'Black Widow' Could Redefine Natasha's "Black Widow" Mantle in Phase 4

Black Widows. Black Widows will be everywhere in Marvel's Cinematic Universe.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to have a spider infestation, and it ain’t because of Spider-Man. Black Widow, the first movie coming from Marvel Studios in its new “Phase Four” era, will potentially introduce “quite a number” of Black Widow spies, which will make us rethink Natasha Romanoff’s famed title of “Black Widow.”

In an interview with IGN from San Diego Comic-Con, Rachel Weisz, who will play the villain “Iron Maiden” in Black Widow, says her character has been “cycled through the Red Room’s Black Widow program five times.”

Weisz added, “There are quite a number. I’m a Black Widow, Scarlet and Florence, and there are quite a lot of characters you meet who are also Black Widows.” When pressed for whether or not Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha is aware of the Black Widows, Weisz said, hedging: “I believe she does know.”

Clearly there are more questions than answers when it comes to Black Widow, which is fitting for a Russian super spy. But what Weisz hints at is a grand redefinition of the name “Black Widow.”

Long associated with Natasha Romanoff, the name “Black Widow” could evolve into a title others can take up, like “Jedi” or “Vampire Slayer.” And this may have always been the case, it’s just that Natasha was so good at her job the name became hers.

Or was she? Not unlike James Bond’s 007, one has to wonder if Natasha is actually good at her job — she can clear a room full of bad dudes in .0003 seconds — or if she’s terrible, because no spy should be “world famous” (as Polish film legend Jerzy Skolimowski referred to her in 2012’s The Avengers).

Black Widow Avengers Endgame
Scarlett Johansson as "Black Widow" in the poster for 'Avengers: Endgame.'

Either way, Marvel’s long-awaited Black Widow movie is giving Marvel fans what they’ve wanted for years: an actual Black Widow movie. And as the plural “Black Widows” hint, fans may be looking at the new Black Widow in Florence Pugh (Fighting With My Family, Midsommar), who is playing Yelena Belova, one of Natasha’s successors in the comics.

While plot details surrounding the film are still unknown, it is rumored to take place sometime before The Avengers, functioning as an in-between prequel. Because, as fans know, Natasha met her demise in Avengers: Endgame in a sacrifice for the powerful Soul Stone on the planet Vormir. Depending on how the film plays out, Yelena may step up to claim Natasha’s place with the Avengers. Luckily, she’ll already be her own Black Widow.


Black Widow hits theaters on May 1, 2020.

Media via Marvel Entertainment, Inverse