Marvel Studios brought the house down Saturday Night during their Hall H panel at Comic-Con. Aside from a diverse slate of Phase 4 films and television limited series ranging from “Shang-Chi” to “Hawkeye” and the bombshell that was the announcement of a “Blade” film starring Mahershala Ali, Hall H was privy to a first look at the new “Black Widow” movie set to hit theaters May 1, 2020.
Interestingly enough, it appears that “Black Widow” won’t be set before the events of 2012’s “The Avengers” as previously thought and assumed. Instead, the film is set between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” where Natasha Romanoff and the Captain America ‘Avengers’ team are fugitives on the run from the government.
While principal photography has only just begun, Scarlett Johansson introduced an exclusive Hall H teaser trailer shouting, “I mean we’ve only been shooting for 30 days, but of course, we brought something!” The footage that followed was nothing short of exciting.
The footage begins with a montage of Black Widow’s time with the Avengers set to Natasha’s heartfelt words to Steve Rogers in the first act of “Avengers: Endgame”: “I used to have nothing. Then I got this job. This family. I was better because of it. I’ve made mistakes. I can’t go back.” After the studio credits and the requisite cheers from the crowd, we cut to a shot of an undisclosed European city. A title card similar to those featured in “Captain America: Civil War” fill the screen — Budapest — suggesting the movie will finally fill in the gaps of the Budapest story; something teased since the original “Avengers” in 2012.
The footage follows Natasha as she walks through a dilapidated apartment complex and comes to a door. She draws her gun as a woman’s voice taunts her from inside, “I know you’re out there.”
The Widow doesn’t miss a beat, “I know you know.”
She readies her pistol and violently breaches the door to come face to face with Florence Pugh‘s Yelena Belova, gun drawn. It’s a standoff. Widow slowly slides through the entrance, gun squarely aimed at Belova. Belova inches back. It’s an intricate dance between two professionals, and Belova is prepared to mirror every move Widow makes.
Widow quips: “So do you want to talk like grown-ups?” “Is that what we are?” Belova retorts.
The dance continues into the kitchen until the barrels of their pistols are almost touching. Both women glare at each other; they recognize what will have to comes next. They each make a move to take the other’s gun but become momentarily inter-locked. The moment has come. A brutal, ‘Bourne‘-style brawl breaks out. Each punch, kick, and swipe is precise and expertly countered by the opponent. In a beat reminiscent to one seen in “The Bourne Identity,” Widow grabs a kitchen towel and uses it to rush Belova and throw her into a cabinet above the sink. Widow uses the towel as a garrote and attempts to choke Belova over the sink. Before she can be incapacitated, Belova reaches for a plate and smashes it over Natasha’s head and swiftly knocks her into a door — the sound design amplifying the impact tenfold.
Belova composes herself and reaches for a kitchen knife. Widow reengages her opponent, and the brawl continues with neither gaining the upper hand until the two become entangled in the curtains. Both attempt to use the curtain to choke the other out but it’s a stalemate.
We cut to Natasha walking across the room and preparing drinks: “Good to see you too, sis.”
“You just had to come to Budapest, didn’t you?”
The third and final section of the trailer acts as a sizzle reel for the action set to feature in the film. We montage through a shot of Natasha running atop a mountain range in Norway and a high-speed motorcycle chase through an undisclosed European city — presumably a city other than Budapest, based on the color palette. The sequence ends with a collision on a bridge in the black of night. Widow looks to have escaped the burning wreckage, but she’s still being pursued. She fires off-screen as the shielded assailant drops into the frame. The shield lowers ever so slightly to reveal the hooded mask of Taskmaster (played by a covered Anthony Masters).
A high-impact fight breaks out between the two and, not dissimilar to the fight witnessed earlier; the two are evenly matched. Widow tries her signature takedown (you know, the one where she mounts her opponent and flips them with her legs). The two throw each-other around some more before they end up kneeled on the ground, face to face. We get a cool profile shot of the two, they almost mirror one another, and then…cut to the”Black Widow” title card. The audience explodes, obviously.
Director Cate Shortland talked a bit about what she’ll be exploring in Natasha’s first solo film. “She has so many secrets, and she’s got so much vulnerability, and I think that’s what makes her such a great heroine,” said Shortland. “I think in this film we get to understand her past and she gets to put all the pieces of herself back together and come out as a whole person. And I think we’re all excited about helping her on that journey.”
While that certainly alludes to a very personal deep dive into who Natasha is, the Black Widow herself, Scarlett Johansson, lent some insight into what makes this iteration of the character so different and that fans can expect to see her wipe out some of that red in her ledger. Johansson stated, “I don’t think I could’ve played this iteration of Natasha 10 years ago, it would’ve been a very different film. I get to play Natasha as a fully realized woman and all her many facets. I’m excited for fans to see the flawed side of her, or what she perceives to be the flawed side of her. And I’m looking to wipe out some of that red in my ledger.”
David Harbour will be playing Alexi Alanovich Shostakovi aka Red Guardian and hinted at some possible feelings for a certain Captain America saying, “I have complicated feelings about that man.” One thing’s for certain though, Harbour couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a part of the project exclaiming to the masses while wearing a Captain America shirt, “Am I ready to expand my fan base in the Marvel Universe?! Hell yeah!” To which the “Stranger Things” actor received thunderous applause.
Other Marvel newcomers that took the stage consisted of Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova who will be somewhat of a sister figure to Natasha. O-T Fagbenle is playing Rick Mason aka The Agent who is a contact from Black Widow’s past before her time with S.H.I.E.L.D. and his relationship with Natasha has somewhat of a romantic undercurrent. Rachel Weisz is also making her MCU debut as Melina Vostokoff aka Iron Maiden, and while not much was said regarding her character in the film, Weisz did let us know that she’s “a pretty tough chick.”
The big take away from the “Black Widow” portion of the panel? This film is going to be a thrilling spy action-adventure that feels distinctly unlike anything we’ve seen from the MCU since “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and will kick plenty of ass. Until then, wait patiently until May 1, 2020, or when the first trailers finally arrive. A few more character details can be found in the videos below.
— Andy Park SDCC 4604 (@andyparkart) July 21, 2019