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Breaking Down the BLACK WIDOW Trailer, Shot by Shot
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The holiday season is officially here, and Marvel has given us an early gift in the form of black stealth suits and Russian spies: the first official trailer for next year’s Black Widow movie, which debuted early (very early) this morning. Marking the inaugural solo outing for Scarlett Johansson’s super spy, the film is also the first movie to kick off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Black Widow trailer since initial footage was teased at San Diego Comic-Con and D23. Now we finally have our first glimpse at Natasha Romanoff’s female-fronted adventure—and like Black Widow on a mission, Nerdist is here to break down every moment.

“I used to have nothing. Then I got this job—this family—but nothing lasts forever.”

A shot of the city of Budapest, Hungary. Marvel Studios

Our first shot is actually an overhead of Budapest—home to a history of secrets between Black Widow and her best friend Hawkeye—and it’s accompanied with a voiceover from Natasha, the same emotional voiceover from her five year time jump in Endgame. The dialogue, combined with glimpses of Natasha’s life from previous films (the Red Room in Age of Ultron, Avengers, Fury, Clint Barton) sets the stage immediately and confirms the facts: this is Natasha’s movie, and this is her story.

Black Widow looks in a mirror nervously.Marvel Studios

Our first shot of Natasha Romanoff in this trailer sets up her story as well. We know that given the timeline of events, she’s on the run following the events of Civil War. Whether she’s being pursued or just hiding out in secret isn’t quite clear, but from that haunted look in her eyes, we can tell she’s unsettled and unsure. It’s a stark cry from where we left off with her in Civil War, where she was seen as a confident decision maker, which makes us even more interested in how this movie is going to unravel her past.

Black Widow rides a public train nervously. Marvel Studios

“Heard you had to leave in a hurry,” an unidentified voice tells Natasha, who we next see walking through a train stain in Budapest.

“It’s never easy these days,” she replies—business as usual for the Black Widow, who likes to keep things close to the vest and who seems ready to be back in action, even if it’s just in casual civvies.

A caravan of cars on a country road. Marvel Studios

A young Thaddeus Thunderbolt Ross stands in front of a black SUV. Marvel Studios

Looks like William Hurt is back as General Thunderbolt Ross, which makes sense considering the movie’s timeline and the fact that he’s the one who would be leading the hunt for Natasha after what happened with the Sokovia Accords. But in this shot, he appears de-aged, which doesn’t quite fit with the current timeline and makes us wonder if the movie is going to confirm Ross’ involvement in Natasha’s past in some way, whether that’s in connection to the Avengers or the Red Room.

Black Widow looks through a series of ID cards. Marvel Studios

“I’ve lived a lot of lives. But I’m done running from my past.”

We already know Natasha is on the run or at least off the grid after the events of Civil War, so it’s no surprise she’s probably undercover somewhere. Here we see her going through her various aliases before we see her again in Budapest, where she’s tracking down her long-lost sister and former Red Room companion Yelena Belova.

Black Widow rounds the corner of an apartment setup with a gun.Marvel Studios

Florence Pugh points a gun straight at the camera. Marvel Studios

And here’s our first shot of Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, marking the official introduction of the character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I know you’re out there,” Yelena says as Natasha enters where Yelena has apparently been hiding out. “I know you know I’m out here,” Natasha replies. “So are we going to talk like grown-ups?”

Black Widow and Yelena point guns at each other.Marvel Studios

Clearly, not. The scene that follows is a brutal but calculated fight, similar to the footage what audiences saw this summer at San Diego Comic-Con. Natasha and Yelena are going at it, showing off their similar fighting styles and techniques, and it’s a fight that makes it clear these are two of the best assassins the Red Room has ever put together. It’s deliciously fun and exciting to watch.

Black Widow and Yelena chat in an apartment kitchen. Marvel Studios

A motorcycle chase down a Hungarian alleyway. Marvel Studios

“What brings you home?” Yelena asks as she pours Natasha a drink. According to Natasha, “unfinished business.” We’re not quite sure yet what that unfinished business is, but we know it involves her past—and we know Yelena is involved, because the next scene is the sisters riding away on a motorcycle.

Black Widow stares off in the distance as smoke billows behind her.Marvel Studios

The next shot shows Natasha with what looks like a downed helicopter behind her, signaling her mission is well underway. This is also our first real look at the newest Black Widow suit, featuring black and grey coloring with a new backpack! And it looks epic.

