Black Widow, the delayed Marvel movie focused on Scarlett Johansson's founding Avenger and all-around super-spy, might not have gotten to shine during the summer, but those behind it are letting more details out as it nears its fall release. Fans already know the standalone's plot revolves around Natasha and her found family of Melina (Rachel Weisz), Red Guardian (David Harbour), and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), but they may not have known how deeply Pugh's character will be involved in the film.
Speaking to Empire, director Cate Shortland explained that her movie isn't just the last stop for the MCU's first heroine, but a beginning for a new cinematic character.
“[Kevin Feige] realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Shortland said. “And we didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be. 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.”
That's not to say that this baton pass is anything other than an action mentorship from a seasoned MCU vet, nor that the storyline will continue on past this standalone film, but this quote is the closest Shortland has gotten to teasing a future for these characters beyond the strict confines of Black Widow.
Johansson is getting a proper goodbye after Black Widow's role in Avengers: Endgame left some fans cold, and part of that is setting up the next generation of super-spy. The other part is, of course, coming to terms with Natasha's death — one that didn't get a big funeral scene like that of the film's other major casualty, Tony Stark.
“In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral,” Shortland said. “She’s too private, and anyway, people don’t really know who she is. So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that’s a fitting ending for her.”
Black Widow hits theaters on Nov. 6.