Marvel’s Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson’s swan song as multi-skilled spy Natasha Romanoff. The film, which was delayed by over a year after the pandemic changed theatrical release schedules as we once knew them, is a prequel that takes place in the MCU timeline between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War so that we can spend one last mission with Natasha before she sacrifices her life in Avengers: Endgame.
In Black Widow, we catch up with Natasha on the run from the US government and reliant on a host of Russian connections from her past – spies and assassins she can only trust in varying degrees – to finally complete a mission she started a long time ago. The stakes are high but the peril is low because we know that Natasha makes it through the events of the film alive and in one piece, but it’s still a hugely effective action blockbuster that feels a bit more brutal than most MCU efforts. But where does all of this leave a potential Black Widow 2?
Johansson is very happy with how the movie turned out, but much like Robert Downey Jr. before her, she’s done playing her Marvel character.
“Honestly, I feel like it’s always, it feels great to leave a party when it’s still raging and I think that this film feels very much like it’s alive and fresh and powerful and I feel really pleased with it,” she confirmed with Comicbook. “I feel really happy with the work that we’ve done for this decade of time and, you know, it’s bittersweet to say, ‘Goodbye,’ but if you love something, you need to set it free!”
She echoed this sentiment in other interviews, as well.
“I’m going to miss not seeing [the Marvel family] every 18 months or two years, like those kind of milestones I always really look forward to,” the actress mused during an appearance on Good Morning America. “But I feel really proud of this film and I think it’s great to go out on a high note. This movie is so different from any other Marvel film we’ve done so far, so yeah… like I said, it’s bittersweet.”
But despite Johansson’s intention to leave the Marvel playground, we may not have seen the last of Black Widow. The character’s MCU prequel film introduces someone familiar to fans of Marvel Comics: Yelena Belova, who also adopted the codename Black Widow in myriad stories.
Midsommar’s Florence Pugh plays Yelena in Black Widow, and the character is set to re-emerge post-Avengers: Endgame in Marvel’s Disney+ Clint Barton spinoff series, Hawkeye. So, is there a chance that a Black Widow sequel film could happen despite Johansson’s MCU exit?
“I think following a different character, yes,” Black Widow director Cate Shortland told Radio Times. “I think Scarlett is really happy that she’s leaving the party, you know, and she’s not the last to leave. She decided she wanted to go. And I don’t think she would want to come back at the moment.”
Shortland has also confirmed that she would be up for returning to helm a Black Widow sequel for Marvel: “I mean, all the beautiful fights and the spectacle, and I think just creating something really fun and joyous is pretty addictive. So yeah, I would do it again. Yes. I feel really happy about it. Usually I feel dread when I have something coming out, but this time, I feel really happy. I think because it was such a group effort.”
We may have seen the last of Natasha Romanoff, but Black Widow’s future is still unknown.
Marvel’s Hawkeye is currently eyeing a late-2021 Disney+ release date. Black Widow is in theatres now and available to stream via Disney+ Premier Access.