The History (and Beyond) of the Black Widow

Eleven years, eight MCU films, and one pandemic former, Black Widow is finally getting her own movie. The barbarous irony of Black Widow ’ mho arrival, after years of fans asking for a stand-alone film for the MCU ’ s first female superhero, of naturally, is that Natasha Romanoff is already dead. During the time-traveling events of the 2019 blockbuster Avengers : endgame, the former KGB agent and assassin made the ultimate sacrifice sol that the Avengers could retrieve the Soul Stone and reverse the genocidal acts of Thanos. Rather than pick up where Endgame left off, Black Widow is set equitable after 2016 ’ south Captain America : Civil War, with Natasha on the race after the Avengers ’ dissolution. By drawing the Black Widow out from the shadows of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and the rest of the Avengers, her previously unexplored past will last come to light up .
Black Widow continues the swerve that has started in the MCU ’ s nascent Phase 4, as television receiver shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have cast previously unappreciated heroes like Wanda Maximoff and Sam Wilson into the foreground for the first clock. No character or actor has been more deserve of a stand-alone feature than Scarlett Johansson or Black Widow, who, despite being the sole female superhero in 2012 ’ s The Avengers, wasn ’ thymine even the first female go in an MCU film. That honor belonged to Brie Larson ’ s Captain Marvel, whose 2019 introduction somehow marked the milestone 21 films into the studio apartment ’ s unprecedented range. And after being the only female Avenger for so long, Black Widow was perceptibly absent for Endgame ’ s big “ daughter power ” moment that brought together all the superheroines that the MCU had amassed by the goal of its Infinity Saga. ( Which, let ’ s be honest, was probably a acquire for her anyhow. ) even though Marvel is cheating fair a bit by turning back the clocks to an earlier separate of its increasingly ductile Sacred Timeline, it ’ s a better alternate than never giving Black Widow the attention she ’ s constantly deserved .
ahead of the spill of Black Widow on Friday, let ’ s take a closer expression at Natasha Romanoff ’ s by in the movies and the comics, american samoa well as what might be in memory for the Black Widow .

In the MCU

While Black Widow will finally give Natasha Romanoff a dependable origin narrative, her actual beginnings in the MCU serve as a reminder of how far her character has come. Johansson made her big-screen superhero debut in 2010 ’ s Iron Man 2, but her character was initially small more than a male chauvinist pigeonhole. Introduced as Natalie Rushman, Johansson ’ s Black Widow first appeared as a beautiful, cryptic fresh adjunct at Stark Industries. In her identical first setting, Natalie steps into a boxing ring with Tony Stark ’ s personal driver and acquaintance Happy Hogan, who condescendingly offers to give her a moral. “ Who is she ? ” Tony asks his newly appointed CEO, Pepper Potts, as they watch from the sidelines.

