If Marvel Was Committed to Black Widow She’d Have a Release Date Already

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It’s time to update Black Widow’s Marvel Movie Status. Or is it?

As far back as 2010, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has been talking about the possibility of a Black Widow solo film starring Scarlett Johansson. In my last post on this topic I broke down just how many times over the years this conversation has been had, how no progress has actually been made, and that there are no good excuses for putting it off as long as they have.

Feige spoke to Fandango just this past April about it again:

As far as whether Marvel has any plans to produce additional female-led films, Feige says they do, just not between now and 2019. “Yes, for sure, I think [Black] Widow at some point would be great,” he teases. “But when you start talking about things that are now four/five years away… sometimes we do that. Dr. Strange has been talked about for 10 years. But we’re focused on the next nine movies, which is a lot, between now and 2019.”

Sure, sometimes they do that. When it’s a male character they think can’t fail. First they wanted to focus on The Avengers. Sure, but fans soon realized other characters kept taking priority. So we’ve gone from working on a Black Widow solo film in 2010 to not having one on Marvel’s slate until at least 2020. And you can bet if Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman film isn’t a runaway box office hit, we won’t be seeing her get a film for the foreseeable future.

Just a few days ago, Anthony and Joe Russo (directors of Captain America: Civil War) had this to say about a Black Widow solo film to Collider:

ANTHONY RUSSO: It’s a no-brainer, right?

JOE RUSSO: I don’t think [it’ll take] much. I think it’s just a function of where on the slate it goes. She’s a bad-ass.

It can go anywhere on the slate. If Marvel really wanted it to.

But the latest news making headlines is another “say a lot of nothing” from Feige. Deadline asked him about solo films for characters from the MCU who’ve yet to have them:

DEADLINE: You’ve got a bunch of characters in this movie from Falcon and War Machine and Black Widow and Hawkeye, who have so far guest starred in movies with another characters title above the fold. Is there one destined to get a solo movie down the line?
FEIGE: We’ve announced the next nine movies, 10 counting Civil War, through the end of 2019. Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.
DEADLINE: Why?
FEIGE: We think she’s an amazing character. We think Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her is amazing. She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.

No one should believe this means anything different than the last several times he’s talked about a Black Widow film. And no, it doesn’t surprise me that out of Falcon, War Machine, Black Widow, and Hawkeye Feige would say Black Widow would be the one they’d go forward with. I’m not sure many people have been calling for a Hawkeye movie but Fandango recently conducted a poll for USA Today in which they asked over 1,000 Civil War ticket-buyers which character they’d like to see get a solo film. The results were as follows:

48% said Scarlett Johansson’s secret agent was the Avenger they’d most want to watch in a standalone feature. Paul Bettany’s android Vision received 15% of the vote, followed by Anthony Mackie’s winged Falcon (12%), Jeremy Renner’s ace archer Hawkeye (10%), Don Cheadle’s armored War Machine (8%) and Elizabeth Olsen’s magical heroine Scarlet Witch (7%).

Is Johansson waiting by her phone for Marvel? No, she’s got a successful career outside of the superhero genre and asking her to hang on until 2020 to give this character her due is obscene. And who knows where the next four years will leave the superhero movie landscape. While countless journalists have asked Feige whether Marvel has interest in making a Black Widow film none to my knowledge have asked the more relevant question – why have you prioritized sequels and debuts for other characters before her?

It’s been proven over and over again, films focusing on women make money. Why not make more of them?

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  • wondercube

    Black Widow needs to happen. Plain and simple. I really hate the thought superhero movies might burn out, especially before I see the movies/characters I want to see. But they’ve been existing pretty steadily over the last 16 years, so it seems like it could keep going? Action movies will always be popular, why not superhero movies? As long as they keep providing interesting stories I think it can/should continue.

    There are so many interesting avenues for them to go down. I’m pretty sure we’ll have a riot on our hands if they make it to phase 4 and don’t put Widow on the slate.

    It is disconcerting how their “grand plan” can have no variation, yet they keep pushing back films to add in more movies about white guys.

  • Zefram Mann

    Honestly, seeing Johannsson folding men in half with her punches and kicks in Civil War just makes me salivate for her getting her own movie, hopefully with the same fight choreographer. This needs to happen.

    • wondercube

      Yes, her fights were fantastic.

  • Stephen “Soup” Strange

    Mostly unrelated: I hope that Sharon Stone plays Helen in the Captain Marvel movie.

  • An excellent Black Widow film is easily doable and needs to happen, and it’d be far less expensive than the special effects affairs of normal superhero films. 5 Bourne films and countless Bond films prove it can be done. In fact, I’d rather see more films put out with characters like Widow, Punisher, Elektra, etc, because that stuff is more interesting to me anyway (not that I don’t absolutely love Spidey and would love Silk or Spider-Gwen to get their own films).

  • Jason Rye

    The difference now is Pearlmutter being ousted, he was the most vocal “no” over a woman lead Marvel film and would not green light any. Hell, at first I bet Feige conned him into thinking the Captain Marvel movie was about Mar-Vell and not Carol to get it green lighted.

  • bandit_queen

    Oh, you have “a lot to do” before a BW solo movie? What a terrible, completely unforseeable and unpreventable situation you find yourself in! Are these movies naturally occurring phenomena that appear out of nowhere on your calendar and demand to be made? Are they immutable, fixed points in the space-time continuum? Are they holding your family hostage? Please tell us how we can help, Kevin. We are so sympathetic to your plight. /s

    • Anna

      shhhhhh they can’t change The Schedule™

  • VindicaSean

    Aside from RDJ, she’s probably got the most star power of anyone in the current lineup. As such, her salary ask may be too high for Marvel’s tastes (Read: “I want RDJ’s “Jack Nicholson for Joker” deal”). Which would be smart on her part, and leaving money on the table on Marvel’s part. Though I understand Downey’s got a % cut of grosses/merch (I think) on top of a per-movie payday. It really wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it came down to a payday issue, especially given recent reveals about salary issues in Hollywood across the board. The deflecting might just be Marvel trying to pressure her in public to just make the movie already for a lower payday (which is shitty, but the current business climate of the film industry has it happening often on both sides of the table– just look how The Rock got in the DC Captain Marvel casting for Black Adam).

    ETA: I’m in no way defending Marvel, here. Just trying to figure out some kind of real reason (shitty as it may be, see above).

  • the silver ravens

    i am super curious to see what they would do with a black widow movie i am not that familiar with her character and i actually never read anything with her in it before the first avengers movie came out like what would the villain of her movie be?

    • wondercube

      Probably the Red Room (organization that trained her from childhood) or the KGB, potentially. She’d very likely run into another Widow that would directly oppose her as a primary antagonist. Yelena Belova would most likely feature in at some point, were Nat to get her own franchise.

      • I don’t know, I prefer Ivan, I love me some feminist stories of Tasha rebelling against her patriarch.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Sadly true. ^^;
    I predict we will see a third Wonder Woman movie, a Birds of Prey film and a Gotham Sirens movie before we see a Black Widow movie.

    • WheelchairNinja

      I predict we will see… a Birds of Prey film

      Don’t toy with my emotions, dangit! ;)

      • Nuuni Nuunani

        Honestly its not that far fetched. DC considers it one of their more important superhero teams, its a part of the Batman family which gets all the attention, and we already have rumors out there of it being on the table.