Black Widow (Russian: Чёрная вдова, translit. Chyornaya Vdova) (Natalia Alianovna "Natasha" Romanova, also known as Natasha Romanoff) is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Don Rico, and artist Don Heck, the character first appeared in Tales of Suspense No. 52 (April 1964). Black Widow was first introduced as a Russian spy, an antagonist of the superhero Iron Man. She later defected to the United States, becoming an agent of the fictional spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and a member of the superhero team the Avengers.
In 2004, Lionsgate Entertainment announced that a Black Widow motion picture, featuring the Natasha Romanova version, was in the script stage by screenwriter-director David Hayter; Lionsgate subsequently dropped the project.
Scarlett Johansson portrayed Black Widow in the films Iron Man 2 (2010), Marvel's The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and is set to reprise the role in Captain America: Civil War (2016) as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
In March 2009, Scarlett Johansson signed on to play Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow in multiple films, beginning with 2010's Iron Man 2. In the film, she is an undercover spy for S.H.I.E.L.D. posing as Tony Stark's assistant. Johansson was cast after a scheduling conflict forced Emily Blunt to drop out of the part. On July 16, 2009, Entertainment Weekly released the first publicity images of Johansson as the character. According to Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feige, the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on Black Widow's uniform had to be edited out of teaser material for the film in order to avoid revealing Romanoff's true allegiance, which serves as a plot twist in the film itself.
In September 2010 during a press conference for the Iron Man 2 Blu-ray and DVD release, Feige stated "We've already started discussions with Scarlett about the idea of a solo movie and have begun putting together concepts. But The Avengers comes first." In February 2014, Feige stated that, after exploring Black Widow's past in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he liked the idea of exploring her past further in a solo film, which already has development work done for it.
In October 2014, Feige said that Black Widow would play a primary role in the Avengers film in the MCU's Phase Three, adding, "Her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron is very very big, and further develops and further enhances her character. The plans that we have for her throughout the rest of the Avengers saga is very very big, and lynchpin, in fact, to those films. So instead of taking her out there, or instead of doing a prequel, which we haven’t done yet, continuing the forward momentum and the continuity of the Cinematic Universe. Of which Widow is a key, key part."
Black Widow appears in the Spider-Woman motion comics masquerading as Yelena Belova, voiced by JoEllen Anklam. The Ultimate version of Black Widow appears in the Ultimate Avengers animated direct-to-video movie and its sequel, Ultimate Avengers 2, voiced by Olivia d'Abo. Black Widow appears in the 2013 direct-to-video anime film Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, voiced by Clare Grant. Black Widow teams up with The Punisher in the anime film Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, voiced by Jennifer Carpenter.
The Black Widow is a world class athlete, gymnast, acrobat, aerialist capable of numerous complex maneuvers and feats, expert martial artist (including karate, judo, ninjutsu, aikido, savate, various styles of kung fu, and boxing), marksman, and weapons specialist as well as having extensive espionage training. She is also an accomplished ballerina.
The Black Widow has been enhanced by biotechnology that makes her body resistant to aging and disease and heals at an above human rate; as well as psychological conditioning that suppresses her memory of true events as opposed to implanted ones of the past without the aid of specially designed system suppressant drugs.
The white blood cells in her body are efficient enough to fight off any microbe, foreign body and others from her body, keeping her healthy and immune to most, if not all infections, diseases and disorders. Also, it takes quite a bit for Natasha to become intoxicated. Her agility is greater than that of an Olympic gold medalist. She can coordinate her body with balance, flexibility, and dexterity easily.
Natasha has a gifted intellect. She displays an uncanny affinity for psychological manipulation and can mask her real emotions perfectly. Like Steve Rogers, she possesses the ability to quickly process multiple information streams (such as threat assessment) and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations. Natasha is an expert tactician. She is a very effective strategist, tactician, and field commander. She has led the Avengers and even S.H.I.E.L.D. on one occasion.
The Black Widow uses a variety of equipment invented by Soviet scientists and technicians, with later improvements by S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists and technicians. She usually wears distinctively shaped bracelets which fire the Widow's Bite electro-static energy blasts that can deliver charges up to 30,000 volts, as well as "Widow's Line" grappling hooks, tear gas pellets, and a new element introduced during her ongoing series during the "Kiss or Kill" arc called the "Widow's Kiss"—an aerosol instant knock-out gas she has modified. She wears a belt of metallic discs; some are disc-charges containing plastic explosives, while others have been shown to be compartments for housing other equipment.
