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Okay, so Black Widow is one of those characters that not many people actually know much about, at least they didn't before she appeared in Iron Man 2 opposite Robert Downey Jr. Since then she's become a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it doesn't look to stop any time soon.
She's set to face off against her once called friends in this years Captain America: Civil War, and it looks to be a defining film in her career, but maybe there are a few things that you didn't know about her that you may find interesting before it hits theaters in May.
8. Natasha wasn't the first Black Widow
For most people that may be a surprising notion, but in fact Marvel introduced a character also called Black Widow in the early '40s. Her secret identity was madame Claire Voyant, because why wouldn't it be. She appeared in 5 comics over 3 years then disappeared for 50 years but has popped up in a few stories since then. Madame Claire Voyant shared a few similarities with Natasha, such as ruthlessness and willingness to murder. But that's about where it ends since she was resurrected from death by the Devil himself and could transport to and from Hell. I don't remember Natasha ever doing that...
7. Her origins are unknown
As you would imagine with any good spy, there's a bit of misdirection and misinformation when it comes to her backstory. Whether you go by her appearances in the films or in the comics, there's no definitive origin story for her. Some say that she was kidnapped by Baron Von Strucker and trained as an assassin and a ballet dancer. Some say that she was trained in the Red Room, which was a secret Soviet spy facility that weaponized a collection of young girls. Other accounts say that her Bolshoi ballet lessons were simply memories implanted at a young age. If you follow the movie version of Black Widow then Natasha has a mix of both soviet training and ballet.
6. Scarlett Johannson almost wasn't Black Widow
When Black Widow was first joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2, it was almost Emily Blunt in the role. And by almost, I mean she was officially cast, it wasn't an "expressed interest" or "auditioning for" - Emily had the role in the bag, but ultimately she had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Gulliver's Travels in 2010. After Emily dropped out, Marvel considered several actresses including Natalie Portman, Eliza Dushku and even Angelina Jolie before settling on Scarlett.
5. We almost had a Black Widow movie
No, not really about Budapest, but years before Scarlett took the role of Black Widow, there was a script written by David Hayter (X-Men & X-Men 2) for Lionsgate. It was an origin story of sorts that followed her training in the Red Room Academy and her time as an orphan. Hayer was convinced that the movie would get made thanks to the success of female-led films like Kill Bill and Tomb Raider. And then Aeon Flux happened and the script was cancelled 3 days after the film's release. 10+ years later and many fans are still waiting for a Black Widow fronted film.
4. She has more in common with Captain America than you think
Natasha Romanoff was born in 1928 and taken into the secret USSR Black Widow Program. In this program, thanks to her natural athletic ability, she was given a similar super-serum to what Steve Rogers was given to become Captain America. Due to her training and the super-serum, she has near superhuman strength, agility, immunity and ages incredibly slowly. During her time with the Red Room Academy after being injected with the Soviet version of the super-soldier serum, she was trained by none other than Steve Roger's oldest friend: James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes. At this time he had completely morphed into his Winter Soldier persona and trained her to defeat the Avengers.
3. She's a team player
Now, you would assume that being an elite Soviet assassin, you'd spend a great part of your life and career acting on solo operations. Except our lovely Black Widow can't seen to go it alone, as she's joined numerous teams over the years including: Agent of Shield, The Lady Liberators, Heroes for Hire, Secret Avengers & The Champions of Los Angeles.
2. She's known a few men in her life
Over her time in the comics, Natasha has crossed paths and gotten involved with several characters. Her most well known relationship is with Hawkeye, although he was the first relationship mentioned in the comics, it wasn't her last relationship. After Hawkeye, Natasha fell into relationships with Daredevil (even going so far as moving to San Fransisco with him), Bucky Barnes & even Hercules.
1. She was a villain first
Even though she's currently one of the more popular heroes in the Marvel Universe, her first appearance (as herself not Claire Voyant) was actually as a villain who opposed S.H.I.E.L.D.. Through her early career, she associated all America heroes as a threat and considered them all Avengers who she sought to be in conflict with. One of her earliest missions was an assassination attempt on Iron Man, and very shortly after she clashed with Spider-Man. It was after falling in love with Hawkeye that they both decided to form an alliance with the Avengers, and she defected from Mother Russia.