This year’s Comic-Con was strangely quiet, especially on the film side, so quiet that Marvel didn’t even have to pull out all the stops to “win” the weekend with their Saturday evening panel. All they had to do was literally show up, which is what they did. Marvel rocked up to Hall H and spent 90% of their panel confirming news we already knew, including confirming that the Black Widow movie is real. This movie has been shooting for weeks.
They did confirm some casting rumors, including Rachel Weisz as a character called “Malena”. No clue who that is, but a lot of people are speculating Weisz could be playing the villain, Taskmaster. That would be very cool. But David Harbour is also in this cast and seems like solid villain casting, too. Also, they confirmed Florence Pugh is playing Yelena Belova, which means she is the next Black Widow in the MCU. I AM HERE FOR IT. I know Marvel likes their secrets and everything, but sometimes the judicious application of information can stir up more excitement. Like maybe just tell us that Rachel Weisz is the villain, because telling me that Pugh is playing Yelena is the most exciting thing about this movie right now, but that’s not high-key exciting for non-comics fans. Rachel Weisz being the villain would probably inspire more headlines.
But Marvel keeps their secrets, so we’re supposed to be excited to have confirmation that this movie is happening after we’ve all seen set photos. They also screened some footage, a fight scene between Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh. They haven’t released it online, but descriptions compare it to Bourne. The second-unit director, Darrin Prescott, is a veteran of the Bourne franchise, and also the John Wick franchise, so my expectations for the action in this movie are high. I’m hoping for some Atomic Blonde-level work here. We’ll see when the trailer finally drops in a few more months. The movie doesn’t come out till May 1, 2020, so we won’t be seeing a trailer for a while.
As for Scarlett Johansson, she got through the day without incident, but I have to say, her reception in Hall H was notably muted. They saved Black Widow for last on the panel, and some people had already left by the time she came out. It’s just another sign they waited too long for this movie. Better late than never, I guess, and I’ll take it just to get to Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, but never was there a surer sign that the timing is off than one of the OG Avengers, and one who went out a hero in the end, being greeted like any other freshman Marvel performer. Going by her intro, you wouldn’t know ScarJo is an OG Avenger. Natalie Portman got a bigger reception, and Jane Foster was nobody’s favorite – until she took the hammer.