Marvel fans are having a pretty interesting day, with the announcement that Cate Shortland will be directing a Black Widow standalone movie.
The film, which will reportedly be set before the events of the first Avengers, will see Scarlett Johansson reprise her role as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. For some, this opens a pretty interesting can of worms, considering the little that we already know about Natasha's origin story.
The closest we've gotten to Natasha's backstory was a controversial sequence in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which took viewers (and a hallucinating Natasha) through her childhood in the "Red Room". As the film argued, Natasha's journey to become a spy and assassin clearly had a traumatic effect on her, most notably the fact that she was sterilized and unable to have children.
In the time following Age of Ultron's release, some fans responded negatively to that storyline, especially in contrast to how it played out in the comics. In the world of Marvel Comics, Natasha essentially had two origins, the earliest of which was tied to a middle-aged man named Ivan Petrovich. Ivan was established as Natasha's surrogate father, raising her as an orphan and training her to be a Soviet spy.
This origin was later retconned in the early 2000s, establishing that Natasha was taken by Ivan into the Black Widow Ops program. While there, Natasha was brainwashed, biotechnologically enhanced, and trained in the "Red Room", and briefly trained under Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. Later in life, Natasha learns that she and the other Black Widows were implanted with false memories, something that ultimately motivates her to deflect and join SHIELD.
Sure, Age of Ultron went into that general origin to a small extent. But it certainly stands to reason that Black Widow could expand on these plot points, while skirting around or even retconning the more controversial segments in the process.
At the moment, there's no telling exactly what version of Black Widow's origin story we could see onscreen, or if the film will focus on Natasha at a later (but still pre-Avengers) point in life. As fans have already begun to theorize, there could be quite a bit of potential there, possibly bringing in characters like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).2comments
How do you hope Black Widow's origins play out in her solo film? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp are now playing in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.