Black Widow: Predictions for Hawkeye, Budapest, and Taskmaster

Black Widow was finally announced during the Marvel Studios panel in Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con. Not only did director Cate Shortland and the cast of Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and O-T Fagbenle take the stage but they also brought some footage with them. During Marvel's closing presentation for a star-studded Hall H show, the Black Widow movie finally answered some major questions while also setting up some new ones.

First of all, it is confirmed that this movie takes place "before" the events of Avengers: Endgame according to Malena actress Weisz's interview with ComicBook.com. This means that the famous line of "Just like Budapest" from 2012's The Avengers might finally be explained, seeing as the footage revealed in Hall H mostly took place in Budapest.

So, what happened in Budapest? Well, Johansson's Black Widow was seemingly hunted by Pugh's Yelena Belova, a story consistent with that of the Black Widow Max comic. After a destructive bout in a kitchen and living room (using everything from knives to curtains as weapons) which appeared to be Natasha's home, the two shared a drink and referred to each other as "sis." Ultimately, it seems there is a bigger plan in place to get Natasha Romanoff while she's vulnerable.

In The Avengers, a fight on the streets against a massive army was what reminded Natasha of Budapest. Johansson tells Comicbook.com that it's "possible" we see Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye in the movie, therefore explaining their shared experience which Hawkeye claims the two characters remember "very differently."

Of course, Hawkeye is getting a Disney+ series starring Renner (also announced in Hall H), in which he'll train Kate Bishop to ultimately take his Hawkeye mantle. The series isn't slated to arrive until late in 2021, so Renner might have time for work in both titles.

We will also be seeing David Harbour as Alexei, taking on the hero persona of Red Guardian -- a little known character from Marvel Comics. "I mean that's the great thing about him is not a lot of people know about him," Harbour said. "I think that's one of the really fun things about this character is there's an openness to our interpretation. I mean, the one thing that we do know is that he is the counterpart to Captain America on the Russian Soviet side, but in that way, we have a lot of play with who he is." Harbour promises multiple twists for the character, which many suspect could lead to the actor fulfilling the villain role of Taskmaster but that's less likely than another unexpected switch between characters.

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(Photo: Andy Park / Marvel Studios)

In footage seen in Hall H, Black Widow comes face to face with Taskmaster on a bridge and the two have an intense fight sequence. Ultimately, they are a perfect match for each other, mimicking each other's moves and no winner coming out of the bout which came to a bit of a stalemate before cutting. It seems more likely that Weisz's Malina will take on a Taskmaster persona after living in the shadow of Black Widow rather than going on to fulfill her Iron Maiden destiny from Marvel Comics books.

"I've been cycled through the red room, the Black Widow training five times since I was a child," Weisz said. "Not famous in the way that Black Widow is." This means that her character and Johansson's have a "complex" relationship.

The Hall H footage was quite impressive -- and polished quite well which means it could be released online at any moment (though Marvel Studios has proved to be patient time and time again). It was choreographed and shot in the vein of Jason Bourne or Mission: Impossible movie with sound design and moments reminiscent of sequences from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Black Widow seems to be on her way to a truly exciting spy thriller loaded with a few twists and potentially major discoveries from the pas of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also offering up a new character to carry the Black Widow mantle into the franchise's future.

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Is this the end for Johansson as Black Widow in the MCU? Well, Johansson won't say just yet. Check out the video above for ComicBook.com's full interview with the actress.

Ultimately, all will be revealed when Black Widow hits theaters in May of 2020, kicking off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What are you hoping to see? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter.