The Avengers: Age of Ultron has already begun filming in several international locations, and based on what we've heard about the shooting schedule the production team are likely to stay busy right through the summer. Chris Hemsworth recently revealed that he doesn't join production for another two months, but when he does he'll spend four months filming in London.
Scarlett Johansson, however, will need to get her scenes wrapped up as quickly as possible, as she's expecting a child with her fiancé Romain Dauriac. Since Johansson is already about four or five months pregnant, an inside source has said that her scenes for The Avengers: Age of Ultron are being fast-tracked so that she won't have to carry out such physically demanding work in the later stages of her pregnancy - and also so that Black Widow won't have a mysterious baby bump.
Though the news was only recently revealed to the general public, it's pretty safe that say that Marvel has probably been aware for some time. Speaking to Collider, Marvel's President of Production Kevin Feige concurred with Johansson's assurances that things are still going full steam ahead, and said that the script for The Avengers: Age of Ultron hasn't been changed in any way:
"My first reaction was I was very happy for her and very excited for her, and my second reaction was we’ve gotta move some pieces on the chess board around schedule-wise. But we didn’t change the script at all, which is sort of the most important things for us in terms of the storyline. I think the goal is for us to sit here talking about the fact that you would never know that Black Widow was pregnant during the filming of the movie when you see the final version of Avengers 2."
A stunt double will likely be on hand to stand in for Johansson for some of the more ridiculous moves that Black Widow pulls off, and after making Chris Evans look incredibly skinny and under-developed in Captain America: The First Avenger, taking care of a visible baby bump shouldn't be too much trouble for Marvel's VFX team.
Johansson and Dauriac's happy announcement also got people discussing how it might affect the potential for a Black Widow movie. If Natasha Romanoff does get her own standalone title, however, it's likely to be some way down the line. Marvel releases have been officially announced through to 2015 and it's looking very likely that a Doctor Strange movie is next on the development agenda (with films like Captain America 3, Thor 3, and Inhumans likely to help round out "Phase 3" of the Marvel Movie-Verse).
That's not to say that Black Widow is automatically off the cards, however; ComingSoon reports that Feige discussed the possibility in a press conference for the fast-approaching Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
"I think the idea would be great. We've got various outlines and ideas of where to take that. As Scarlett already said, there's a big element that explores her back story in an upcoming Marvel feature. The question really is, 'When will we take her out of the ensemble and have her do her own thing?' As you saw in ['Captain America: The Winter Soldier'], as you'll see in 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' she's really the key to so much of the plot development."
Feige has previously said that Marvel Studios has movies planned right through to 2021, so if ideas are already being thrown around for a Black Widow movie it's very possible that it's on the schedule already - even if we have to wait seven years to see it.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will arrive in theaters on April 4, 2014. The Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled for release on May 1, 2015.