Collider recently spoke with Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo and they chatted about doing a standalone Black Widow film. They both endorse it, with Anthony saying, “It’s a no-brainer, right?” and Joe adding, “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 badass.”
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow first arrived in theaters in Iron Man 2 and since then has become a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, despite other Avengers stars like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and even Ant-Man getting time to shine, it appears Black Widow will get a decade of Marvel movies under her belt without ever getting her own spotlight. And she’s helped save the world, like, four times.
In Tales From the Script, X-Men writer David Hayter said he was working on a Black Widow movie, set into motion during a successful run of female action flicks like Kill Bill, Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil.
But when the studios followed this trend with a run of awful films, including Aeon Flux, they decided to pull the plug on a Black Widow film. Imagine if they stopped making male action hero films just because of Green Lantern or X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
Besides, Scarlett Johansson is a big moneymaker. Other than Samuel L. Jackson, she has by the far the best box-office totals of any other Avengers star. And she has already proven that she can headline an action film by herself — Lucy opened on the same day in 2014 as Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules and earned $15 million more, despite being R-rated. Moviegoers have proven they are happy to see a good action movie with a female lead — Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sicario, and Spy are just a few recent examples. And The Hunger Games franchise has made more than $2 billion.
Putting aside the business of moviemaking, there are artistic reasons to make a Black Widow film, not least of all: She’s an interesting character. There are various origin stories, but basically she was trained to be an assassin and is a villainous character before she finds redemption through the Avengers — a story that would be a nice addition to Marvel’s slate.
We’re going to have to wait until 2018 to get a movie with a female hero in the title, and even then the Wasp is sharing it with Ant-Man. It won’t be until 2019 that we get our first true female lead, Captain Marvel. Yet a character we all know and like played by a huge movie star who has already stated interest in giving it a go, only gets to be a supporting character.
There is a wild gender imbalance in comic book movies, and while one Black Widow movie won’t solve this problem, it’s a step in the right direction.