Marvel Has A Secret 'Black Widow Room' To Discuss Major Spoilery Details

The primary appeal of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has long been its interconnectivity. While it may be fun to watch the solo adventures of, say, Thor or Doctor Strange, the real thrill for the MCU's fans came from obsessive, enthused note-taking. Characters and events in one film would inevitably carry over into the next chapter, and a world slowly developed in front of our very eyes. At some point, the MCU — initially set on a familiar Earth — separated from the real world, and became an elaborate constructed realm of its own, all derived from many decades of comic book lore. Like Honoré de Balzac's multi-volume La Comédie Humaine, all the stories would now overlap.

The secondary appeal of the MCU is, of course, based in marketing. Because all the stories now overlap, every small detail and minor character could be teased ahead of time. This led to the popular phenomenon of the Marvel credits stinger, wherein a plot point or a character would be introduced after the credits ran as a preview for an upcoming chapter. The MCU wouldn't conclude, but roll forward into the next, growing rapidly with the constant addition of more and more heroes and villains. As of this writing, the characters of Eros, Pip the Troll, Clea, The Black Knight, Adam Warlock, and Blade have all been teased prior to proper leading appearances. Advertising the next chapter in the MCU is almost more important than absorbing the details of the current one.

And the tertiary appeal of the MCU is its secrecy. Since everything interconnects, and since characters will be introduced in one chapter expressly as a preview for their expanded role in the next, the surprise must be maintained. That secrecy has birthed an entire cottage industry of online Marvel speculation.

The Black Widow Room

Since marketing is such a vital part of the Marvel equation, and speculation must remain at an ever-frenzied pitch, the careful control of information has become of paramount importance. Meetings are held it utmost secrecy, scripts are carefully protected, and actors and directors must all sign non-disclosure agreements to assure that plot details and character appearances are kept under wraps. Once might recall the number of times actor Andrew Garfield insisted he wasn't going to appear in Mark Webb's "Spider-Man: No Way Home," or how coy Paul Bettany was about his involvement in future Marvel projects. This is all done to retain surprises, of course, but also to assure that anticipation for Marvel projects remain constantly at a dull roar. Indeed, Marvel marketing changed what the word "spoiler" means. Anything mandated by the marketing machine is not a spoiler. Anything outside of it is. Spoilers don't spoil plots, necessarily, but are interruptions of the anticipation process. 

To protect information, and to assure that the machine stays humming, many drastic measures have been taken at Marvel headquarters in Burbank, CA. Preventing leaks and keeping out eager prying eyes has become a full time job unto itself, and plot and character details of upcoming MCU chapters are literally kept under lock and key. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios has a special office deep within its headquarters expressly designed for deep cut discussions and story meetings. 

Nicknamed the Black Widow Room — after the Marvel character played by Scarlett Johansson — this secret office has no windows and deliberately has no internet connection. It seems that everything written in that room must be done by hand. Even the building's janitors are not allowed inside. 

Marvel's secret CIA

Another interesting detail from the Hollywood Reporter is the implied existence of what might be called the Marvel CIA. Although little is known about them — by design, of course — Marvel has in its employ a team of researchers and legal experts whose primary job is to find and plug any information leaks. Evidently, this team spends a lot of time online and at Comic-Cons ensuring that exclusive footage doesn't make its way to the public in a fashion outside of Marvel's stringent marketing purview. If you've ever been to a Comic-Con and seen people patrolling the crowd looking for cell phones, they would most assuredly be part of this team. They likely also have to patrol gossip sites and chat groups on Reddit looking for photos and the like. 

Disney, of course, has always been incredibly strict when it comes to its own property. Disney already employs a huge number of legal experts who scour YouTube for unlicensed use of their songs and movies, and is not shy about shutting down bootleggers and mailing out cease-and-desist letters. Disney is so strict, in fact, a joke has begun to circulate about one's personal videos. Should one be afraid that their intimate home movie might be leaked online, one can merely add an audio track of a Disney song underneath it. The video will be offline within the hour.

Perhaps, in many years, once the MCU has finally begun to wane in power and estimation — it will happen eventually — audiences will be treated to interviews with Disney's secret-protecting cabal. Perhaps a fictionalized Disney+ series will be in order. Until then, they remain mythic heroes unto themselves.