Black Widow is practically a veteran of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with movie appearances dating back to Iron Man 2 in 2010. She's proved an instant fan fave, probably because as, until [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), she was the only woman on The Avengers team. With a mysterious and tantalising origin story, often alluded to but rarely expanded on, and an enormous fan base, Black Widow seems perfect to head her own film series. Yet she was conspicuously absent from Marvel's phase 3 film release.
For years rumours have been flying back and forth about a Black Widow movie, and fans are constantly asking for confirmation. We've had reports of Nicole Perlman's (Guardians of the Galaxy) shelved Black Widow script, fan campaigns going viral... So just where is the Black Widow movie? It's one of the most asked questions at conventions and in interviews with Scarlet Johansson. Yet so far we have no concrete news at all. The latest quotes from the Lucy star seem hopeful though: she reported that she and MCU kingpin Kevin Feige have talked about the potential Black Widow movie, and that they "share a similar vision."
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 and really focus on—I think I’ve been able to grow with the character, the character’s been able to grow with me.
However, Feige himself is notoriously elusive on the subject. Before the phase 3 release, he categorically stated that the Black Widow movie was unlikely, as they'd rather focus on a new female character's origin story. And of course, that's exactly what was revealed, with Captain Marvel joining the team in 2018.
Just why won't we see a Black Widow movie?
Most of the theories revolve around the idea of Hollywood sexism which is a fair point, considering the ratio of female to male solo films in the current MCU (2008 onwards) is 0:7. However, could the real reason be about money?
Here's where we have to start crunching the numbers, but bear with me. Scarlet Johansson is one of Hollywood's biggest stars right now. She has a net worth of $55 million, and negotiated a whopping $20 million pay rise for Age of Ultron (her previous Marvel salary was $5 million). That was just for a supporting role! The actress could charge Marvel much more for the title role. With Marvel's history (remember when the Avengers threatened to strike over salary back in 2013?) it's possible this is one of the reasons we're not going to see the Russian Avenger in her own film any time soon.
In comparison, Chris Evans is one of the lowest paid stars: he received just $300,000 for the first Captain America film, and his salary increased to $2 million for Age of Ultron. So why would Marvel pay one of Hollywood's biggest names to have her own solo franchise, when they could cast a relative unknown for Captain Marvel instead? Only time will tell on this theory, as no casting has been released for Carol Danvers yet. And if the answer's not in the money, then maybe we're back to sexism for why Natasha's yet to blast onto our screens, solo!
Origin or new adventure: oh, the possibilities!
So what would you like to see in the Black Widow movie? The possibilities really are endless, with Natasha Romanov's comic plot stretching back to the 1960s. In both Age of Ultron and ABC's Agent Carter, we've had intriguing hints about how the Black Widow agents were created, so perhaps a solo movie could expand on this! Or instead of a prequel, maybe it could incorporate flashbacks into a new adventure for Natasha, as she finally takes down the agency that made her.
Fans have been inspired by the idea of a solo movie, creating everything from posters to trailers. This video is the latest to go viral, showing us what the opening sequence for the film could look like...
This version includes Yelena Belov, another graduate of the Red Room, as Natasha's ally-turned-enemy. But there are countless intriguing comic characters who could be revealed in a Black Widow movie, along with characters who already exist within the MCU. Hawkeye is an obvious choice, as he was the one to initially recruit Natasha. It might be more interesting to include Bucky Barnes: in the comic canon, the Winter Soldier trained alongside Natasha before they both turned to the light side. A proper exploration of this plotline might clear up some inconsistencies in the current films (eg: why was the Winter Soldier speaking Russian in [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973), when he was an agent of the German Hydra?) as well as build a relationship between our favourite ex-assassins. Another candidate is Matt Murdock: with Daredevil now officially part of the MCU, could we eventually see the blind vigilante and Natasha work together? And of course it would be excellent to see a team up between Natasha and newbies Avenger Scarlet Witch and Falcon.
The movie could also follow in Widow's comic footsteps: the current Black Widow series by Phil Noto has done phenomenally well, exploring Natasha's personal life, her past, and her mission to help those she hurt.
While it's fun to speculate about what adventures Natasha could have, it seems our imagination is all we'll have for the foreseeable future. If we were going to see a Black Widow film, it's likely she would have been included in Marvel's phase 3 plans. And with Spider-Man now getting (yet another) franchise, it's doubtful there's any room for another spider themed hero. For now, we can hope for a solo film, and look forward to Black Widow's role in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409).