WHAT IS THE STORY OF BLACK WIDOW?
Former Soviet operative turned Avenger Natasha Romanoff returns to her Communist-era stomping grounds to confront Taskmaster. This mysterious villain has the ability to absorb the skills of those whom he's fighting; more alarmingly, he's enlisted an army of brainwashed agents that threaten the entire world.
To stop him, Natasha must call on her former cohorts: Yelena, Alexei aka the Red Guardian and Melina. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Natasha must also reckon with her murky past.
WHO STARS IN BLACK WIDOW?
Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha, some 11 years after her MCU debut in Iron Man 2. This is the first time that Black Widow has taken centre stage in her own movie, and she's got strong back-up. Little Women Oscar nominee Florence Pugh plays Natasha's quick-witted foil Yelena, Stranger Things' David Harbour is the vodka-swilling Red Guardian (essentially Russia's equivalent of Captain America) and The Favourite Oscar nominee Rachel Weisz plays Melina.
WHERE DOES BLACK WIDOW FIT IN THE MCU TIMELINE?
Black Widow tragically sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone in Avengers: Endgame (2019). Hence why the Black Widow movie, directed by Cate Shortland, backtracks to earlier in the timeline. It takes place between Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), although tonally it looks to be absorbing the paranoid thriller aesthetic of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).
At the same time, Black Widow is the inaugural film in Phase Four of the MCU. This will encompass Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings (September 2021), Eternals (November 2021), Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse (March 2022) and Thor: Love and Thunder (May 2022).