The confirmed Black Widow cast may be small but it’s nonetheless mighty. A handful of very talented actors have signed to be part of the Black Widow movie cast in order to give the beloved Marvel superhero a standalone story. The Black Widow movie may very well be Scarlett Johansson’s final appearance as the titular Avenger, seeing as its a prequel movie that takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland (SMILF), one of the few female directors hired (thus far) by Marvel Studios. Black Widow‘s script was penned by Jac Schaeffer, the writer behind the gender-swapped Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle, and Ned Benson (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby trilogy). Unlike other solo MCU films, Black Widow will not be an origin story. Instead, the movie will show audiences a chapter from Natasha’s more recent history.
A majority of the Black Widow cast was introduced during Marvel’s presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Here’s who will be starring in the film in addition to cast members Ray Winstone (Cats) and Liran Nathan (Brittania), whose roles have yet to be revealed.
Scarlett Johnasson reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow MCU audiences have come to know and love since her introduction in 2010’s Iron Man 2. This will most likely be the final time Johansson appears in an MCU movie given Black Widow‘s place in the MCU timeline and because Black Widow died in Avengers: Endgame.
In both the comics and the MCU, Natasha is a highly-skilled spy and fighter. She graduated from the Red Room Academy’s Black Widow program in a class of 28 orphaned girls who became Russian spies. Despite having no superpowers, Natasha is accomplished in hand-to-hand combat and is a pro with a variety of weapons. In the MCU, specifically, audiences have watched her work for both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers to try and do good as a way of redeeming herself for her past, which ostensibly saw her operating as more of a villain than a hero.
Black Widow marks a special milestone for Johansson as it will be released in her 10th year as a member of the MCU cast and crew. Since debuting in Iron Man 2, Johansson’s Black Widow has been an integral role in many of the larger MCU stories, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. In addition to Black Widow, Johansson worked on two other movies in 2019: A Marriage Story, which co-stars Adam Driver, and the Taika Waititi-directed satire Jojo Rabbit.
Florence Pugh plays Yelena Belova, another Black Widow spy trained by the same organization as Natasha Romanoff, in Black Widow. In the comics, Yelena Belova is a Black Widow agent who came up through the Red Room Academy program at the same time as Natasha. Unlike Natasha, though, who eventually defected and became a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Yelena spent many years in the field working for the Red Room and Russia.
Benefiting from the Red Room’s training and getting some of the best marks during her time in the program, Yelena went on to be an extremely skilled spy and fighter but possessed no superpowers for a majority of her career. At one point in her comics arc, she transformed into a Super Adaptoid, allowing her to mimic the superpowers of heroes like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Captain Marvel.
Black Widow is a huge role for Pugh, who has become a rising star ever since starring in the 2014 British indie drama The Falling. Since then, Pugh has appeared in films and TV shows including The Commuter, Lady Macbeth, The Little Drummer Girl, Fighting With My Family, and Midsommar.
Rachel Weisz plays Melina Vostokoff, a.k.a Iron Maiden, in Black Widow. Weisz confirmed Melina is another Black Widow agent in addition to Yelena and Natasha and that she, too, went through the Red Room Academy in her youth.
Melina’s comics backstory includes her rejecting her role as a spy for Russia but forced to live in Natasha’s Black Widow shadow. This fostered a deep hatred within Melina, leading to her go from a spy to working as the villain Iron Maiden. As Iron Maiden, Melina wears a metal suit that makes her look like a cross between Iron Man and Doctor Doom and protects her as she fights. Melina has no superpowers but is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, espionage, and weapons.
Weisz has been acting onscreen for the better part of 30 years. Her breakout role was in 1999’s The Mummy co-starring Brendan Fraser. From there, she appeared in films like The Constant Gardener, The Brothers Bloom, and Fred Claus. More recently, she appeared in The Favourite alongside Emma Stone and Olivia Colman.
David Harbour plays Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a Red Guardian, in Black Widow. In the Marvel comics, Red Guardian is Russia’s version of Captain America. The key difference between the two is that Red Guardian hasn’t been injected with a serum or experimented on to make him into a superhero. Instead, he’s very much a mortal but is skilled in hand-to-hand combat and espionage, and he’s considered one of the best pilots in the Soviet Union.
After a period of army service, Shostakov is later selected to be the Soviet Union’s answer to Captain America during the Cold War. It’s also revealed that part of his cover as a regular citizen is his marriage to Natalia Romanova, better known as the Black Widow spy known to be Natasha Romanoff. This version of Natasha and Alexei’s relationship may not end up in Black Widow, but it’s completely possible for a similarly intimate backstory to be created to serve as the basis for their MCU relationship.
Harbour is most recognizable from his role as Jim Hopper on Netflix’s Stranger Things. But in addition to that, Harbour has had a bevy of other roles, including starring as the eponymous character in 2019’s Hellboy reboot, as a government agent in Suicide Squad, and as the neighbor of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s angst-ridden couple in Revolutionary Road.
O-T Fagbenle will play Mason in Black Widow. Fagbenle has acted in feature films before but Black Widow is arguably his biggest to date. Mason is described as being a “fixer for spies” and someone who helps others in the criminal underworld (via Comic Book). It’s possible Mason is an original character created for the MCU, seeing as he isn’t based on anyone specific from the comics.
Fagbenle is best known for his role on Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale. The actor plays Luke Bankole, husband to June, the protagonist of the series played by Elisabeth Moss. Fagbenle has been acting on film and in television since 2002 when he first nabbed a role on the British soap EastEnders. Since then, Fagbenle has appeared in TV shows and films like Happy Endings, Non-Stop starring Liam Neeson, and HBO’s Looking.
Next: Every Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie