We’re gonna come out and say it: Black Widow deserves better. Scarlett Johansson spent more than a decade as one of the central pillars of the MCU, and yet the character never really got her flowers. By the time she finally got a solo movie, she’d already been killed off. And now, we just learned that she has even less screen time across the franchise than Moon Knight. Moon Knight?!
Look, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a lot bigger now than when Natasha Romanoff first showed up in Iron Man 2, but we were still shocked by this ranking of the MCU characters by screen time over on Reddit. As expected, Iron Man, Thor, and Loki rank high, but we were shaken to see Natasha in ninth place behind Moon Knight in eighth. That’s the same Moon Knight who starred in one season of a Disney Plus show and hasn’t been mentioned since.
According to the Reddit ranking, Black Widow has 174.8 minutes in the spotlight across the MCU, while Moon Knight – in his various guises – has been on screen for 175.3 minutes. Even Doctor Strange is only just ahead of the mysterious mercenary, with 176.9 minutes on screen.
This isn’t a critique of Moon Knight at all. We had a lot of fun with his Marvel series, even if it didn’t quite stick the landing, and we would dearly love to hear Oscar Isaac’s absurd accents again. But it seems wrong to us that Moon Knight has been on screen more than such an important character. Obviously, the fact that he was the lead of a six-episode TV series helped his numbers.
Natasha, it’s fair to say, looms larger as a presence. When you watch the Marvel movies in order, Black Widow is very much a key player. Her sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame to retrieve the Soul Stone was a devastating moment, far more powerful than anything that has happened to Moon Knight so far.
Black Widow has suffered from the early MCU’s heavy reliance on its core group of male heroes. The first few team-up movies are almost entirely geared towards watching Robert Downey Jr. and the Chrises sparring, while Natasha had little to do beyond her occasional awesome fight sequences.
Thankfully, this is a lesson Marvel has learned in the years since, with The Marvels delivering three female heroes for the price of one. As we wrote in our The Marvels review, it’s one of the best movies we’ve seen from the MCU in a long time.
As for Moon Knight, we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll get a Moon Knight season 2 release date in the near future. The Moon Knight ending introduced us to a third persona in the darker Jake Lockley. So it seems Moon Knight might be one of the best Marvel villains in the future, as well as a hero with some serious powers.
And heck, if he starts popping up in upcoming Marvel movies, he could end up being the character with the most screen time in the whole franchise by the end of Marvel Phase 6. Watch out RDJ; he’s coming for your crown.
As for the more immediate future of Marvel’s Phase 5, we’ve got some new movies on the way very soon, starting with Deadpool 3. And we’re back on the small screen just in time for the holiday season with the What If…? season 2 release date joining everything new on Disney Plus.
But you almost certainly want to look deeper into the Marvel world, so find out how Loki became a tree long before his MCU transformation. We’ve also pondered whether the superhero genre is doomed if the MCU dies. Cheery stuff!