After a full year without an entry debuting in theaters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to be returning for its next phase of heroes and villains. To kick off a whole new decade of this cinematic universe, Black Widow will be the first Marvel movie of a new era.
The film had originally been set to release in May of 2020 but the release date was pushed back due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. With theaters closing during this time, the release date shifted to September 2020 and then to May 2021 before finally settling on a release date of July 2021.
Scarlett Johansson will be reprising her role as the titular hero (aka Natasha Romanoff) who was first seen in 2010’s “Iron Man 2” and last seen in “Avengers: Endgame”. Her new film will take place between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War”, finding the trained spy getting back to her roots with her history of family and enemies.
In addition to Johnasson, the cast list boasts the talents of Florence Pugh (“Midsommar”), David Harbour (“Stranger Things”), O-T Fagbenle (“I Could Never Be Your Woman”), William Hurt (“The Incredible Hulk”), Ray Winstone (“Quadrophenia”), and Rachel Weisz (“My Cousin Rachel”).
Here’s the official synopsis from Marvel Studios:
“Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Joining Johansson in the new feature film are Florence Pugh as Yelena, David Harbour as Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz as Melina. “Black Widow”—the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige.”
There’s no word yet on if any of the Avengers or characters from other films will appear in the picture, aside from William Hurt reprising his role as Thaddeus Ross, the United States Secretary of State who clashed constantly in “Avengers: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War”.
For the filming of “Black Widow”, director Cate Shortland took her film to Norway when principal photography started in May of 2019. When photos first started to emerge from the sets, it became a little bit more clear for the shooting in such locations with her red hair linked the character back to “Civil War”. By “Avengers: Infinity War”, she embraced a shorter cut with blond hair.
After having shot some scenes at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom, production eventually came to Budapest, Hungary. The location may have some relation to the relationship of Black Widow and Hawkeye. During the events of the first “Avengers” movie (2012), they mention a previous fight that took place in Budapest.
Their exchange features them exchanging the words of “Just like Budapest all over again” and “You and I remember Budapest very differently.” Hawkeye would later remark to Black Widow “We’re a long way from Budapest.” Little has been revealed of this operation other than it being orchestrated by S.H.I.E.L.D. when the two were still working with the counter-terrorism organization.
Even though Natasha made the tough call of choosing to expose all of S.H.I.E.L.D. ‘s files during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” (2014), the films have yet to reveal much about this event. It’s very possible we’ll get to learn the truth about what went down during that previous encounter considering this film will seemingly be the last chance to dig into Natasha’s history and origins.
Shooting locations around Hungary included The Citadel, the Eastern Railway Station, Széchenyi Street, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In fact, one of the key fight scenes highlighted in the trailers seems to showcase a battle with the central villain of Taskmaster on Alkotmány Street. A chase scene also occurs on Constitution Street, seen in the trailers as well.
Aside from the location holding interest for the Marvel timeline, Budapest has just naturally been a primary shooting location for numerous Hollywood blockbusters. The likes of “Blade Runner 2049” and “Terminator: Dark Fate” have been shot in Hungary, as has the upcoming sci-fi epic Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve.
Other locations chosen for the 87-day production included Morocco, Atlanta, and Macon, which was dressed up to look like Albany, New York. Given how prolific Budapest is to “Black Widow”’s history and how much of the on-location footage appears in the trailers, it’s fair to say that Budapest will play a key role in much of the film rather than just being another random destination for the globe-trotting hero.
“Black Widow” will be hitting theaters worldwide on July 9th, 2021 as well as debuting on Disney+ for those willing to pay for Premiere Access (meaning you’ll have to pay for a subscription fee and an additional fee to watch the film).