Her costume consists of synthetic stretch fabric equipped with micro-suction cups on fingers and feet, enabling her to adhere to walls and ceilings. In the 2006 "Homecoming" mini-series, she was seen using knives, unarmed combat, and various firearms, but she has since begun using her bracelets again. While in disguise as Yelena Bolova, when infiltrating the then Osborn-sanctioned Thunderbolts during "Dark Reign", she used a specialized multi-lens goggle/head-carapace that demonstrated various technical abilities enhancing vision and communication. Later, she has used a modified gun based on her Widow's Bite wrist cartridge, during her adventures alongside the new Captain America.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 2 is a 2010 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the sequel to 2008's Iron Man, and is the third installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Jon Favreau and written by Justin Theroux, the film stars Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson. Set six months after the events of Iron Man, Tony Stark has revealed his identity as Iron Man and is resisting calls by the United States government to hand over the technology while also combating his declining health from the arc reactor in his chest. Meanwhile, rogue Russian scientist Ivan Vanko has developed the same technology and built weapons of his own in order to pursue a vendetta against the Stark family, in the process joining forces with Stark's business rival, Justin Hammer.
An undercover spy for S.H.I.E.L.D. posing as Stark's new assistant. Johansson dyed her hair red before she landed the part, hoping that it would help convince Favreau that she was right for the role. On why she chose the role, Johansson said, "the Black Widow character resonated with me... [She] is a superhero, but she’s also human. She’s small, but she’s strong... She is dark and has faced death so many times that she has a deep perspective on the value of life... It’s hard not to admire her." She stated that she had "a bit of a freak-out moment" when she first saw the cat-suit. When asked about fighting in the costume, Johansson responded "a big part of me is like 'can I move in this? Can I run in it? Can I like throw myself over things with this?' And I think just the prep, you just have to put in the hours. That's what I realized is that just putting in the hours and doing the training and repetition and basically just befriending the stunt team and spending all day, every day, just over and over and over and over until you sell it."
The Avengers (2012)
Marvel's The Avengers (classified under the name Marvel Avengers Assemble in the United Kingdom and Ireland), or simply The Avengers, is a 2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Black Widow to form a team that must stop Thor's brother Loki from subjugating Earth.
A highly trained spy working for S.H.I.E.L.D. About the character and her relationship with Hawkeye, Johansson said, "Our characters have a long history. They've fought together for a long time in a lot of battles in many different countries. We're the two members of this avenging group who are skilled warriors – we have no superpowers. Black Widow is definitely one of the team, though. She's not in the cast simply to be a romantic foil or eye candy. She's there to fight, so I never felt like I was the only girl. We all have our various skills and it feels equal". Regarding her training, Johansson said, "Even though Iron Man 2 was 'one-for-them,' I'd never done anything like that before. I'd never been physically driven in something, or a part of something so big. For The Avengers, I've spent so many months training with our stunt team, and fighting all the other actors, it's crazy. I do nothing but fight—all the time."
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a 2014 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and the 9th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, who had also worked in The First Avenger. It stars Chris Evans as Captain America, leading an ensemble cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon join forces to uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
A highly trained spy working for S.H.I.E.L.D., who partners with Rogers. Screenwriter Christopher Markus said that Black Widow was a "great contrast" to Captain America, describing her as "incredibly modern, not very reverent, and just very straightforward whereas Steve is, you know a man from the 40s. He's not a boy scout, but he is reserved and has a moral center, whereas her moral center moves." The Russos added, "She's a character who lies for a living. That's what she does. He's a character who tells the truth. Give them a problem and they'll have different ways of approaching it. She's pushing him to modernize, and he's pushing her to add a certain level of integrity to her life." When asked about Romanoff's relationship with Rogers, Johansson said, "By a series of unfortunate encounters, they will be in a situation in which their friendship becomes more intimate. They share many similarities because they live on the defensive without relying on anyone. Also, the two have been working for the government throughout their professional careers. With their friendship they begin to question what they want and what is their true identity."
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a 2015 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012's The Avengers and the eleventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers must work together to defeat Ultron, a robotic artificial intelligence bent on human extinction.
An Avenger who formerly worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. as a highly trained spy. Producer Kevin Feige stated that more of the character's backstory is explored in the film. Johansson elaborated, "In Avengers 2 we go back... we definitely learn more about Widow's backstory, and we get to find out how she became the person you see. All of these characters have deep, dark pasts, and I think that the past catches up to some of us a little bit." On where the film picks up Widow's story, Johansson said, "At this stage, when you see the Widow, she's—especially in Avengers, these characters all have a past, and hers is a very complex one, where she's realizing—and it's kind of a continuation of [The Winter Soldier]—'I've never made an active choice. I'm a product of other people's imposition.' That's going to catch up with her. That's bound to have a huge effect. There's got to be a result of that realization... You'll see her actively making some choices in her life, for better or worse." A mixture of close-ups, concealing costumes, stunt doubles and visual effects were used to help hide Johansson's pregnancy during filming.
Avengers: Age of Ultron premiered in Los Angeles on April 13, 2015, and was released on May 1, 2015 in North America, in 3D and IMAX 3D. It received positive reviews and has grossed over $875 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2015 and the thirty-eighth highest-grossing film of all time worldwide. Two sequels, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2, are scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018, and May 3, 2019, respectively.