Black Widow went from being a fairly obscure Marvel character to being one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world, thanks to The Avengers. While the first female Avenger in the comics was Wasp, she wouldn't make an appearance until much later in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. She was one of the founding members of the team in the movies and has since become a huge name in the Marvel canon.
Black Widow might be a big deal to some, but there have been issues along the way, most notably those related to her solo movie. It seems like every major Marvel character can star in their own film, except for her. Black Widow was left in the dust until Wonder Woman took the movie world by storm, which seems to have opened the gates for Scarlett Johansson to finally be given a leading role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The rumors keep circulating to the point where a Black Widow solo movie now seems inevitable.
Black Widow has a long history that precedes the first Avengers movie by several decades. There are a lot of aspects of Black Widow's history that Marvel is keen for the fans to forget.
We are here today to look at the shadiest secrets of the first female Avenger. From her leaked tape in the comics, to one of the worst business decisions in Hollywood history.
Here are Twenty Secrets You Didn’t Know About Black Widow!
20 The Lamest Team In History
The best superhero teams all have a good reason for joining up and working together; the X-Men want to create a society where humans and mutants can live together in peace, while the Justice League want to protect the Earth and see that justice is meted out to criminals who deserve it. The Champions got together because no one else was using them at the time. This was a team made up of Hercules, Ghost Rider, Iceman, Angel, and Black Widow.
They had no purpose and just got together to have generic adventures against boring foes.
The Champions have since become the epitome of a superhero team that has no purpose and only joined together because they had nothing better to do.
19 The Daredevil Of The '70s
It took a long time before Daredevil was given a starring role in a project, which resulted in the polarizing Daredevil movie of 2003. It wasn't until the release of the Daredevil Netflix series that the Man Without Fear was given his due.
We almost saw a star turn by Daredevil back in the '70s, as Angela Bowie (David Bowie's wife) wanted to star in a Black Widow/Daredevil TV show, where she would star as Black Widow. She was able to purchase the TV rights for the characters from Stan Lee and created some costume mock-up shots that they used to shop the project to various studios.
Angela Bowie was unsuccessful in her ambitions, which meant that Black Widow and Daredevil would have to wait a long time before they would become movie and TV show stars.
18 A Widow Always Pays Her Debts
Black Widow has appeared in numerous Marvel animated shows and video games over the years, where she has been voiced by many different women.
Laura Bailey has likely played Black Widow the most out of anyone and is usually the first person chosen to portray the character outside of the movies.
The most famous actress to play Black Widow (outside of Scarlett Johansson) is Lena Headey, who is best known for playing the devious Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. Headey played Black Widow in an episode of The Super Hero Squad Show, which she performed with an over-the-top Russian accent. The rest of the squad were constantly macking on her while being unaware of her true role as a spy.
17 Metal Gear Widow
David Hayter is best-known for playing Solid Snake and Big Boss in the Metal Gear Solid series, save for the final installment, where the role of Venom Snake was played by Keifer Sutherland. While David Hayter will forever be known for saying "Metal Gear" in a questioning and breathless way for the rest of his days, he will also have other achievements under his belt. Hayter is an accomplished screenwriter, who penned the scripts for movies like X-Men, X2, and Watchmen.
David Hayter was once tapped to write the script for a Black Widow movie that was in development in 2006. This project has long since been put on hiatus, thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of Black Widow.
16 The Short Literary Life Of Black Widow
This might seem like an odd notion, but there have been numerous novels written starring Marvel characters, even though there isn't any reason not to tell their stories in comic book form.
Black Widow has starred in two Young Adult novels that chronicle her adventures outside of the Avengers.
Black Widow: Forever Red involves Black Widow tracking down her old teacher, Ivan Somodorov, who trained her in the infamous Red Room. Here she learns of her teacher restarting his experiments and creating a new Red Room, which she sets out to destroy. Black Widow: Red Vengeance is the sequel to Forever Red and follows Black Widow and her apprentice, the Red Widow on a journey across the globe, as they seek to root out agents that have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.
15 Manga Widow Vs. The Hulk
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been exploring the idea of a romantic relationship between Black Widow and the Hulk, to the point where she is one of the few people who can cause him to return to his Bruce Banner form. The version of Black Widow that appeared in the Marvel Mangaverse (a comic line that mixed Marvel characters with a manga aesthetic) fared a lot less good with the Hulk than her movie counterpart.
