Concept art for Black Widow’s early character design in Avengers: Infinity War is so much better than what she ended up with in the movie. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has regularly changed her wardrobe and hairdo one movie after the next, from Iron Man 2 to Captain America: Civil War, and her most notable update was changing her hair from red to platinum blonde for Infinity War.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow’s updated look divided fans – especially on account of her new hair color. Though all of the central heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe go through their own changes from time to time (Tony Stark’s Mark III armor in the first Iron Man is a far cry from his Mark L armor in Avengers: Infinity War and even Steve Rogers gave his Captain America look a major redesign over the years), Black Widow’s was the most apparent. As it turns out, though, early character designs for her character in the film were much different.
In Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War – The Art of the Movie, Marvel Studios Visual Development Director Andy Park provided some insight on Black Widow’s physical transformation in Avengers: Infinity War. He explains how he crafted Nat’s look in the film, sharing that the original design didn’t include the platinum blonde hair color. It wasn’t until later on in the design process that he found out about her new hairstyle, which he explained “conceptually totally made sense since she’s in hiding.” As for the overall look, he said:
“The idea is that she’s on the run so she doesn’t have the ability or time to create a whole new costume, but she can add to her existing one. So I tried a variety of options, from giving her a tactical vest to a scarf to a few additional armored pieces. I also gave her batons attached to a sleek, slimmed-down backpack to give her silhouette an additional flare.”
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have previously explained why Black Widow had to go through a drastic physical change, supporting Park’s comments in the art book. Black Widow, Captain America, and Falcon have been on the run following their refusal to adhere to the Sokovia Accords, operating underground as rogue heroes while the US government continues hunting them down. And, since Natasha is no stranger to keeping things discreet, given that she’s a former spy, she understands that altering her look is one of the most effective (and easiest) methods to remain incognito.
Black Widow’s hair was the main departure from Park’s initial design. That said, there are smaller details that weren’t used in the film, including her neck scarf (something also included in early concept art for Captain America) and a hooded vest, which would have also been nice a touch to her ensemble. Otherwise, her suit, in general, is more or less the same as her outfit in Captain America: Civil War.
As revealed by leaked photos from the set of Avengers 4 during reshoots, Black Widow will eventually return to her iconic red hair as she joins her fellow core Avenger teammates in tackling the consequences of Thanos’ snap from Avengers: Infinity War. However, unlike other principal heroes in the MCU who may not make it out of Avengers 4 alive, fans will still be able to see her on the big screen after next year’s ensemble flick with her long-overdue standalone movie finally on the way.