Black Widow Had Some Surprising Influences

New looks at Marvel's film plus director Cate Shorthand explains what she watched before putting the heroic assassin on-screen

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh are Widows on the run in Black Widow.
Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) are on the run.
Image: Marvel Studios

It’s sort of wild to think about, but after an extremely long and winding road, Black Widow is finally coming out in less than a month. This will be more than two years after the last Marvel movie, Avengers: Endgame, hit theaters, meaning people are going to flock to the film—but they might be surprised by what they see.

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In an interview with Fandango, director Cate Shortland discussed the movies she watched before filming Black Widow, and it sounds like watching Marvel’s “Infinity Saga” was only part of the preparation: “First, we looked at things like No Country for Old Men. And then we looked at things like Thelma and Louise. And the Marvel film—people that have seen it have said it reminds them of it—[is] Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” But that’s not all. While Shortland didn’t get into more specific films, there were other inspirations: “I looked at a lot of combat films and a lot of stuff where we were looking at armies and militia. And then, I put females in those roles.”

The combat films make sense, but “armies and militia” is very curious. We know that Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) isn’t the only Black Widow, but is one of many assassins churned out by the Widow program. But I wouldn’t think they’d be considered an army, per se...unless the Widow program was borne out of an army of female soldiers sometime in the past? That could be pretty cool. Also cool: This Black Widow clip that Fandango also debuted.

As you can see two Widows are chasing our Black Widow and her partner Yelena (Florence Pugh). The action is frenetic to say the least—and, according to Shortland, this scene alone took over three weeks to shoot. Additionally, a small (very small) featurette dropped that showcases some more of the movie’s action scenes, which look just as compelling:

And here’s another tiny for you, featuring a very good look at film’s villain, the Taskmaster, to round everything out:

All three videos have dropped within the last few days. Hey, Marvel? We’re quite aware Black Widow is coming out next month and we’re quite excited about it. You can chill out a little.

In addition to Johansson and Pugh, Black Widow stars David Harbour as Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz as Melina, and even have an appearance by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, reportedly. It premieres on Disney+ July 9.


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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

DISCUSSION

allyoureggs55
Mini Moose

I wonder what the explanation for why we’ve never seen or heard of any of these other Black Widows before now. I know Natasha has alluded to it in AoU, but that was in a private conversation. If this is set right after Civil War that means Natasha has been a public figure for like 5ish years since the SHIELD files went public in Cap 2.

Like I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since the reasoning why we’ve never seen Bucky before then was because of HYDRA. Plus him only being out every 10ish years to do a mission, and thats still a flimsy excuse. But a army of Black Widows when one of them is a famous Avenger thats saved the world and openingly been involved in international missions feels like its stretching it a bit.

Same with Eternals too but thats a whole other can of worms. But whatevers\, comic book movies are gonna comic book movie. I’m still going to torrent watch this when it comes out.