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Why Doesn't Black Widow Have A Russian Accent In The MCU?

Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, AKA Scarlett Johansson in our world, has always been a bit of an enigma. Very little is known about her origin story, with just hints here and there about her past as a trained Russian spy. Fortunately, Marvel has finally decided to give fans a taste of Nat's life before she became an Avenger with the upcoming Black Widow movie, set for release in May 2020.

The trailers for the flick have shown us a lot, but they've also raised a few questions. One in particular centers around the fact that if Nat is Russian born and Russian trained, then why doesn't she have a Russian accent? The question has been circling for a few years, but the promo spots have served to highlight it by way of introducing us to Nat's "family." In the Black Widow trailers, we meet Nat's "sister" Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and "mother" Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), who are also graduates of the Red Room, where Nat received her deadly training (and who are probably not her actual blood relatives). But both Yelena and Melina have thick Russian accents in the trailers. So why, exactly, does Nat not have the same accent?

There may be more than one reason for Black Widow's lack of an accent

Scarlett Johansson has played the role of Natasha Romanoff for 9 years and seven films in the MCU so far, ever since she first appeared in the role of Black Widow way back in 2010 in Iron Man 2. In all of that time, she has never had a Russian accent, and it would probably seem very weird to fans for her to suddenly put one on now.

There are plenty of suggestions floating around as to why Nat speaks English with a perfectly American accent. HITC offers that Natasha has been in the US so long that she has completely lost her Russian accent, even though she is still able to fluently speak the language. A little thin, considering how distinctive a Russian accent is, and how most expats still speak English with some form of accent from their native tongue.

Fans of the franchise on Comic Vine had a number of other suggestions, including that Johansson wasn't able to pull off the Russian accent, and that the studio was more interested in having a well known face in the black leather than about authenticity. One fan, though, probably hit the nail on the head when they opined that a "secret agent of her caliber should at least be able to speak English decently."

Black Widow's lack of an accent has been consistent

One fan who is clearly an avid comic book reader also points out that Black Widow (whose surname is Romanova in the comics) didn't have an accent in her print incarnation, either. "That was one of the main differences between Romanova (Black Widow I) and Belova (Black Widow II). Belova was a second rate copy who could not even speak English correctly while Romanova was a real spec ops person who spoke several languages without any accent," they wrote.

A Quora user echoed that same sentiment: "Natasha was a premier field agent and assassin for the Red Room. This meant her ability to blend in to any environment and seem native was unparalleled. She even speaks Russian in numerous accents people not native to that language would speak."

From a real-world standpoint, this actually makes perfect sense. From what we've seen of Nat, and the little we know of her background, she is anything but a second rate spy, so this is a fairly compelling argument. Foreign spies don't typically walk around with a thick accent that immediately identifies them as foreign, now, do they?

Nat left Russia years ago, and has since spent most of her time in the US (from what we know, anyway). All that time coupled with years of training to be a spy would potentially have made it possible for her to completely hide her Russian accent. In the meantime, her "family" appear to have stayed put in Russia, which explains why they sound nothing like Nat.

At any rate, we doubt Marvel fans will be doing much nitpicking when Black Widow smashes its way into theaters. The flick is currently slated for release on May 1, 2020.