The first trailer for Black Widow has been released by Marvel Studios, and if you’re wondering how Scarlett Johansson’s superspy character can be back on the big screen after the events of Avengers: Endgame, you’re not alone. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
Fortunately, the reason behind her return to the screen doesn’t involve the sort of complicated resurrections or convoluted narratives comic-book stories frequently rely on, so you shouldn’t be confused for long.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware that Black Widow sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame by falling to her death in order to save the universe. No, she isn’t being brought back to life for Black Widow (at least, not that we know of at this point). Instead, the new film will be a blast from the past.
Marvel Studios has indicated that Black Widow is set between the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, making the film a prequel story set before Black Widow enters the fray in Infinity War.
If you need a brush-up on Captain America: Civil War, the film ends with Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow) and many other Marvel heroes going into hiding after assisting Captain America in a mission that put him at odds with both the U.S. government and some of their former teammates. That’s where — or rather, when — Black Widow picks up Natasha’s story, with the film exploring where she spent her self-imposed exile after Civil War.
While it might seem like a short period of time to squeeze her solo adventure into, quite a lot happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe during that time.
Two other MCU movies were set in that period: Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther. Some of the events of Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also occurred during that period, albeit in galaxies far away from Earth. As such, there’s a lot to work with in that portion of the MCU timeline.
When we first see Black Widow in Infinity War, she’s already reunited with Captain America and Falcon, so Black Widow will show us where she went — and possibly what brought her back to her teammates. From what we know of Black Widow so far, that involves a journey back to Russia, where she first endured the harsh training that made her a lethal superspy.
In fact, all the way back in a March 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Johansson hinted that Natasha experienced some life-changing events leading up to her return in Infinity War — an early nod to the studio’s plans for her character in Black Widow.
“It’s been a dark time,” said Johansson of her character’s outlook heading into Infinity War. “I wouldn’t say that my character has been particularly hopeful, but I think she’s hardened even more than she probably was before.”
The events of Black Widow will reportedly bring her back to the Red Room — the mysterious school that trains deadly spies and assassins — and into contact with several former teammates and rivals. During the adventure, she’ll confront some of the demons of her past before finding her way back to Captain America and the Avengers.
Hopefully, that makes it clear why Johansson — and Black Widow — are headed back to the big screen.
Black Widow hits theaters May 1, 2020.
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