The Marvel Mangaverse Black Widow was an agent of H.Y.D.R.A who was hired to kidnap Bruce Banner. They fled on a submarine, which the Hulk destroyed during his escape, leaving Black Widow to drown. The Marvel Mangaverse version of Black Widow might have the worst design of any version of the character, as she is wearing a long skirt that isn't long enough to cover her underwear.
14 The Daughter Of Odin
Only a handful of characters possess the strength of character to lift Mjolnir in the main Marvel continuity. The opposite is true in the numerous alternate reality stories that have been told by Marvel over the years, as practically anyone is worthy enough to gain the powers of Thor when there is nothing at stake.
Black Widow became the new wielder of Mjolnir in What If? Age of Ultron #3.
This story was set in a world where Thor had perished during the battle against the Midgard Serpent and Ragnarok had come. The last remaining heroes and villains joined forces to prevent the end of the world, which concluded with Black Widow picking up Mjolnir and slaying the Midgard Serpent.
13 You Don't Need To Wear A Costume When You Look This Good
It took a while before Black Widow became a superhero and a trusted member of S.H.I.E.L.D. & The Avengers. She actually started out as an Iron Man villain.
Black Widow debuted in Tales of Suspense #52, where she teamed up with the Crimson Dynamo to take down Iron Man. She would later team up with Hawkeye (who was also a villain at the time) and the two of them would later see the error of their ways. Black Widow would fully defect to the United States, though there have been many stories where her motives were put into question or she was temporarily brainwashed into returning to Russia. It took a while before Black Widow came up with a costume. She originally conducted her business while wearing elegant evening wear and a veil.
12 Maybe She's Born With It...
Captain America gained his abilities from the Super Soldier Serum, which increased all of his physical and mental attributes so that they exceeded those of even the strongest and most intelligent of humans.
Black Widow was given a much weaker variant of the Super Soldier Serum, though it still gave her a significant boost to her abilities.
She is practically immune to disease and infections, thanks to her strengthened immune system. Black Widow could also give Captain America a run for his money in a straight fight, which can be attributed to her extensive training. By far the most impressive benefit given to Black Widow was her increased longevity. She was actually born in 1928, but the serum has slowed down her aging to the point where she still resembles a woman in her early thirties.
11 Hiding The Baby Bump From Ultron
When Black Widow was being trained at the Red Room facility, she was sterilized and prevented from ever being able to give birth. This deed haunts Black Widow throughout Age of Ultron. Scarlett Johansson became pregnant during the production of Age of Ultron, which caused a problem for the filmmakers, due to the fact that they couldn't even write the pregnancy into the film without reshoots. They had to reschedule as many of her action scenes as possible, so that they could be performed as safely as possible, without causing any risk to Johansson's child.
Three separate body doubles were hired for the production of Age of Ultron, as they were needed to film around Scarlett Johansson's ever-growing baby bump.
10 The Other Black Widow
There are actually two superheroes with the name Black Widow in the Marvel universe. The less famous one is much older, yet became part of Marvel canon at a later date. Black Widow debuted in Mystic Comics in 1940. Her real name is Claire Voyant and is one of Satan's servants on Earth. She was brought into the main Marvel universe in a 2008 series called The Twelve.
This is what happens when your real name is also your dancer name.
The Twelve starred twelve characters from the period when Marvel was known as Timely Comics, who had been frozen during World War II and were awoken in the modern era. Claire Voyant finds the modern world far more accepting of her powers and she had an easier team of adapting to contemporary America than her associates.
9 A Strange Way To Be Taught
Rogue of the X-Men can drain the life force of anyone that she touches with bare skin. This can be fatal for the person that she is touching, but only if it is held for extended periods of time. Rogue's touch also has the power to drain the memories of those she is in contact with, which also extends to their training.
Black Widow once needed Rogue to shoot someone with a sniper rifle, as her own hand had been broken. In order to quickly teach Rogue how to use the gun, she kissed her in order to impart the information through a touch. Black Widow could also have given this knowledge to Rogue through touching her hand, but forcing herself on another woman was likely considered to be more interesting.
8 Anastasia Of The Avengers
Black Widow's real name is Natasha Romanova in most of the Marvel stories in which she appears. It has long been speculated in the regular Marvel continuity that Black Widow is actually a descendant of the House of Romanov, who acted as the royal family of Russia for over three centuries. This is usually based on nothing more than the fact that Black Widow is Russian and her name is kind of similar to Romanov.
