The new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer may have used the same spooky "I Have No Strings" tune as the first official trailer, but it gave us Marvel fans a whole lot more scenes and shots to obsess over. For example, why does Black Widow have girlish bangs in Age of Ultron ? In most scenes, she's her regular kickass self. I'm still confused as to why she and the Hulk have apparently taken a moment in the middle of a battle to sing a duet of "Sweet Caroline" (hands... touching hands...) but whatever. Then, all of a sudden, she's looking scared and getting stifled by a crisp-suited, well-manicured woman who then slams Black Wids down on a gurney. Yikes. What is that all about?
Also in the trailer, there are at least two additional female characters we didn't know about before. One disrobes in a cave. Another is behind Thor, though she could be an Asgardian extra. I guess we won't have to worry about this movie passing the Bechdel test. Hawkeye has lines, which is always exciting to me. We saw more from Andy Serkis, whose role is still unknown.
However, this new Black Widow footage is most exciting for a couple of reasons. Here is what I'm thinking.
Seriously, it took several screencaps and squinting at gifs to even get me to believe this was Scarlett Johansson. Did they use CGI to age her down for these scenes? That long hair! Those bangs! Why is she letting that lady push her around? This is not the Natasha that I am used to seeing in the movies. Is this a Black Widow origin flashback? I think so.
The Red Room
As The Mary Sue points out, the evidence is stacking up that Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to take us to the Red Room, a pivotal location in the backstory of Natasha Romanov. It was there that Black Widow trained to be an assassin... and became a ballerina as a cover! That explains the above shot from the last trailer, which I had previously chalked up to Joss Whedon's reported love of ballet. This is, after all, how he discovered Summer Glau, and then incorporated dance into her Firefly character. Who, as The Mary Sue also notes, bares a striking comparison to the Black Widow. I mean seriously, this is a "two by two, hands of blue" homage if I ever saw one.
The Red Room also experimented on their female orphan assassins, which explains the tools.
Here's how this already ties in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, also known as Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver, are being held in a Hydra facility by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, the very same man who, in the comics, kidnapped Natasha and took her to the Red Room Academy. Will Wanda, Pietro and Natasha share an origin story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
We Should Have Seen This Coming
Remember that scene in the first Avengers movie when Black Widow and Hawkeye were having a chit chat, and Clint asked her if she knew how it felt to have your brain pulled out and played with and be "unmade" and she was like "dude, you know that I do." I bet that was an allusion to these scenes to come.
I Put A Spell On You
I can even explain why these flashbacks are occurring in the film. They are likely due to Wanda Maximoff's witch magic, which can alter the reality of our characters and cause them to have dreams or delusions. This goes well with the rumor that Peggy Carter will dance with Steve Rogers in an Age of Ultron scene as well. Remind me to pack tissues to this movie, OK?
It is worth noting that this could also be the work of The Vision, a character who has similar abilities and is played by J.A.R.V.I.S. voice actor Paul Bettany. Don't blame Wanda just yet.
The way this is shot makes it eerily reminiscent of Skye's Mother on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you don't follow the MCU series, this character (played by Dichen Lachman from Dollhouse, another Whedon prohect) was an Inhuman who was harvested to make some white dude (Daniel Whitehall, played by Reed Diamond, also from Dollhouse) young and beautiful again. However, I don't think Natasha is an Inhuman, even if that does end up being the explanation behind Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's abilities. What else could this scene mean?
- She's going in for an emergency appendectomy. They had to do something to cover Scarlet Johannson's IRL pregnancy, right?
- She's undercover as a teen pop star.
- In the past, she had one heck of a gym and health teacher.
Images: Marvel Studios (screengrab); msfili (2), liaisewithlia/Tumblr; ABC (screengrab)