Black Widow was originally scheduled for release in April 2020 but the onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced the release date back into the latter half of 2021. Since then we’ve heard scattered tidbits about the film, but early trailers gave away some key facts and clues about where it’ll be set and what to expect when it finally releases.
Here’s everything we know about Black Widow so far and where it fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe viewing order.
This article has been updated since its original publication date.
Black Widow: Australian Release Date
Black Widow will release in Australian cinemas on July 8, 2021.
It will also launch on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9 for everyone who wants to watch the film at home.
Where does Black Widow fit in the MCU timeline?
In the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow is dead. While time travel and magical resurrections are common in the world of Marvel, Black Widow’s sacrifice on Vormir remains canon to the MCU timeline. She hasn’t come back from the dead.
Instead of being a direct continuation of the events seen in Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow will be a prequel taking place before the events of Avengers: Infinity War and after the events of Civil War.
The film will see Natasha grappling with her past for the first time and tell audiences more about her origin story, which has only been hinted at in early films like Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It could feature several MCU heavy-hitters
According to popular rumour, both Robert Downey Jr. and William Hurt are set to reprise their MCU roles as Tony Stark and General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. These scenes would likely tie directly into Civil War and the impact of the Sokovia accords, but neither appearance is officially confirmed.
So, what’s the story?
After the conclusion of Avengers: Civil War, Natasha Romanoff ventures into exile.
The Sokovia Accords signed in the movie limit the movements and powers of “enhanced” individuals, essentially splitting The Avengers down the middle and causing a rift between two opposing sides (Team Cap and Team Iron Man). At the ending of the film, Black Widow is nowhere to be seen.
While Natasha appears again in Avengers: Infinity War, very little is know about her life in the years between these films.
Black Widow will explore these years as Natasha confronts her past as a Soviet spy in Russia. Early trailers showed off the colourful cast of characters joining Natasha in her latest adventure, including her ‘sister’ and fellow Black Widow, Yelena Belova (played by Midsommar‘s Florence Pugh).
Rachel Weisz is also joining the cast as another Black Widow, Melina Vostokoff, while David Harbour plays the role of Red Guardian.
This team will work together to take down a mystery organisation (likely the KGB or the MCU equivalent) that trained each Black Widow and indoctrinated them into a life of subterfuge.
Who are the major players?
Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, is finally getting her chance in the spotlight — but she won’t be alone. She’ll be joined by fellow Black Widows Melina Vostokoff and Yelena Belova as well as washed up superhero, Red Guardian.
Yelena Belova was Marvel’s second ever Black Widow and was originally sent to kill her predecessor. Eventually, she and Natasha became allies, but their relationship remained strained. In Black Widow, Yelena and Natasha will have a shared history from their time in the secretive Red Room.
Their relationship appears to be closer than in the comics, with Natasha referring to Yelena as her ‘sister’. Both will share the Black Widow codename and it’s likely Florence Pugh will break out of this film to become the MCU’s new Black Widow going forward.
Another Black Widow, Melina Vostokoff, will be played by Rachel Weisz. A villain of the same name appears in Marvel Comics, but is known as Iron Maiden. Described as a rival to Black Widow, Melina was also tasked with killing Natasha Romanoff in her first appearance but unlike Yelena Belova, she never reformed. In the film, she’s described as a ‘mother figure’ and appears to be on the side of good.
Joining the three Black Widows will be David Harbour’s Red Guardian. In his prime, Alexei Shostakov was basically Russia’s answer to Captain America, a super-powered defender of the country. When Black Widow takes place, Alexei is older and more weary, but still wears his fighting spirit on his sleeve.
During the course of the movie, Natasha will face off against Tony Masters, aka Taskmaster, a villain with photographic reflexes and copycat abilities. Nothing much is known about Taskmaster or the role he’ll play in the film.
In the comics, he’s a perpetual villain who often uses his copycat abilities to mimic the high-powered offence of heroes like Captain America, Black Panther and Spider-Man. The costuming team has nailed his costume rather well and he strongly resembles his comic counterpart.
His impact on the overall story is a mystery, but with multiple toys released for the character it’s likely he’ll play a major role.
It’s getting 30 minutes of IMAX footage
Black Widow will have 30 minutes of 1.90:1 expanded footage, likely for an expansive set piece or major action sequence.
While the appearance of IMAX footage is fairly common in blockbuster action flicks, it’s important to note this means the film is designed for cinemas.
It also means the home release on Disney+ Premier Access won’t be the best showcase for these scenes.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo Australia for all the latest entertainment and tech news.