“ She is from legal, ” Pepper replies impatiently. “ And she is potentially a very expensive sexual harassment lawsuit if you keep ogling her like that. ” After Tony proceeds to Google her and far ogle a series of photos he ( somehow immediately ) finds of Natalie modeling in underwear, the clandestine S.H.I.E.L.D. agent hurls the unsuspecting Hogan against the box mat. As Tony maintains his gaze on Natalie as she walks out of the room, he turns to Pepper and quips : “ I want one. ”
In a late interview with Time, Marvel Studios executive frailty president of the united states of output Victoria Alonso described how she ’ mho always been bothered by the line. “ I remember thinking, ‘ She ’ s not a thing, ’ ” Alonso said. “ But how by the way : The populace sees a sexy woman and thinks that because she is beautiful, that ’ randomness all she has to give. ”
The scenery set the tone for how Natasha would frequently be treated in the early phases of the MCU, tied after she ’ five hundred been revealed to be one of Nick Fury ’ s top S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. From undressing in the back of happy ’ randomness car late in the film to being reintroduced in a revealing snip while tied to a electric chair in 2012 ’ s The Avengers, the alone female member of the superteam is objectified and sexualized far more than her male counterparts. flush her fib channel in 2015 ’ randomness Avengers : Age of Ultron focuses largely on a budding love affair between her and Mark Ruffalo ’ sulfur Bruce Banner, a strange development that is only awkwardly acknowledged in passing when they ’ re reunited a few movies late in Infinity War. “ She was a character created for the male gaze, ” Black Widow director Cate Shortland told Time when describing her impressions of Natasha ’ s previous MCU appearances. “ Initially, tied the way she moved, the way she dressed—it was helpful as a stepping stone. But it wasn ’ thymine who she was. ”
“ In the beginning she was used as a kind of chess patch for her male counterparts, ” Johansson added .
Despite her often baffling representations, though, Johansson brought her star timbre to the function and helped develop the character act by moment over the years, even without ever having a female screenwriter working behind the scenes on any of her seven film appearances. In Civil War, Natasha is the sole Avenger to switch sides in the dispute, transitioning from fighting for Iron Man and the government to Team Captain America once she realizes it ’ s the right thing to do. By Endgame, Black Widow has ascended to briefly serving as the de facto leader of the remaining Avengers. After Tony basically retires to become a founder and Steve Rogers starts leading group therapy sessions after Thanos ’ s universe-altering elasticity, Natasha is left to pick up the pieces. She ultimately sacrifices herself on Vormir when she trades her life for the Soul Stone, saving Hawkeye and helping secure the probability to bring back half of the universe ’ south vanished population .
possibly all excessively appropriately, Natasha ’ s death and heroism in Infinity War are overshadowed by Tony Stark ’ second. Her sacrifice is for a Stone ; his sacrifice clinches the salvation of the population. And while Iron Man gets a prolong farewell with Peter Parker and Pepper Potts, equally well as a funeral that brings together everyone from Captain Marvel to that random kyd from Iron Man 3, the most memorable reaction we see of the Avengers mourning Natasha comes when Hulk hurls a bench actually far into the distance after Clint Barton delivers the news program of her sacrifice. Clint and Wanda belated discuss the losses of Natasha and Vision at Tony ’ second funeral, but the Black Widow never gets the proper kickoff of a fallen hero .
Along with illuminating much of the mystery that shrouds Natasha ’ s past, Black Widow will hopefully provide a greater smell of closure for Marvel fans after her character ’ second death. “ I felt that Avengers : endgame was then satisfy I wanted to make certain that Black Widow would feel rewarding, not precisely for the fans, but besides for myself, artistically and creatively, after a decade of playing this character, ” Johansson recently told Titan Comics. “ This film gives the opportunity for some sort of healing and understand as to why Natasha decides to make that ultimate sacrifice in Avengers : endgame. ”

In the Comics

much like her MCU debut, Natasha Romanoff ’ s first gear appearance in the comics arrived within the pages of an Iron Man story, as she debuted in 1964 ’ s Tales of Suspense no. 52. And with all due respect to the late caption Stan Lee, her origins are full of the same sexist tendencies that have plagued major comedian book titles for decades .
Beyond the constant failings of the Bechdel trial, the earliest versions of Romanoff ’ s Black Widow placement the russian spy as a enchantress who becomes a damsel in distress evening while playing the villain. hera ’ s a fiddling taste of how Natasha is characterized in her second comic record appearance :

tales of suspense

It wasn ’ thymine until The Amazing Spider-Man no. 86 in 1970 that Black Widow transformed into the character as we know today, in terms of both fighting art and appearance. even placid, Black Widow would inactive much appear in misogynous fib lines. Just take a look at Spider-Man ’ mho incredulity in encountering a charwoman in battle. ( admonisher : This is a guy who received his many superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. )


spider man

( It ’ s the “ preceptor ’ thyroxine think I ’ meter helpless, equitable because I ’ thousand soft and cuddlesome ! ” for me. )
For far context, Spider-Man ’ s first words after seeing Black Widow hanging on the construction beam are : “ A female ! ” Considering these are the words coming from the youthful, kindhearted Peter Parker, then you can probably imagine the type of things that Tony Stark was saying in the years before this .

