The SDCC Marvel Studios panel was just exciting reveal after reveal, with Kevin Feige and his team laying out the next series of films and Disney+ shows through November 2021. The first film on the schedule is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow film. Director Cate Shortland was in attendance with cast members Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz. They flew overnight straight from filming to attend the panel, reveal the actor’s roles, and show a short but very intriguing teaser clip.
Feige first revealed the roles these actors would be playing: Harbour is Alexi Shostakov. Pugh is Yelena Belova, and it’s very clear from the footage this movie will center on Yelena, Natasha, and their oftentimes contentious relationship. Fagbenle is Mason — no clarity yet which Marvel character that is, but Fagbenle is likely SHIELD agent Rick Mason. Weisz is playing Melina Vostokoff, a.k.a. Iron Maiden, a.k.a. one of Natasha’s most formidable foes.
Following the panel, comic book artist Andy Park revealed some concept art of the MCU’s Black Widow facing off with another villain: the Taskmaster.
“I don’t know if I could have played this iteration of Natasha ten years ago. It would have been a very different film,” said Johansson to Hall H. “And you know, I get to play Natasha as a fully realized woman and in all of her many facets. I’m excited for fans to see the flogged side of her, what she perceives to be the flogged side of her. And I’m looking to wipe out some of the red in my ledger.”
The fight scene was a compelling proof of concept for the film, but the biggest reveal came at the end of the clip, when Natasha is suddenly faced with a hooded figure in a metal get-up. While the shield the figure carries is reminiscent of the one held by Taskmaster, the villain in Black Widow also appears to be a woman. With the full metal suit and the hood, it likely means the shadowy figure is Iron Maiden (or perhaps Melina as Taskmaster, or some blend between the two). Yes, Natasha’s foe in the film is another woman!
First appearing in 1983 in Marvel Fanfare #11, Iron Maiden was one of several mercenaries hired by a character named Damon Dran to eliminate Black Widow. A KGB agent and assassin, Melina was pretty miffed that all her stellar kills were always overshadowed by Natasha’s, so she was more than willing to kill her. Natasha was easily able to deal with the other mercenaries, but struggled to defeat Melina and her impenetrable suit. Natasha only survived their encounter because James Woo and other SHIELD agents came to her rescue.
Considering Fagbenle is likely a SHIELD agent, this is very likely going to show us how Natasha first gets involved with SHIELD. She clearly wants out of the life she led before, and that’s likely why she employs Yelena to help her out. When things go sideways — as they are wont to do for the Avengers — and Melina attacks, that’s when we will likely meet Mason and SHIELD. If we’re lucky, we may even see Nick Fury and Hawkeye as well.
All in all, it looks like Black Widow is shaping up to an intriguing film that is reminiscent of the stellar choreography and spy intrigue-heavy Winter Soldier. And hey, it looks like Cap’s bud Nat now has her very own Winter Soldier to deal with.
Black Widow debuts on May 1, 2020.
The announced Marvel Phase 4 slate includes new films — Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi: The Legend of The Ten Rings, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Blade —as well as new Disney+ streaming series: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, and Hawkeye.
— Dustin Sandoval @ #SDCC (@DustinMSandoval) July 21, 2019
Kevin Feige also revealed they didn’t have time to discuss Blade, Black Panther 2, Guardians 3, Captain Marvel 2, Fantastic Four, or “the mutants.” But are those sequels part of Marvel’s Phase 4, or 5?
For more on Marvel’s Comic-Con announcements, check out our live blog of the panel!
Which movie or Disney+ show are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics