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False Things You Believe About Black Widow

Black Widow has gone from a name that only comic book enthusiasts were familiar with to a household favorite. At every convention and Halloween party, you're bound to see people dressing up as their favorite spy/assassin. And while she made her cinematic debut in 2010 in a supporting role in Iron Man 2, she's been around since 1964 in the comics. She's gone through numerous iterations in the years since, so it can be a bit tricky to nail down one single definitive version. 

However, whether you're more familiar with the comics or the movies, there's a lot of misinformation out there about Black Widow. And whether you consider yourself a comic book fan, an MCU die-hard, or both, there are probably some gaps in your knowledge of this iconic character. There are a lot of things most people tend to get wrong about this agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and now, it's time to clear up some of the murkiness. From her outfit's origins to her dancing days, here are some false things you believe about Black Widow.

Black Widow always wore the black leather catsuit

Black Widow's suit is just as recognizable as Captain America's. She's often found wearing a black, leather ensemble, which makes sense considering her career path. She wouldn't be much of a spy if she ran around wearing a shiny red and gold suit. It's also well-suited for her fighting style, making her proficient at hand-to-hand combat. It's hard to imagine why she would need to wear anything else.

However, in her first appearances, you wouldn't even be able to recognize her. Instead of a black catsuit, she wore a blue, dominatrix-style costume with a blue mask covering her face. She looked entirely different than she does today, and you definitely don't get the impression from this outfit that she's a "black widow." Of course, today, you'll recognize her black outfit in both the movies and comic books. They vary ever so slightly from one comic book series or movie to the next, but you can always tell when Black Widow has entered the picture. Honestly, it's probably for the best that her bizarre blue outfit was left in the '60s where it belongs.

Scarlett Johansson was Marvel's first choice to play Black Widow

It's hard to imagine anyone but Scarlett Johannson playing Black Widow in the movies. She's appeared in numerous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including her own standalone feature. Johannson was a rising star around 2010 and already well-acquainted with comic book movies, having appeared in The Spirit in 2008. It makes sense that Marvel would want a Hollywood it girl to have the role and keep her around for many years to come. 

But it almost wasn't meant to be. Scarlett Johannson wasn't Marvel's first choice, and in fact, they offered the part to Emily Blunt initially. She had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Gulliver's Travels, and Marvel ended up giving the role to Johannson instead. It's an interesting casting choice considering Blunt's husband, John Krasinski, was very close to being cast as Captain America. We're assuming neither one feels too bad about missing out considering they have both had incredible careers in the years since. 

She could've only gotten a movie in the MCU

Despite debuting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2010, Black Widow only got around to getting her own standalone movie in 2020. It had been a long time coming, but it seems like executives were finally confident to have the super spy lead her own movie, no doubt thanks to the success of other female-led superhero movies like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. But there was actually a time when a studio was considering making a legitimate Black Widow movie ... all the way back in 2004.

There was a time in the early 2000s when female-led action movies were actually pretty common. Some were hits like Kill Bill and Resident Evil, while others have faded to relative obscurity like BloodRayne. Thanks to this popularity, Lionsgate hired David Hayter, writer for X-Men and X2, to write and eventually direct the movie. He ended up creating a faithful adaptation of the comics that would have focused on the hero's origin story, but it wasn't meant to be. According to Cinema Blend (via Business Insider), 2005's Aeon Flux and its subsequent bombing at the box office was the nail in the coffin for the Black Widow film, and Lionsgate called it off. And to think, it would take less than a decade for fans to be clamoring for a Black Widow movie.

Her real name is Natasha Romanoff

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has placed a heavy emphasis on making it clear their superheroes are actual people, and audiences know their real names as much as their superhero ones. Iron Man is Tony Stark. Captain America is Steve Rogers. And Black Widow is Natasha Romanoff. Sure, she may have been initially called Natalie Rushman in Iron Man 2, but that was just a cover. Surely we can all trust that we at least know this important character's name, right? 

Well, according to her comic book origins, her actual full name was Natalia Alianovna Romanova. In the comics, Natalia was forced into an arranged marriage by the KGB. This marriage ended when powerful Soviet operatives decided to put her husband (the original Red Guardian) into a secretive program. Natalia received a message that her husband passed away, and she went to train as a solo operative. She would eventually escape this program and change her name in an attempt to separate herself from her dark, mysterious origins. She switched up a few letters, and ever since, she's gone by Natasha Romanoff.

Black Widow was always a good guy

People familiar with Black Widow primarily through the MCU know she can be a bit hard to pin down. You never quite know where her allegiances lie, such as when she switched sides in the middle of Captain America: Civil War. After all, she's a spy, so it's probably for the best that no one can really read her. We know she has a dark past, but we've only really ever seen her fight alongside the Avengers, so she must have been trained by the bad guys but defected early on, right?

