Black Widow
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Which Actors Almost Played Black Widow?

Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of Black Widow is iconic. But what would the MCU have been like if someone else had landed the role?
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With Scarlett Johansson’s next turn as the legendary superspy Black Widow finally in theaters, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Natasha Romanov. Johansson first portrayed the character in 2010’s Iron Man 2, when she was introduced as a way to bring some connective tissue into the budding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her role in that film hinted at her unique past as a former spy, setting her up to be one of the MCU’s most grounded heroes.

However, like all film roles, several actors were considered for the role of Black Widow. Have you ever wondered what the MCU might have been like if someone else was in the role of Natasha?

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt
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Marvel has actually sought out Emily Blunt for action roles twice. First, she was their top choice to portray Black Widow. Then, when the timing on that project didn’t work out for Iron Man 2, they tried to get her to portray Agent Peggy Carter in the first Captain America film. The timing on that project also wouldn’t line up, so Blunt had to pass on that role, too.

Everything turned out for the best, though: Blunt has gone on to build a fascinating career, we got Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter, and the role of Black Widow ended up with the perfect actress for the job.

Natalie Portman

natalie-portman
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One of the earliest contenders for the role of Black Widow was Natalie Portman. The Oscar winner’s rise to fame came in another genre franchise: she played Princess Padme in the Star Wars prequel films.

While she didn’t land the role of Black Widow, Marvel ended up casting her in the MCU eventually. She plays Jane Foster in the first Thor film and is set to reprise her role in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, in what fans hope will be a highly anticipated character arc for Foster from the original comics.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
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One of the biggest names to join the cast of Marvel’s Eternals, which releases in November of this year, is Angelina Jolie. In that film, she’ll be taking the role of Thena, an Eternal with the ability to manipulate cosmic energy to create weapons out of thin air.

Jolie was also originally being considered for the role of Black Widow. The casting would make sense: Jolie’s been in a ton of action movies, so the stunts and athleticism would be nothing new for her. Moreover, she definitely looks the part. Just check out her outfits from the Tomb Raider film! That’s not a million miles away from Natasha Romanov.

Gemma Arterton

gemma-arterton
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Gemma Arterton nearly landed the role of Black Widow on the strength of her performance in the Bond film Quantum of Solace. In that film, she showed off some serious action chops, keeping up with the veteran Daniel Craig and impressing Marvel’s big wigs. However, it wasn’t meant to be: Scarlett Johansson beat Arterton to the audition and wowed the casting director.

The rest, as they say, is history. While it’s fun to imagine what the role might have been like with someone else as Black Widow, Johansson owns this role. You can catch ScarJo take the character out for one last ride starting on July 9, when Black Widow launches in theaters and on Disney Plus.