Making sure Black Widow matters? What am I going on about this week? Well, stick with me. There has always been a sense of a collective fan ‘meh’ when it comes to Black Widow. That’s the price for being a prequel. No matter what danger Natasha finds herself in, we know she will be fine. Essentially, Natasha is immortal, why? Because we know her death comes later in Avengers: Endgame.
We know as an audience that everything will be fine when we watch Black Widow, because of the fact it’s a prequel. In general fans of a franchise don’t like prequels as much as sequels. However, it is possible to have a prequel that is both surprising and rewarding. I don’t know if Black Widow will be like this, or the usual prequel fare, but I know which one I want to see. I’m going to keep this a shorter read this week and explore one key aspect of the upcoming Black Widow movie. How to make Black Widow matter
Making Sure Black Widow Matters
I have read and watched my fair share of prequels and there are two ways that writers and authors attempt to make a prequel matter. Option one is to focus on the characters, exploring how certain characters became the people we know from the later stories. Now, that’s fine in some sprawling pic fantasy novel, but not the MCU. Widow is not going to go through some life-affirming deep changes? Will Nat get some much-needed character moments in the movie? Yes I’m sure. However, that is not going make Black Widow matter to me.
Option two is to tell a story that makes you look at original and later stories in a new light. I think this is what I wanted, and yet never really got from the Star Wars prequels, though it had some good ideas. The infamous clones of The Clone War being the genesis of the Stormtroopers was one. How Palpatine turned the Republic into the Empire from the inside out is another. Or, what about the fact that the Jedi’s dogmatic views really helped shape their downfall. This is what I call the meat of a story being played with. Alas, good ideas were badly executed on those Star Wars prequels, for this fan anyway. So just what could be done with Black Widow?
What This Fan Wants
An easy one to start off with is an exploration of Florence Pugh’s Yelena character. Black Widow might be Scarlett Johansson’s swansong MCU movie, however, this can be an origin story for Yelena. Having Yelena’s story continue on after the events of Black Widow and becoming an integral part of the MCU makes it matter far more. Now, there is a passing the torch aspect to the movie which adds another layer to the movie. That’s not quite enough for me, but it will do for starters. What about the villains?
I get that whatever immediate threat is faced by Nat in Black Widow has to be resolved. However, it does need to be resolved in a nice little neat bow. What if the events of Black Widow and what happens to the antagonists has a ripple effect? There are even opportunities to play with the fact that audiences know what comes next.
For example, let’s say that the movie ends with Black Widow foiling the bad guys’ plans. Maybe they become too well known to play their old games, or they are forced to seek new allies? Imagine a scenario where the characters think the future is going to go one way at the end of the film. However, the audience, who knows that the Universe shattering events of Infinity War are to follow is in the know. It feels good as an audience member at times for you to have far more information than the characters to do about their fates. It gives us the power to immediately know something that happens isn’t going to work, or won’t last. That’s fun in a movie or a book.
Wrap It Up, Fanboy
Ultimately, there is one path I think could tick all these boxes for me. Thunderbolts. It’s been rumored for some time that a Thunderbolts movie or TV series could be coming. If you don’t know the basic gist, the Thunderbolts are like the Avengers without any heroes. Superpowers, yes, moral compass, no. I have been thinking for some time that the movie I’d do a lot of set up for Thunderbolts in is Black Widow. We know General/Senator Ross is in the movie, and he could become the leader of the Thunderbolts. What if the events of Black Widow set in motion the events of Falcon and The Winter Soldier? What if this is all leading to a need for a new Avengers team, because the Thunderbolts are a bad idea?
If Black Widow is like a linchpin for what comes next, then it matters. I’m sure I’m like most fans, we just want Black Widow to be a great movie right? Well for me, Black Widow needs to really stand out to matter, and if it doesn’t matter then it becomes too much of a throwaway movie. I don’t want Black Widow to be one last chance for ScarJo to be center stage. If I was in charge, I’d be making sure Black Widow matters to the MCU as a whole.
What do you want to see from Black Widow, what would make work for you? Leave your thoughts below as always.
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