It’s been over eight years since we met Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2. The MCU was still in its infancy. Only Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk had been released, and Avengers was just a twinkle in Joss Whedon’s weird, tiny eye. Since then, it has exploded into the juggernaut we all know and feel bombarded by. We’ve had another Iron Man film, three Thor films, two films featuring a talking raccoon, and Benedict Cumberbatch in a fake looking goatee. But never a Black Widow movie. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
However, after years of badgering, Kevin Feige is finally pulling the trigger on a Black Widow movie. And now, after a search that probably didn’t need to be as intense as it was, The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Black Widow has a director: Australian director Cate Shortland. Shortland joins a film that has been in development for nearly four years.
Long Time Coming
Feige “expressed interest” in making a Black Widow solo film ever since she debuted. For the next years, he would hem, haw, and tease the public that demanded a solo film for a female hero. For a while, Black Widow’s big role in Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier gave Marvel an edge against DC’s testosterone-poisoned films. And the fans were rabid for her to get her own film. But then Wonder Woman came out.
Suddenly, Marvel didn’t have the edge. Soon, Natasha wouldn’t even get to be the first female Marvel hero to get her own film. Captain Marvel is going to beat her to that punch. That, and Scarlett Johansson’s recent…unique choice in roles, klled some of the enthusiasm for the film.
Narrowing Down The (Very Long) Shortlist
The first real signs of life came earlier this year, when TiMER scribe Jac Schaeffer signed on to write the script. Even then, nothing was certain. It took another half a year for them to nail down Shortland. For some reason, it’s really hard to find a female director in Hollwood. While most other MCU films went had a list of three or four possible directors, Black Widow had a list of over 70. Shortland was Johannson’s pick, but Marvel also considered Amma Asante (Belle, A United Kingdom), Maggie Betts (Novitiate), and Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) for the chair. Shortland was Johannson’s pick, however, as the actress was a fan of her WWII drama Lore. Shortland would be another director, like James Gunn and Taika Waititi, to jump from indie film to franchise tent pole.
The new film is still pretty damn up in the air. While we now have a creative team, the script is just a draft. It will be set before Avengers and will probably be an origin story. It’s just a shame that they’re probably going to be a decade too late.