Since her first appearance in 2010’sIron Man 2, Black Widow has been a core Avenger with close ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury. Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming solo Marvel movie is expected to expand her mysterious backstory, and a new interview with Samuel L. Jackson may contain a huge clue about when Black Widow takes place.
Last week, redditor u/Mikemontelongo posted an interview conducted by Comics Explained with Spider-Man: Far From Home actors Samuel L Jackson and Jake Gyllenhaal, along with director John Watts, to the Marvel Studios Spoilers subreddit. When asked about who his favorite Avenger was, Jackson said “Natasha” before dropping a significant spoiler that his character Nick Fury doesn’t appear in Black Widow.
“So far I’m not in her origin story movie,” Jackson said. “But she’s the person I was closest to in that group.”
As most of us already know, Black Widow sacrificed her life during the events of Avengers: Endgame, allowing Hawkeye to claim the Soul Stone and return to the present day, therefore enabling Hulk to unsnap half of all living creatures back into existence. Barring any alternate reality hijinks, that means Black Widow has to take place long before Endgame.
Black Widow is filming in Budapest, leading many to believe that the film could cover events that happened before Iron Man (2008) during a mission when Hawkeye encountered Black Widow in Budapest. Hawkeye was sent to kill Black Widow, but he instead wound up recruiting the deadly assassin for S.H.I.E.L.D.
When Black Widow says things like “there’s red in my ledger” and how she “owes a debt” to Clint during the first Avengers, she’s referencing Budapest and everything that came before it.
Budapest was also name-dropped during Endgame when Hawkeye and Black Widow flew to Vormir together. “We’re a long way from Budapest,” Clint says to Natasha as they blast off.
If Black Widow does cover the events of the Budapest mission, then Jeremy Renner will probably have to reprise his role as Hawkeye. Fury could conceivably appear as the one who assigns Hawkeye the mission, but if the film is told entirely from Natasha’s perspective, then that wouldn’t really be necessary.
For Black Widow to already be in production and for Samuel L. Jackson to say he’s not in it pretty much confirms that he won’t even have a cameo. Jackson also called it an “origin story” which means it could take place long before the Budapest mission.
A lot of characters in the MCU have a hard time trusting Nick Fury, and maybe all of us in the real world should be just as suspicious of Samuel L. Jackson.
Black Widow has no confirmed release date, but it’s expected sometime in 2020.