Ever since Scarlett Johansson made her debut as Black Widow in 2010's Iron Man 2 , fans of the character have been clamoring for the SHIELD spy to receive her own solo film. After Natasha Romanoff met her unfortunate end in Avengers: Endgame , these hopes appeared to be dashed.

However, much to the delight of many, Marvel Studios is pushing forward with its first prequel in Black Widow , a Johansson-led film that will take the Russian assassin back to where it all began and introducing some new characters along the way.

Given the Oscar-nominee appears to be done with the Marvel universe, most people had reasonably assumed that Black Widow was a one-off film.

But, if the film's director is to be believed, a sequel may not be out of the realm of possibility but with one caveat...

BLACK WIDOW DIRECTOR TEASES SEQUEL POSSIBILITIES

Black Widow
Marvel Studios

During an interview with Radio Times , Black Widow director Cate Shortland suggested that a sequel isn't out of the question, however, Scarlett Johansson is unlikely to be involved.

When asked about the potential for the spy solo film to continue into a franchise, Shortland revealed it is possible, but it would be “following a different character:”

“I think following a different character, yes,”

The director went on to say that Johansson is “really happy that she’s leaving the party,” since she “decided she wanted to go” and wouldn't be looking to “come back at the moment:”

“I think Scarlett is really happy that she’s leaving the party, you know, and she’s not the last to leave. She decided she wanted to go. And I don’t think she would want to come back at the moment.”

THE FUTURE OF THE BLACK WIDOW

Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff met her tragic demise in Avengers: Endgame , so it isn't surprising to hear that her debut solo film could be the end of her MCU arc. Given that fans have been calling for Black Widow to receive her own solo project for a decade now, it's obvious why Johansson would return one more time after her Avenger's death .

Florence Pugh is set to return as Yelena Belova in the upcoming Hawkeye Disney+ series , meaning Natasha's Russian sister seems by far the most likely character to carry the franchise going forward. Any potential sequel would probably jump forward to explore Pugh's spy assassin in the modern-day, so her streaming return later this year should offer fans a better indication of the future of the Black Widow mantle.

While Black Widow is the end of Johansson's ten years in the MCU, it appears to form the beginning for a whole new set of characters including Yelena, David Harbour's Red Guardian , and the mysterious Taskmaster , assuming the latter two survive their debut.

Whether the film receives a sequel or not will probably come down to the fan and critical response to the blockbuster release . Given COVID-19 is still continuing to affect box office numbers, Disney and Marvel will most likely not use that as a metric of its success.

Johansson's stardom appears to be a driving force behind this solo installment. With the Oscar-nominee absent, Marvel Studios could opt to take Pugh's character to Disney+ to develop the next Black Widow, much like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has done with Sam Wilson's new Captain America.

Black Widow will hit theaters and Disney+ via Premier Access on July 9, 2021.

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