Black Widow: Scarlett Johansson Reveals Alternate Version of the Movie That Just Didn’t Work

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Scarlett Johansson Black Widow Red Guardian Yelena

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Black Widow.

After a long wait, Black Widow has finally arrived on Disney+ and in theaters worldwide. Directed by Cate Shortland, the MCU prequel served as a proper send-off for Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff while also paving the way for new characters to return to the franchise's massive Phase 4 slate. 

One MCU character that is confirmed to return is Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova, as exclusively reported on Pugh's involvement in the Hawkeye series last fall. Many would agree that Black Widow did a good job in establishing Yelena as Romanoff's successor in the MCU, and this was further amplified by Pugh's impressive performance in the film. 

A good chunk of the reactions towards the prequel praised Pugh's portrayal of Yelena, and the anticipation for her return in Hawkeye is high after the positive reception. 

Black Widow was effective in showcasing its family themes since it was anchored by the sisterly dynamic between Johansson's Romanoff and Pugh's Yelena. The two characters spent much time together in the movie, with their chemistry takes the spotlight whenever they are seen on screen. 

Now, it seems that an alternate version of Black Widow would've pitted the two spies in a different narrative that could've changed the outlook of the prequel in its entirety. 


Black Widow Yelena

Scarlett Johansson sat down with MTV to talk about Black Widow, and one of the topics that were discussed is an alternate version of the MCU prequel. 

The Marvel actress revealed that Black Widow “had many iterations,” and one version was described to be very status quo.”

In this alternate take, Johansson bared that “Yelena and Natasha were adversaries," with the former trying to "dethrone" the Avenger: 

"This film had many iterations... There was a version of it that was very status quo. Yelena and Natasha were adversaries and Yelena's trying to dethrone her, like that whatever spy espionage version [that] was. I was like, 'I cannot go back to work for this.'"

Johansson then shared that she developed another version that was “really existential and kind of weird," but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige appeared to have turned the idea down: 

"And then there was another version that I developed that was really existential and kind of weird. Kevin Feige was like, 'I don't think I can come into work for this'... It was weird, I liked it."


The story of Black Widow might not be complicated, but it was the film's family themes that propelled the prequel into greater heights.

Scarlett Johansson's reveal that an alternate version of the film would've pitted Yelena and Romanoff as adversaries suggest that the family dynamic might've been placed in the back burner at some point, but many would agree that it's a wise move for Marvel to focus on the bond between the two characters instead of placing them as foes. 

In a way, the positive reactions from both fans and critics suggest that Marvel Studios crafted a worthwhile story to properly send-off Johansson's MCU hero. 

Moreover, the sister dynamic between Romanoff and Yelena is one of the strongest aspects of Black Widow, and it helped the film to stand out among other MCU entries.

As for Johansson's other "weird" idea for Black Widow, it remains to be seen what this narrative could've been for the film. The fact that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige turned it down could imply that this pitch was an otherworldly pitch for Romanoff's last hurrah, and it could even hint that it would involve the character's return after dying in Avengers: Endgame

Black Widow is now streaming on Disney+ via Premier Access and in theaters worldwide. 

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.