Natasha Romanoff's story might've already reached its end when she sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone during Avengers: Endgame, but her presence will still be felt in Phase 4's Black Widow.
Directed by Cate Shortland, the film is a prequel that is set in between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and it will revolve around Scarlett Johansson's Avenger being on the run from the Sokovia Accords. This means that Romanoff has no means of reaching out to her fellow Avengers at this point in time.
As a result of the Sokovia Accords shenanigans, Romanoff will be forced to reunite with her makeshift Russian family which consists of Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova, David Harbour's Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz's Melina Vostokoff. They will team up to take down the Red Room once and for all, but the inclusion of Taskmaster will make things difficult.
As it stands, Black Widow is poised to be a fitting send-off for Johansson's titular spy, especially now that her MCU story is over. Still, Shortland did tease that a Black Widow sequel is possible, but it would follow a different character, presumably Pugh's Yelena.
Now, the head of Marvel Studios has teased the potential future of Johansson's MCU hero in a new interview.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON'S MCU FUTURE TEASED
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the MCU future of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.
When asked if Johansson would return as the Russian spy down the line, Feige teased that "maybe there will be more down the road," hinting that it could be foreshadowed by stories from the pages of Marvel Comics:
“‘Maybe there will be more down the road’ — [is the answer] comics have taught us. Anything could be the answer to that question.”
The Marvel producer then opened up about the importance of Black Widow, admitting that the prequel is crucial for fans to see how Natasha Romanoff's actions were "informed by her past" in films like The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Avengers: Infinity War:
“I look forward to people watching this film and then re-watching Avengers 1, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and certainly (Avengers:) Infinity War and seeing how her actions are informed by her past that’s revealed."
A POSSIBLE SECRET WARS TEASE?
Kevin Feige's latest tease about the MCU future of Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff could hint at a potential Secret Wars connection.
At this stage, not much is known about the future plans of the MCU, but multiverse-sized evidence suggests that the endgame is a possible Secret Wars storyline. Phase 4 currently has no Avengers film in its massive slate, meaning that the next team-up movie of Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be further down the road.
Feige's comment about referencing the comics is intriguing, and well-versed fans of the franchise should acknowledge this as a sign that Romanoff will return in some form. It's clear that the main version of the character can't come back, but the multiverse presents the opportunity for a different Romanoff to return.
Connecting the dots, a Secret Wars storyline for the MCU might very well be on the cards, thus giving dead and retired characters like Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Chris Evans' Steve Rogers to come back for one final battle against an unknown threat. Many would agree that this would top the Portals moment from Endgame, since seeing them return alongside the new heroes of the MCU would surely make for a memorable moment.
This is pure speculation at this point, but there's a good chance that the narrative is going in this direction. For now, Black Widow presents a prime opportunity for fans to discover more of Romanoff's past while also enhancing their rewatch experience for previous MCU movies in the Infinity Saga.
Black Widow will hit theaters and Disney+ via Premier Access on July 9, 2021.