What to Expect From ‘Black Widow’

Finally, one of the best Avengers gets her own movie.
Black Widow: Release Date, Cast, Plot

Welcome to Great Expectations, a recurring series in which we break down the most essential information about an upcoming movie or show. In this edition, we look at what you can expect (and where you can watch) the upcoming Marvel blockbuster, Black Widow.

Attempts to put Black Widow on the big screen date all the way back to 2004 when Lionsgate was developing a solo film several years before Marvel Studios and the MCU came into existence. Almost two decades later, Natasha Romanoff is finally about to get her moment in the spotlight. After years of fighting crime in Marvel films and making superhero allies, Black Widow is ready to see Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) center stage. And this time, she’s returning to her family roots.

Natasha has been a central figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man 2 (2010), and her character has since graced the silver screen in seven different films. But if you’ve been itching to see your favorite Avenger kick some major butt as the protagonist for a change, you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about Black Widow’s imminent release.

Black Widow Release Date (and Where to Watch)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Widow release date was delayed a whopping four times. But fans of the red-headed assassin can rest easy knowing that it is finally slated for a July 9th release. The film will make a simultaneous debut in theaters and on Disney+ with the Premier Access add-on, which costs $29.99.

Black Widow Cast

While Scarlett Johansson will, of course, be reprising her role as Natasha, the majority of Black Widow’s cast is comprised of newcomers to the MCU. The phenomenal Florence Pugh will play Natasha’s sister, Yelena Belova, in her much-awaited superhero debut. Stranger ThingsDavid Harbour will play the girls’ father-figure, Alexei Shostakov, also known as the Red Guardian. And Rachel Weisz their bad-ass scientist mother-figure, Melina Vostokoff. In other words: if you’re looking for a killer cast, you’ve come to the right place.

Black Widow Plot

Black Widow finally offers a much-awaited backstory for Natasha Romanoff. The film opens with a glimpse of her seemingly idyllic childhood. Yes, her parents are hardcore Russian spies. But, in the flashback, they also have disguised themselves as blue-blooded Americans hiding out in Ohio. That doesn’t last long, though. Alexei and Melina’s true identities are discovered, and the girls are whisked away to a super-secret Soviet brainwashing academy where young women are turned into super-soldiers, called the “Red Room.” (Yeah, it’s pretty much as bad as it sounds). The feisty Natasha attempts to demolish the Red Room, but fails. And, for some reason, this doesn’t make the operation’s evil puppet master, Dreykov (Ray Winstone), too happy.

Flash-forward twenty-one years, right after Captain America: Civil War (2016). The Avengers have splintered, and Natasha, a successful assassin, is on the run from her government, (what else is new?). While in hiding, she receives a package from Yelena that contains a potion that turns programmed Russian spies back into their normal selves. Understandably, this potion isn’t too popular with Dreykov. Upon receiving the gift, Natasha ventures to Budapest to reunite with Yelena, and the two reassemble their family and begin their journey toward destroying the brainwashing super-villain once and for all.

Watch the Trailer

Partway through the Black Widow trailer, Natasha says to Yelena: “We have unfinished business.” And that pretty much sums up what makes this new power-duo so darn exciting. From the heart-wrenching flashbacks to the heart-stopping moments of action, (I’m pretty sure that motorcycle got, like, fourteen feet of air), the trailer promises to deliver everything we love about the MCU to us in a glorious one-hundred-and-thirty-four minute bundle. Check out the Black Widow trailer here:

How Scarlett Johansson Made the Movie Happen

Black Widow’s director Cate Shortland, who previously made critically acclaimed films like Lore (2012) and Berlin Syndrome (2017), told Variety that, when approached to direct the film, she initially turned it down. “I told my manager in L.A., ‘There’s no way I can do this movie, and I’m not sure why they’re asking me. It’s crazy, the whole endeavor,’” she explained.

But Johansson had different plans. She explained that “It was very important to me that the person that directed this film had to have made a masterpiece and then some other good movies. One masterpiece, you know? And I really think Lore is so close to – I mean, it’s a perfect film.” Flash forward one Zoom call later, Shortland was convinced. And so when you finally sit down to watch Black Widow, make sure to say a silent “thank you” to miss ScarJo herself.

Aurora Amidon: Aurora Amidon spends her days running the Great Expectations column and trying to convince people that Hostel II is one of the best movies of all time. Read her mostly embarrassing tweets here: @aurora_amidon.