Marvel's Black Widow has been a long time coming.
Natasha Romanoff's Black Widow first appeared in 2010's Iron Man 2. And, after a decade of playing a supporting role and multiple COVID-19 delays, the film is finally set to release on July 9, 2021.
While it's known that Black Widow is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and involves Natasha Romanoff confronting her past, the film is unique in that fans know it's somewhat of a prequel yet not quite an origin story.
So, what did the film's creators consider when crafting such a film? The answers may surprise Marvel fans.
BLACK WIDOW DIRECTOR INFLUENCED BY ALIENS AND X-MEN
In a June 2021 issue of Total Film via Twitter, Black Widow creators discussed the films which influenced Johansson's thriller ranging from Little Miss Sunshine to The Kids Are All Right to even an X-Men film.
Regarding this somewhat surprising list of inspirations, particularly that of The Kids Are All Right that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige himself referenced during the MCU movie's development, titular star Scarlett Johansson admitted, "You would never expect that from a Marvel film."
According to Black Widow director Cate Shortland, other cinematic references included, "things like Logan and Aliens and The Fugitive. We looked at films like that."
Rachel Weisz, who plays Melina in the film, shed some light on these influences, explaining that Black Widow is about "your origin story:"
"It's definitely about finding out where you've come from, and what your origin story was, and who you really are, and what matters to you - your ideology, I guess."
Fans of the MCU know that Marvel movies are never just about heroes and action sequences, they're also about characters and their personal journeys. It's understandable that Black Widow's creators looked to films that reflected similar themes and struggles.
But perhaps the most obvious source of inspiration was James Cameron's Aliens in that Ripley, much like Natasha Romanoff, doesn't have superpowers to help her save the day.
Shortland, however, viewed Natasha's lack of super abilities as a positive, saying, "We saw that as a strength because she always has to dig deep to get out of s*** situations."
LOGAN AND BLACK WIDOW ARE SIMILAR STORIES
Discovering which films inspired those who worked on Black Widow is fascinating, especially for those eager to learn more about the movie. But, it's also reassuring, too.
The superhero genre could be easily be exhausted at this point in pop-culture consciousness, but Marvel has kept it fresh and exciting in its willingness to experiment with genres, influences, and storytelling devices.
While not part of the MCU library, 2017's Logan is an example of a superhero film that drew upon other movies and styles to tell a hero's final tale.
Of all the films Shortland and Black Widow's other creators discussed, Logan may prove to be the one that mirrors Natasha Romanoff's farewell.
Black Widow premieres in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9, 2021.