After making her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff quickly established herself as both a firm fan favorite and an integral part of the franchise’s shared mythology. One of the most important recurring characters that doesn’t actually have any superpowers, Nat was nonetheless a key member of the Avengers and the wider MCU during her seven appearances, eight if you include her post-credits cameo in Captain Marvel.
Fans had been clamoring for a Black Widow solo movie for years, but the project wasn’t given the green light until Natasha had been killed off in the main timeline during Avengers: Endgame, despite the project having been discussed on and off behind the scenes for a decade. Cate Shortland’s prequel is now quickly approaching, though, and will be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and double as both a fond farewell to the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and a long-awaited deep dive into her backstory.
And though it’s taken its sweet time in getting here, in a recent interview, Johansson admitted that she was happy to have waited so long for the chance to headline her own comic book blockbuster, because if Black Widow had been made years earlier, it would have focused on an entirely different Natasha.
“If we had made a Black Widow standalone back then, it would be such a different film to this one. Natasha’s sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame gave me a totally different perspective on who she is. Before, I don’t think I would have been able to show people who Natasha really is, what drives her, and show her emotional core. I don’t think we’d be able to cut that deep back then. It would have probably been much more of a straight-up spy thriller that maybe would have been a lot flashier in a different kind of way and just scratch the surface of what we do in this movie.”
Nat’s backstory has been hinted at before in several previous MCU movies without ever really being fully explored in any great depth, and we’ve also never seen what makes her tick. That’ll all change when Black Widow finally hits theaters in May of next year, though, and having waited a decade to see it brought to life, fans will surely be able to sit patiently for another six months before they can say goodbye to one of the most popular figures on the studio’s roster.