New information about Marvel Studios' upcoming Black Widow standalone prevents Daredevil (Charlie Cox) from joining super spy-slash-Avenger Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in action — despite their comic book counterparts sharing a storied history.
On Thursday, Marvel tapped Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland to direct Black Widow, described by The Hollywood Reporter as being set sometime before Romanoff helped ward off a 2012 Chitauri invasion of New York in The Avengers.
Setting Black Widow before The Avengers rules out a team-up with Daredevil, who did not become an active costumed crime-fighter until at least two years after the Battle of New York as confirmed by dialogue exchanged in Daredevil season 1.
In Daredevil 1x01, in a meeting with lawyer-by-day Matt Murdock, Union Allied Construction secretary Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) says the company is "overseeing the bulk of the government contracts for the West Side reconstruction," explaining "the last two years have transformed the business."
"Yeah," Matt says, "the world watched half of New York get destroyed." Murdock would soon suit up as a black-clad crime fighter and wouldn't don his fully-formed Daredevil suit until the end of that season — leaving no wiggle room for Daredevil and Black Widow superheroics before 2014.
The seductive Russian spy first encountered the bedeviled superhero in 1971's Daredevil #81, 'And Death Is a Woman Called Widow,' when she pulled a near-dead Daredevil out of New York's Harbor following a helicopter crash.
Daredevil #86 and #87 saw the new lovers relocate together to San Francisco, and the title transformed into Daredevil and the Black Widow starting with issue #92, a title change that would endure until issue #107.
The reformed deadly agent continued to co-star in the book until 1975's #124, 'In the Coils of the Copperhead,' where Widow, feeling like a sidekick, ended the romance and decided to return to operating as a solo superhero act.
Natasha would return to Matt's life in 1982's Daredevil #187, where she was poisoned by the shadowy organization known as the Hand. In the multi-issue story arc, scripted by Frank Miller, Black Widow dies and is later resurrected by a Chaste member known as Stone, the favored pupil of Stick, Daredevil's mentor.
She would later play a role in the Kevin Smith-scripted 1998 Guardian Devil arc, which saw the Catholic crime-fighter entrusted with the care of a baby who was believed to be either the Messiah or the Anti-Christ.
Despite their comic book history as lovers, Black Widow and Daredevil's MCU counterparts may never cross paths: in July, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com he "[hasn't] heard" rumors Daredevil would be appearing in Black Widow, and the film's pre-2012 setting effectively kills hopes of a Widow-Daredevil partnership.
Marvel Studios has yet to announce a release date for Black Widow. Daredevil season 3 is expected to reach Netflix later this year.