Marvel Director Teases Darker Characters In MCU's Phase 4

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Moon Knight, Black Widow, Ironheart

For the first time in nearly two years, the Marvel fandom is truly coming together to celebrate the upcoming release of a new MCU film. This is coming to a peak with the release of tickets for Marvel Studios' Black Widow, the first full-length film of Phase 4 and the 24th theatrical movie release overall.

Now that the movie is only a few weeks away from its arrival, promotional material and interviews are coming to the public in rapid-fire fashion to build hype for Scarlett Johansson's long-awaited first solo movie.

Black Widow is set to take a trip back to Natasha Romanoff's Russian roots while serving as a semi-prequel set after Captain America: Civil War. With that past comes an expected dark story for the movie's leading heroine as she finds herself fighting alongside her first family in a movie that's been said to give off similar feelings to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

This dark vibe could very well be the case going forward into other Phase 4 outings as well.


Anthony Mackie Kang Doctor Doom

Black Widow director Cate Shortland spoke with Fandango to tease the MCU's future after her movie debuts, specifically the darker feel that's on the way for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When asked about how this movie will connect to current and future MCU movies, Shortland teased a "whole legion of new characters" set to be unleashed. This new group is said to be particularly ambiguous, with Shortland revealing that some of them "have got a darkness in them" that will be explored:

"I think what's exciting is this whole legion of new characters is going to be unleashed. And I think what's really exciting too, is there's an ambiguity about those characters. So, whereas the, say, original legion was fairly black and white, I think some of these characters who are going to come to the fore have got a darkness in them."

While this is something that fans aren't "used to seeing," Shortland teased that "it's more complex" this time around with characters that "are more difficult."

She revealed that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is "very aware" of fans not wanting to "keep watching the same thing," with the Marvel crew intent on "adding different perspectives on the world:"

"And that's interesting, because that's not something that we're used to seeing as well. In some ways, it's more complex. Some of the characters are more difficult. But I think what people want is change. I don't think we can keep watching the same thing. And I think Kevin is very aware of that, I think he not only is switching it up with cultures and adding different voices, [but] what he's also doing is adding different perspectives on the world."


While the MCU has built a great deal of success over the years, it seems clear that Kevin Feige and his team are intent on making sure the franchise continues by changing things up where needed.

Numerous Phase 4 properties have the inherent potential to be darker stories such as Oscar Isaac's Moon Knight and Mahershala Ali's Blade. However, it appears that more ambiguous characters may become more of a norm throughout the next few years.

This will be more obvious in Black Widow with Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova taking the spotlight amongst others in Natasha's Russian family, especially as her solo movie explores her Russian roots. That being said, this should only be the start of more intriguing stories and heroes that will take center stage over the coming years.

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

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.