Ever since Marvel Studios first introduced Black Widow in 2010, the Russian spy has become increasingly more integral to the MCU. Supporting roles in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers led to a lead role beside Steve Rogers in Captain America: Winter Soldier, where Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of Natasha Romanoff became a firm favorite among fans. Plus, it's nice to see a strong female lead operating in the MCU, especially after hearing the sad news that Marvel cancelled Agent Carter.
It's been a long road, but last year, Kevin Feige finally confirmed that Scarlett Johansson's #BlackWidow will indeed star in her own movie somewhere down the line. More good news? His announcement coincided perfectly with Feige's reveal about the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.
When Will 'Black Widow' Be Released?
Since then, things have been rather quiet on the Russian front. Fortunately though, it turns out that a solo Black Widow movie is never too far from #ScarlettJohansson's mind. Speaking to a MTV News correspondent at the Oscars, the Marvel heroine gave us an important update on the film's time frame.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around Infinity War which is like… the production is an infinity. And then I’ll let you know afterward.”
Sure, it's somewhat disheartening to hear that the Black Widow film is being put on the back burner yet again. However, Johansson also revealed that she regularly discusses the project with Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers and a host of female led sci-fi projects;
“Of course, we talk about it all the time… We text each other back and forth. Little spidey emojis.”
#AvengersInfinityWar is set for release on 2018, which means that production on a solo Black Widow film could happen sooner than we think. In the meantime though, let's take a look at how this production became tangled in such a complicated web.
Is Marvel Sexist?
It hasn't always been smooth sailing for the ex-Soviet spy. While the majority of her super-powered teammates have starred in their own solo ventures, Black Widow has remained conspicuously absent from the Marvel film roster, despite Scarlett Johansson's bankability as a movie star, and the character's enduring popularity.
To make matters worse, fans expressed outrage at Black Widow's portrayal in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the usually competent spy was reduced to a damsel in distress upon her capture in the movie's third act. In the eyes of Black Widow fans, Joss Whedon might as well have tied Romanoff to some train tracks at that point, and twiddled his moustache.
As if that weren't bad enough, the highly publicized lack of Black Widow merchandise became the final straw for many, prompting an online barrage of accusations against Marvel Studios that labelled the company as misogynist.
What Does Scarlett Johansson Think?
After Black Widow's profile was raised in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Scarlett Johansson herself weighed in on the odds of a Black Widow solo movie, telling Collider:
"I think that there’s room for a standalone movie. The character has a really rich origin story and I’ve been really fortunate to kind of place all these layers on top of one another and kind of build up this character to this point where I think I can now start to peel them away and reveal different sides of her."
Black Widow first appeared in a comic book called Tales of Suspense #52 back in 1964, so there's decades of material to draw from, but which 'sides' of her character will be inspired by the comics?
Which Solo Black Widow Story Will Marvel Adapt First?
Audiences have grown tired of superhero origin stories — we've all seen Bruce Wayne's parents die a billion times already — but it's likely that flashbacks to Black Widow's past as a KGB agent will feature alongside a present day story arc that can utilize Scarlett Johansson's star-power to the fullest.
While stories such as Itsy Bitsy Spider and Raison D'Etre could be effective on the big screen, our money is on Name of the Rose, a more personal tale that would continue to explore the morality of Black Widow's past while also providing Marvel with the option to cast Captain America and the Winter Soldier in supporting roles. Gotta keep that extended universe going, right?
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At the premiere of Captain America: Civil War, Scarlett Johansson was 31 years old. Judging by the current Marvel movie schedule, the actress may be at least 35 by the time a solo Black Widow movie is ready to be released. That shouldn't be an issue — Chris Evans is 34 right now and Robert Downey Jr. is 51 — but Hollywood is notorious for its ageist approach to casting, particularly when it comes to women.
Whether it takes one year or ten years, it looks like a Black Widow movie is finally on the horizon. Now all we have to do is infiltrate Kevin Feige's office and interrogate him KGB style for some specifics. After all, if Marvel's head honcho doesn't back this film soon after Avengers: Infinity War drops, we could be in for an octogenarian Black Widow who puts down her pistols in favor of a badass walking stick.