The only Marvel Studios film that’s currently in production, Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow was saved for almost last at the Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel.
Director Cate Shortland came out to introduce the cast, which includes Johansson, David Harbour (Stranger Things), Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale), and also to announce that Midsommar star Florence Pugh would be playing Natasha Romanoff’s sister figure Yelena — who astute Marvel readers will probably know as “Yelena Belova” aka the second Black Widow who filled in for Natasha in the comics for a while.
Now for a little conjecture, because anyone who saw Avengers: Endgame will realize that Black Widow is… wait, you saw Avengers: Endgame right? If not, then SPOILER!!!!
Anyway, Johansson’s Widow is dead so if they’re going to bring Black Widow back into a future movie, then maybe they’re gearing Florence Pugh to be the new Black Widow. That would certainly make a lot of sense.
Shortland — an amazing Australian filmmaker who directed Somersault, Berlin Syndrome and Lore — said a few words about the production: “I think in this film, we get to understand her past, and she gets to put all the pieces of herself back together and come out a whole person. I think we’re all excited about helping her on that journey.”
Johansson added, “I don’t think I could have played this iteration of Natasha ten years ago. It would have been a very different film, and I get to play Natasha as a fully-realized woman and in all of her many facets. I’m excited for fans to see the flawed side of her or what she perceives to be the flawed side of her. I’m looking to wipe out some of that red in my ledger so… ”
People were screaming so loudly for Harbour that you almost couldn’t hear his response to whether he’s looking forward to expand his fanbase (beyond the five people who liked him in Hellboy? I kid.) “Who writes these questions?!? That is the dumbest question! Am I trying to expand my fanbase on the Marvel Universe? HELL YES!!!”
Although it wasn’t mentioned at the panel who Harbour was playing, a press release from Walt Disney Studios after the panel named his character as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, a relentlessly cruel KGB counterpart to Captain America. The Red Guardian also leads the famed Soviet Super Soldiers, so maybe we’ll see some of them in the future as well.
Pugh mentioned that it was her first Comic-Con and that it was “totally nuts to be here.”
Also his first Comic-Con, Fagbenle is playing a “contact from Black Widow’s past” from before she was working with S.H.I.E.L.D. as seen in Iron Man 2. He said that they have “a professional relationship and kind of a romantic undercurrent.” He quickly added, “Well, at least I’m into her. But it’s the kind of relationship where the lady you’re into is an international killer, makes it tough…”
Johansson put him on the spot by asking the actor about his romantic feelings for her: “My character has romantic feelings.”
Weisz — also attending her first Comic-Con, at least in Hall H — said what attracted her to join an MCU movie: “Well, what is more exciting the mythology of the Marvel Universe. There’s nothing more exciting and escapist and interesting, but also, they really put at the forefront strong, powerful female characters AND Cate Shortland, our director, and working alongside Scarlett and Florence, two incredibly powerful female characters and Melina, my character, is a pretty tough chick. David and O-T, too.. I love them as well as women.”
It was also announced that as expected, Black Widow would be taking that May 1, 2020 slot in the release schedule, so it will be the next MCU film and the first one next year!
They also debuted the logo for the movie, which is straight from the comics — as most things Marvel Studios logos are — and showed some footage of Black Widow and Yelena fighting what looked to be the assassin Taskmaster.