Black Widow may be the Marvel version of Anastasia.
She was believed to have survived the destruction of her house until DNA evidence finally proved she had perished alongside her family. The version of Black Widow that appeared in The Ultimates was confirmed to be a descendant of the Romanovs, though this fact played no role in her fate.
7 The Photoshop Controversy
Comic book artists are sometimes accused of not knowing how spines work. This usually relates to unnatural poses made by female superheroes/villains in an effort to show off both their chest and backside at the same time. It seems that the people who make movie posters are just as guilty of pandering to the male gaze, with Black Widow being the only Avenger to show off her backside on the advertisements for the first Avengers film.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier also came under fire for heavily photoshopping Scarlett Johansson in order to make her skinnier and give her a more defined form. Her chest also seems to be held in place with roofing nails, due to how high up it is.
6 The Monster Explanation
Bruce Banner thinks that he is a monster, due to the terrible rage he inflicts upon the world when he transforms into the Hulk. Black Widow reveals to Banner in Age of Ultron that she too is a monster, when she explains the things that have happened to her in the past and the deeds that she performed before she joined the Avengers.
Fans weren't completely sold on this line.
Joss Whedon later had to go on record in order to explain this scene, as some fans felt that Black Widow was referring to the fact that she couldn't give birth as the reason that she considered herself to be a monster. Whedon clarified that she was referring to the numerous assignments she performed during her time as a spy when she described the deeds that made her consider herself a monster.
5 A Different Role For Jane Foster
One of the biggest mistakes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the waste of Natalie Portman as an actress. She is one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood, yet she was reduced to the role of generic love interest in the Thor movies, where she played Jane Foster. Portman has yet to reappear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and seemingly has no interest in coming back.
It seems that Natalie Portman almost had a much bigger role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as she was one of the actors considered to play the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2. It's unknown why she didn't get the part, though she was given the role of Jane Foster shortly after.
4 The Mystery Of The Solo Movie
The DC Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest disasters in the history of cinema, but it at least got Wonder Woman right. Marvel had plenty of opportunities to release a superhero movie with a woman in the lead role, but they lacked faith in their audience and allowed DC to scoop up all of the credit.
It seems that Marvel has finally been shamed into doing the right thing, as a Black Widow movie seems to be in development.
Jac Schaeffer is currently working on a script for the movie, but it is still in the very early stages of development and there is nothing stopping Marvel/Disney from getting cold feet and killing the project. We just have to wait and see if Black Widow survives the upcoming Avengers movies.
3 Being Blunt About What Could Have Been
As of the time of writing, Scarlett Johansson has played Black Widow in five movies. She is set to appear in the next two Avengers movies, as well as her own potential solo movie. This means that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is likely Johansson's most profitable venture in the movie industry, and she isn't likely to be leaving the role anytime soon.
The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe must be particularly galling to Emily Blunt, who was the first choice to play Black Widow in Iron Man 2. It turns out that Emily Blunt was forced to turn the role down, as she was already contracted to appear in a Jack Black movie called Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver's Travels was panned by critics, but it was at least profitable at the box office. This is likely not much comfort to Emily Blunt.
2 One Night In Widow
The version of Black Widow that appears in the Avengers movies has had her motives questioned on many occasions, though she has always remained loyal to the team in the end. The version of Black Widow that appeared in The Ultimates was much less trustworthy. She actually betrayed the Ultimates and aided a team known as the Liberators in their invasion of America. This version of Black Widow was later tracked down and dealt with by Hawkeye.
The Ultimates version of Black Widow is best known for leaking a tape of her and Tony Stark getting close to the world at large.
This is one of the storylines that Marvel likes to pretend never happened, along with a good chunk of the later Ultimates storylines.
Spider-Man's web shooters are one of the coolest gadgets in fiction. You would need to be bitten by a radioactive spider in order to use them, as they would be incredibly dangerous otherwise. Spider-Man's agility, coupled with his amazing senses and ability to predict danger is what allows him to swing across the New York City skyline.
Black Widow also possessed a similar device to the web shooters, which were part of the gauntlets that she wore. These would fire off an incredibly thin, but also very durable wire that Black Widow could use to climb high surfaces. Black Widow was likely only given this gadget due to her name, as she otherwise had no spider-related gimmicks or powers in her repertoire.