Scarlett Johansson

Black Widow: Scarlett Johansson Explains Why Natasha Started Out ‘Full of Doubt’

Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson says Natasha is "thrown off her game" at the start of the film as she finds herself alone for the first time.

Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson said there’s a good reason Natasha starts off the film so full of doubt: she’s never truly been alone.

At a press conference attended by CBR and other outlets, Johansson detailed the position Natasha finds herself in following the events of Captain America: Civil War. “I think [director] Cate [Shortland], she had mentioned that Natasha at the beginning of this film is really alone for the first time,” Johansson said. “She’s always been a part of something, either by being of circumstance — she’s been a part of, starting out with, really not participating at all, and being a victim of the Red Room. Then, obviously joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and then subsequently the Avengers. I mean, she’s always been a part of something that was a part of a greater whole. And then, suddenly, she finds herself sort of floating in this weird in-between space and she’s off her game. She realizes that she’s got all this possibility in front of her and it’s really suffocating.”

From spending her early years in the Red Room to joining S.H.I.E.L.D. to becoming an Avengers, Natasha was always part of a team with an agenda. While she gained agency over the years, it’s not until her solo film that she’s truly able to forge her own path. Of course, that quickly gets derailed, especially once Yelena Belova comes back into her life.

“Then she’s blindsided by this person who comes from her past, who is just on fire and is a liability and [has] got this crazy energy and is dangerous and is full of life, and seems… isn’t needy, but needs her,” Johansson continued. She’s so thrown off her game in this. It’s great to see her like that. We never get to see her like that. That was a fun place to start from. She’s just full of doubt. (Laughs). And, you know, leaves a lot of openings for stuff to creep in.”

In both the film and her later chronological appearances in the MCU, Natasha is given a chance to find her own version of family and chart her own course. In the end, it leads to her demise on Vormir, a fate many fans have taken issue with. But taken at face value, it’s a powerful moment of assuredness from Natasha, who chooses to sacrifice herself to save the universe.

Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson and directed by Cate Shortland, is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ Premier Access. Its opening weekend brought in a combined $215 million, proving the long-overdue Black Widow solo movie was worth the wait for many.

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