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The Black Widow character would continue to be reimagined over time, with Natasha joining organizations such as S.H.I.E.L.D. and respective iterations of the Avengers, though she would distillery be subjected to the classify of hypersexualization that comes with being a femme fatale. few characters in Marvel comics have been retconned quite american samoa much as Black Widow, and given the nature of some of her early appearances in especial, possibly that ’ mho for the best. She ’ s had a numeral of conflicting pasts in the comics, muddling her abilities so that they ’ ve ranged from her being powerless to her having an widen life after taking the russian translation of the ace soldier serum. Natasha ’ s late- ’ 90s origins then reframed her as a trainee in the Red Room as separate of Russia ’ s Black Widow course of study, creating what would belated become the template for her character in the MCU. The bolshevik Room is an espionage trail facility that would take orphan girls and transform them into elite deep-cover agents. With the broadcast ’ s roots frequently being set during the Cold War earned run average, Black Widow ’ s solo history lines like the democratic 2005 guide Homecoming frequently bring her into spy thriller territory, which Black Widow is set to take after .
Along with exploring Natasha ’ mho Russian root and animation growing up in the Red Room, Black Widow will besides introduce three characters that she has close ties to in the comics : Alexi Shostakov ( Red Guardian ), Melina Vostokoff ( Iron Maiden ), and Yelena Belova ( who assumed the Black Widow mantle in the comics after Natasha ). While the Red Guardian was originally Natasha ’ sulfur husband, and Melina and Yelena are more much than not positioned as her enemies in the comics, Black Widow repurposes their origins and establishes them as part of Natasha ’ s adopted syndicate. While some parts of her comic book history are credibly better forget disregarded, Natasha still has decades of beginning material for writers Jac Schaeffer ( WandaVision ), Eric Pearson ( Thor : Ragnarok ), and Ned Benson to pull from and reimagine on the large screen.

Black Widow and Beyond

Black Widow aims to correct the failings of Natasha Romanoff ’ south long, complicated history in the movies and comics alike, but besides that of the MCU, as Marvel Studios continues to late course-correct its historical lack of representation. ( As the aforesaid Time part helpfully points out : “ For 10 years, more flannel men named Chris headlined Marvel movies than women and actors of coloring material combined. ” ) Along with Johansson serving as the MCU ’ second third female lead, following Elizabeth Olsen ’ s bend as the Scarlet Witch in WandaVision, Black Widow is quite spectacularly the first MCU film to have a solo female director at the helm. ( Captain Marvel featured Anna Boden as its codirector. )
But even with Black Widow likely being Johansson ’ s expansive finale in the MCU ( barring any Natasha variants returning from an interchange timeline, like Gamora in Endgame ), the film besides introduces her likely successor : Florence Pugh ’ s Yelena Belova. Black Widow serves as an origin report for Natasha Romanoff only in the common sense that it explores her past in greater detail than ever before ; with the film set following the events of Civil War, Black Widow finds Natasha many years after her days in the Red Room, and long after she first joined the Avengers to defend New York against an stranger invasion. Yelena Belova comes into the fold as Natasha ’ s adopted sister and another product of the Red Room ’ mho Black Widow platform, and the film affords enough of space for delving into her origins as well. “ [ Kevin Feige ] realized that the audience would expect an origin floor so, of course, we went in the reverse commission, ” Shortland told IndieWire last year. “ And we didn ’ t know how capital Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn ’ t know how great. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘ Oh, I ’ megabyte handing her the baton. ’ So it ’ s going to propel another female story line. ”
Pugh is already set to reprise her function in the approaching Hawkeye series on Disney+, and it wouldn ’ thyroxine be a lot of a surprise if she keeps returning to the MCU for years to come. As Phase 4 continues to revisit its past while looking ahead to its future, Johansson ’ s Natasha Romanoff will make one concluding push to pave the way for female stars in the MCU, as she has ever since those early days as Natalie Rushman in Iron Man 2. On Friday, the original Black Widow will ultimately get her due—and it ’ mho about time .

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Category : Marvel vs DC

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