An off-the-cuff remark is causing speculation that a Black Widow star may return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future. No, we aren’t talking about Florence Pugh playing Yelena Belova – we’re talking about O-T Fagbenle, who dropped a hint about his possible MCU return. Fagbenle, who played Rick Mason in Scarlett Johansson’s solo film last year, teased the possibility of a return with SlashFilm.
We’ve already seen Pugh’s Yelena return in Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye last fall, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for more Black Widow characters to pop up in Phase 4 of the MCU, or beyond. Pugh’s appearance in Hawkeye was well-received by fans, and Marvel Studios has shown that they are willing to let secondary characters play a larger role in the Marvel storyline. That appears to be the case with O-T Fagbenle’s Mason, as he reportedly told SlashFilm that his discussions with Marvel Studios indicated that his role in Black Widow might continue somehow. “I mean, you know what, with Marvel, I’m never sure how much they can say about stuff, but I’ll just say that it wasn’t a one-and-done conversation,” he said in the interview.
Marvel fans are sure to speculate wildly about what sort of role Mason could play post-Black Widow, as many of them initially assumed he would turn out to be the character of Taskmaster (he wasn’t, of course, but if you haven’t seen Black Widow, we won’t spoil who it was). Murphy’s Multiverse theorized Mason could pop up in Armor Wars, which makes a lot of sense, considering his background. With the Marvel universe suddenly a bit short on star power, with Iron Man, Steve Rogers’ Captain America, and Black Widow (among others) not returning, Marvel Studios would be smart to highlight secondary characters who “click” with audiences. Although Black Widow wasn’t the strongest of the recent Marvel films, Fagbenle’s Mason and David Harbour’s Alexei/Red Guardian were bright spots, making their future return to the MCU a strong possibility.
This isn’t the first time Fagbenle has teased a possible future for Mason. His character’s versatility makes it possible for him to pop up somewhere else in the MCU, on film or television. “He’s a guy who can hook people up,” he told Comedy Central UK while promoting Black Widow. “I think there are some other Marvel characters that might need some help from Mason.”
Fagbenle also revealed that there wasn’t a written backstory for Rick Mason and Natasha for the actors to pull from, so he and Scarlett Johansson made up much of it on their own. In fact, he teased that in their first scene together in Black Widow, much of their interaction ended up on the cutting room floor. What moviegoers didn’t see was Mason and Natasha laying on a bed while the two talked. He refused to provide further details, so it isn’t clear if the two had a romantic past, or if they are just platonic friends, much like Natasha’s relationship with Hawkeye.
Fagbenle was already one of Hollywood’s most talked-about actors when Black Widow premiered last year and he caught the attention of Marvel movie fans. He earned an Emmy nomination in 2021 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. He can currently be seen in AppleTV’s limited series WeCrashed.