In 2021, Marvel Studios launches its second film centered on a superheroine: “Black Widow”. After Captain Marvel, it’s Black Widow’s turn to have her solo adventure. But did you know that this project dates back to 2004?
Black Widow: the return of Scarlett Johansson
Released July 7, 2021, Black Widow marks Scarlett Johansson’s eighth appearance in the skin of The Black Widow. It was in 2010 that the character appeared for the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with a small role in Iron Man 2.
She then returns to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War the four movies avengers. She even finds death in Avengers: Endgamebut returns in Black Widowunfolding between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Black Widow is also an opportunity for Marvel Studios to highlight a talented filmmaker: Cate Shortland. In front of the camera, Scarlett Johansson is surrounded by a cast including Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone, and even David Harbor as the Red Guardian.
Unfortunately, Black Widow did not receive necessarily very positive feedback, and the film made a more timid score than the majority of MCU films with “only” $379 million in box office receipts.
A long-standing project
The film’s main problem Black Widow is that it arrived much too late. Viewers weren’t really keen on seeing a solo Black Widow adventure anymore, especially after her recent death in Avengers: Endgame.
However, this film project on Natasha Romanoff goes back a very long time. The first time it’s about the movie Black Widow, it’s 2004 when the MCU doesn’t exist yet. The Lionsgate studio acquires the character of The Black Widow. David Hayter, the screenwriter of the first two films X-Menis even hired to write the screenplay and possibly direct this film about the famous Marvel spy.
Unfortunately, nothing concrete comes to fruition.
It’s with Iron Man 2 that the idea of making a film Black Widow is restarted. The character gains popularity with Tony Stark, and Kevin Feige is slowly starting to launch his MCU. At the time, the producer even announced that discussions were underway around a solo film on The Black Widow.
In 2014, Nicole Perlman signed a first version of the screenplay which remains unfinished. In 2015, the flashbacks of Avengers: Age of Ultron serve to present the past of the heroine but also a teaser for the solo film that is being prepared.
Things are speeding up
At the time, several directors were in the running to take the helm of this new film. Neil Marshall (The Descent) and David Hayter (him again) are in pole position. But the MCU’s agenda is too busy and the film is still long overdue.
In 2017, things are finally picking up speed. Kevin Feige officially launches the film Black Widow and entrusts the writing of the screenplay to Jac Schaeffer (Wanda Vision) and Ned Benson. Scarlett Johansson, for her part, a fan of the film Lore, contacts director Cate Shortland and offers her the job. She accepts, and Kevin Feige does not see any inconvenience.
And while things are looking up for the film, it is seeing its production and release date delayed due to the health crisis.
Originally, the film was to be released on May 1, 2020. After more than a year of delay, the feature film was finally released on July 7, 2021. In the USA, it is released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+. A decision that led Scarlett Johansson to file a complaint against the studio.