills.
The images show Taskmaster heavily armoured and carrying a sword and shield, while one shows the villain facing off with Black Widow.
Further hints as to who might be behind the mask and armour are not forthcoming yet though – and it seems like fans will be forced to wait until the film’s release to find out Taskmaster’s true identity.
— La Cosa Cine (@lacosacine) November 9, 2020
Who is directing Black Widow?
The film is being directed by Australian director Cate Shortland, whose previous work has been on smaller indie films such as Berlin Syndrome starring Teresa Palmer (A Discovery of Witches).
Marvel was reportedly “extremely thorough” in its search for the right director, having met with more than 65 people before deciding on Shortland.
Fun fact: More then 65 directors have met for the BLACK WIDOW job. Marvel being extremely thorough on this one
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) May 2, 2018
The screenplay was written by Eric Pearson, who previously served as a co-writer on fellow MCU entry Thor: Ragnarok.
Is there a trailer for Black Widow?
Yes – there are three full-length trailers for Black Widow which you can view below. The first introduces us to Florence Pugh as Yelina Belova, while we some of Black Widow’s life before becoming an Avenger is also explored, with several foes out for revenge.
It’s worth noting that these promotional teasers were made prior to the coronavirus outbreak, so the release date at the end of each one is now incorrect.
In the second trailer, we see Black Widow face-off with Yelina before revealing them to be allies. Natasha then reveals that they have “unfinished business”, and “have to go back to where it all started”.
We also see Natasha and Yelina reunited with other old allies – including characters played by David Harbour and Rachel Weisz.
For those who want a better look at Taskmaster in action, have a gander at this special look teaser…
You can also see the final poster for Black Widow below…
— Black Widow (@theblackwidow) March 9, 2020
Marvel has also unveiled a series of character posters, focusing on the core four characters played by Johansson, Pugh, Weisz and Harbour.
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) February 3, 2020
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