Fans were crying out for a Black Widow solo movie for years, with its continual omission from the MCU line-up causing much annoyance. Now, we’re finally getting one, though it comes in the strange situation of the world watching the character dramatically die in Avengers: Endgame just two months ago. As such, it’s all but confirmed that Black Widow will be a prequel.
This fact makes its early inclusion in Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 somewhat confusing. After all, since her first appearance in Iron Man 2 audiences have come to know Natasha’s history and character very well, so what new ground can a prequel really cover? Well, Kevin Feige recently spoke to io9 and was asked just that and proceeded to lay out his thinking about what they want to accomplish:
“There’s a method to the madness. There’s always a method and doing things in an unexpected way is something we find fun. There are ways to do prequels that are less informative or answer questions you didn’t necessarily have, and then there are ways to do prequels where you learn all sorts of things you never knew before.”
Admittedly, Natasha Romanoff’s past career as a black ops assassin does mean that her previous adventures have, by necessity, been cloaked in mystery. In The Avengers, she alluded to her regrets about the “‘red in her ledger,” so presumably we’ll see some of the dark events that lead to her more virtuous employment with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Feige also went on to explain that they’re looking to a surprising influence on how to do a prequel, saying:
“I look at Better Call Saul as a wonderful example of a prequel that almost completely stands on its own apart from Breaking Bad because it informs you about so many things you didn’t know about before. So time will tell which way we’ve gone with a supposed Black Widow movie.”
We should have more concrete information about Black Widow any day now, as it’s currently being shot in Norway and Hungary, and set pictures may confirm that it’s going to be set in the 1990s. Rumor has it the movie will show Nat’s first encounter with Hawkeye (possibly the legendary ‘Budapest’ incident), too, and her joining SHIELD, meaning that if the timelines match up, this could prove to continue the story of the younger Nick Fury seen in the similarly 90s-set Captain Marvel.