As it turns out, the comics originally had Black Widow start off as a villain. She made her debut in Tales of Suspense #52 where she was an arch-enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D. She had some incredibly difficult missions during her early stories, including one plot to seduce, betray, and steal from Iron Man. She eventually met Hawkeye, who also started out as a villain, and while she was attracted to him, she was often able to manipulate him into doing her dirty work. However, it wasn't long until they wanted to work with the Avengers, and Black Widow officially defected over to work with the United States. The romantic relationship between Natasha and Hawkeye didn't last, but it helped them understand where their allegiances needed to be.

She doesn't have superpowers

When it comes to superpowers, it would initially seem like Black Widow got the short end of the stick. In the movies, she has guns and batons, but those seem a tad lackluster when compared with robot suits of armor and a hammer that summons lightning. She's still a major asset to the Avengers, helping Steve Rogers tremendously in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but if you just look at the movies, then it certainly doesn't seem like she has superpowers in the traditional sense. 

But if you read the comic books, then you know Black Widow has more superpowers than people give her credit for. During her time in the Red Room program, her body was biochemically enhanced to give her an array of special skills. Think of her as the Russian version of Captain America. These superpowers include heightened endurance, a longer-than-normal lifespan, and super healing. She also has a master intellect that allows her to speak 11 languages and hack pretty much any computer network. She's the peak human physical and mental specimen.

Black Widow was a ballerina

A lot of fans believe Black Widow wanted to be a ballerina at some point in her life. This became a lot more prominent in Avengers: Age of Ultron when we see Black Widow's flashback consisting of a group of ballerinas. This is something the filmmakers pulled directly from the comics as Natasha was originally a ballerina for the Russian Bolshoi. She then ended up marrying a Soviet agent named Alexei Shostakov, but after she believed he'd died, she dedicated herself to becoming a spy. And that's the origin story of Black Widow ... or is it?

As we later learn, Natasha's husband didn't actually die, and many aspects of her past would slowly begin to unravel. This includes her time as a ballerina, which we discover were actually implanted memories. In reality, she spent her childhood learning to become a weapon, so she wouldn't have had time to also become a professional ballerina. In other words, in addition to giving her a few superpowers, the Red Room program brainwashed her and turned her into an assassin. As a result, Natasha can't trust anything about her past, and neither should we.

Scarlett Johansson is the only live-action Black Widow

When you think in terms of the live-action films, Scarlett Johansson is synonymous with Black Widow. At this point, it's hard to think of anyone else who could portray the spy. But as it turns out, someone other than Johansson has played the iconic character. It's just a shame not more people saw her performance. 

Agent Carter featured Hayley Atwell reprising her role as Peggy Carter from Captain America: The First Avenger. Set in the 1940s, the show laid down much of the foundation of the mythos that would later be explored in films, such as the backstory behind Tony Stark's father, Howard. And early on in the show's run, fans were treated to a Dottie Underwood, also known as the original Black Widow, as played by Bridget Regan. She becomes the main villain in season two, but she also becomes an ally to Peggy to help her fight against Whitney Frost and the Council of Nine.

Black Widow wants to be a spy forever

It's common these days for superheroes to not want to be superheroes. At the end of the day, Captain America just wants to go back in time to be with Peggy Carter. The Fantastic Four wish they had never gotten their powers. And while Black Widow seems to like being a spy on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., you may be surprised to learn that she hasn't always wanted to commit to this line of work. 

There was one comic book arc in particular where Black Widow begins a romantic relationship with Daredevil. The pair move to San Francisco, and Natasha tries her hand at a career in fashion design. Naturally, it didn't last, and it wasn't long until Black Widow was back putting bad guys in their place. But for a short time, Natasha had a taste of normal life. Who knows what the future could hold for Natasha? Maybe there's a special place in her heart for Matt Murdock still.

Her journey ends with her solo film

Black Widow met a tragic but heroic end in Avengers: Endgame. We still get one more movie with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role with 2020's Black Widow, and then that would seem to be the end of the line for the iconic character. Ten years of starring in some of the most successful movies of all time would seem to be enough for a character relatively few people knew about a couple of decades ago. But this may not be the last time Black Widow appears in a movie. 

In the comic books, Yelena Belova takes over the mantle of Black Widow from Natasha Romanoff. In the upcoming film, Yelena, played by Florence Pugh, seems to have a prominent role, and we wouldn't be surprised if there's a mid- or post-credits scene hinting that one day, she'll become Black Widow. It makes sense with all the torch-passing going on in the MCU these days like Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America. Natasha's days in the MCU may be over, but Black Widow may live on.