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The Avengers Throwaway Line That Influenced The Black Widow Movie

It's been a long road to get here, but at long last Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow is preparing for her first cinematic solo story. Originally primed for a May 2020 premiere, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shuffle in the Marvel Studios release schedule, which originally pushed it back to November 6, 2020. However, since little changed by way of quarantines and social distancing guidelines, the film has now slipped to May 2021, placing it a full year off from its intended theatrical run. Still, for die-hard Black Widow fans, this extension is just a drop in the bucket compared to the lengthy wait they've already had to endure.

The idea behind a Black Widow solo movie dates back as early as 2004 under the auspices of Lionsgate and its legacy option on the character's IP. That project collapsed in on itself when the rights to the character reverted to Marvel Studios in 2006. Things quieted down for a while before Agent Natasha Romanoff made her big-screen debut in 2010's Iron Man 2, but still, no immediate plans for a standalone Black Widow adventure came about. That all changed within a few short years once 2012's The Avengers hit theaters, a film which inadvertently influenced the story of the long-overdue Black Widow movie with a seemingly unimportant throwaway line.

Fans are dying to find out what happened in Budapest

The dialogue in question comes in the third act of the first Avengers team-up movie, in which New York was under a full-scale invasion by a brainwashed Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his legions of Chitauri soldiers. The titular team was Earth's last line of defense. Despite their lack of powers, Black Widow and Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) took the fight to their adversaries, apparently in a similar fashion as they did in Hungary some time ago. "Just like Budapest all over again!" Romanoff said. 

To which Barton replied, "You and I remember Budapest very differently."

Little did director Joss Whedon know, this humorous banter would fester in the minds of Marvel fans for years to come, with many wondering when they'd get to see the events the two S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives referenced. Thankfully for those patiently waiting on a resolution, they're about to get one, as Scarlett Johansson confirmed that the Budapest line went a long way toward establishing Black Widow's story and themes.

"We all agreed that we had to find out what happened in Budapest," she said in Marvel's Black Widow: The Official Movie Special Book (via Screen Rant). She went on to say that they had a duty to the fans to include something relating to the now-famous quote: "We thought that if we don't go back to Budapest and find out what really happened there, people will feel unsatisfied. I wondered what did happen there?"

Additionally, Johansson addressed how this plays into Natasha Romanoff's personal arc and the way she copes with the atrocities of her checkered past. "Unfinished business is that sense of guilt that follows her around, which all stems from what happened in Budapest," she explained, also making sure to qualify that, "Black Widow is not about what happened in Budapest, but it's a huge jumping-off point for us to understand the heaviness of Natasha's burden," thus confirming that the film blazes its own narrative trail, while still answering one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's longest-running questions.