Where would the Avengers be without Black Widow?
Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) couldn't have defeated Loki (Tom Hiddleston) without her help in 2012's The Avengers. As such, Scarlett Johansson is reprising her role as former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in Marvel Studios' Avengers: Age of Ultron, out May 1.
"There have been unbelievably powerful female characters in the comics for decades and decades, so it's always on our minds: 'Where can we bring powerful women from the pages of the comics up onto the screen?'" Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says in a featurette, debuting exclusively on E! News.
Johansson argues that while Black Widow's motivations aren't always clear, her character's intentions are pure. "Natasha's not exactly a team player, but she knows that she belongs with the Avengers," she explains.
In director Joss Whedon's sequel, the Avengers assemble after the emergence of Ultron, a technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. The killer robot (James Spader) isn't the superheroes' only threat, however. Twins Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), a.k.a. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, hail from an Eastern European country known as Sokovia that used to be a S.H.I.E.L.D post. HYDRA's Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Krestschmann) used Loki's scepter for human experimentation, giving the siblings the powers of speed (Quicksilver) and magic (Scarlet Witch). Though the two originally side with Ultron, the twins eventually join forces with the Avengers.
"Joss was really interested in creating another female character that was strong," Olsen says. "Through Scarlet Witch and Black Widow, we're broadening the world."
Johansson agrees with the new cast member, saying, "I think it makes the audience more invested in the future of these characters, so that's pretty cool."
The star recently told E! News she likes "the physical part" of the franchise, saying, "I like the fight choreography stuff and getting new weapons. I'm pretty active."
Avengers: Age of Ultron also stars Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Paul Bettany (J.A.R.V.I.S./Vision), Don Cheadle (James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Stellan Skarsgård (Erik Selvig) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill).
Julie Delpy and Linda Cardellini also appear in the film; their roles are secret.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters May 1.