A dark, mysterious control room.Marvel Studios

“We have to go back to where it all started.”

Is this the Red Room? Or some iteration like it? It sure looks like it, especially seeing it while hearing that voiceover.

Black Widow demonstrates her fighting skills on a bridge.Marvel Studios

Here’s our first look at Natasha’s other new suit—the comic-inspired white suit! We’re still not sure if the movie is going to lift any specific plot lines from the comics, but finally, after so many movies, Black Widow’s got some weather appropriate and mission-appropriate clothes!

A helicopter soars over a mountainous winter setting. Marvel Studios

We’re not sure where Natasha’s infiltrating, or why…but perhaps it’s the Red Room as it stands now?

A grou pof secret agents wield guns in a dark room. Marvel Studios

Speaking of the Red Room, the next shot is of other Black Widows, all training together. We’ll assume this is a current version of the Red Room, because it looks more modern and definitely not like what we saw in Age of Ultron. Either way, it looks like we’re finally going to get a good history of the Widow program in the MCU.

A helmeted character wields a bow and arrow. Marvel Studios

Here’s our first shot of Taskmaster, wielding a bow and arrow (remember, he has the ability to pick up the fighting skills of anyone he sees, which makes him a pretty formidable threat). Since this is Natasha’s story, does this imply that he’s had a connection with Hawkeye along the way? A good portion of the film does seem to take place in Budapest, after all…

And here are our first shots of Rachel Weisz’s Melina Vostokoff (wearing a stealth suit similar to Natasha’s) and David Harbour’s Red Guardian.

Rachel Weisz in front of a glowing doorway. Marvel Studios

A bearded David Harbour surrounded by scaffolding. Marvel Studios

These shots seem to imply that Red Guardian hasn’t just been off the grid and out of costume: he’s been somewhere else entirely, most likely imprisoned, and out of commission until now. And the snow covered background seems like it just might be the place that Natasha was infiltrating with her white suit. Maybe she needs him to help her on this mission, since it’s all about her past?

David Harbour dons a red helmet. Marvel Studios

Good news, though—his helmet still fits!

Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz sit side by side.Marvel Studios

We’re not exactly sure how Melina’s story fits into Natasha’s at the moment, but we do know she’s a former Widow who has gone through Red Room training more than once. In the comics she becomes Iron Maiden, who develops a deep dislike for Natasha thanks to the fact that she feels in competition with the titular Widow. (A trend for Natasha’s past, as we know.) Clearly, Natasha and Yelena have a connection with her that’s more than just being familiar with her from their past.

Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour sit down at a dinner table together.Marvel Studios

“Family. Back together again.”

This is another shot that first appeared in the initial footage this summer. Yelena is wearing a white suit similar to Natasha’s, which makes sense considering their team-up…and is that vest she’s wearing over her suit the same green vest that Natasha later sports in Infinity War? It sure looks like it, but how did Natasha end up wearing it?

Two costumed agents fight in an office setting.Marvel Studios

Wherever Red Guardian has been, he’s not going to be out of the game for long. The next shot shows him fighting Taskmaster in what looks like a facility of some kind. Maybe a research lab, or another iteration of the Red Room, just one that’s more modern than what we’ve previously seen?

Black Widow falls from an exploding building. Marvel Studios

The Taskmaster falls from an exploding building. Marvel Studios

As debris falls, Natasha jumps from a helicopter…but is followed by a bunch of armed soldiers, who attempt to shoot at her. This might be the same shot that leads to the downed helicopter we saw before (she’s wearing her black suit, and we know Marvel loves to show out of sequence trailer shots) but who exactly is coming after her? Ross’ guards? Someone from the Red Room? Another antagonist we haven’t been introduced to yet? (Ray Winstone was cast in the movie but we still don’t have any idea what his involvement is, as he wasn’t even shown when the cast debuted this summer.)

A costumed character marches down a glowing red hallway.Marvel Studios

And that fade out logo! Definite chills. Reports have teased this movie to be less of a superhero origin story and more of an espionage thriller, and that’s definitely a vibe that we get throughout this whole trailer, as well as in this last shot. It’s also a vibe that very much fits Natasha’s history and the story we’re going to be getting.

As this is only the first trailer, expect to see and learn much more in the next five months when it comes to how the movie plans to shape up. But right now, it’s looking like this is the film that Black Widow fans have been waiting for and deserve.

Featured Image: Marvel Studios