Black Widow: What to Know About the Highly Anticipated Marvel Movie

Did knowing Natasha’s fate affect how Scarlett Johansson played her in Black Widow?

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Jun 18, 2021, 10:40 PM EDT

Marvel fans have largely accepted Natasha Romanoff’s ultimate onscreen fate. In Avengers: Endgame, the Red Room-trained assassin sacrifices her life so the team can get the Soul Stone. That's one way to clear red from a ledger! Scarlett Johansson, the actor behind Natasha, may have taken that tumble down the Vormir cliff, but she’s not quite done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Widow is almost here at long last, and finally fans can see a movie where Natasha is front and center. Not only that, a missing piece of her history will be revealed: What was she up to when she was on the run between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War? Audiences will find out. But given the prequel nature of the new movie, and the fact that Natasha’s demise was known by the filmmakers while making it, did knowledge of her eventual fate affect the way she was played here? 

Johansson answered the question during a recent press conference for Black Widow, and SYFY WIRE was there to catch her answer. 

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When asked if knowing about Natasha’s demise played on Johansson's psyche and affected the way she played her in the solo film, the actor stated very clearly: “Yes, it did.”

“It was important… because for us, we started talking about this film as more of a serious possibility when we were doing, I think Infinity War,” she continued.  “We shot Infinity War and then Endgame kind of back to back, and so we already knew what the 'endgame' was for Natasha.” 

Building up to Natasha’s big choice on Vormir was foremost in everyone’s mind, it turns out. “We wanted to make sure that was a choice she made actively, that it felt like she had resolve then…” Johnasson said, adding, “…and so knowing that, we then had to kind of work backwards so she could get to a place where that was possible. And we knew that in this film, she had to evolve into a place where she was moving forward in her life and had resolved the trauma from her past… that she felt like a different person moving forward.” 

Possibly feeling her answer going a little bit timey-wimey, Johnasson did her best to sum it all up: “If that makes any sense? It was a very weird way of working… I guess that is always the case with a prequel, I’d never done anything like that before.” 

That caused actor David Harbour, who plays Red Guardian in the film and was also attending the press conference, to mime his head exploding.

Johansson continued: “It was interesting to be working on something presently that also played into what you would be doing in the future that was reflective of the past. It was crazy.”

Audiences will be able to see just how crazy it is when Black Widow opens in theaters (and on Disney+ Premiere Access) on July 9.