One of the more interesting characters to currently occupy the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson’s mysterious superspy has consistently played second fiddle to her fellow Avengers to become one of the most talked about, discussed, and beloved characters on the team. That’s not a bad reputation for one of the only non-superpowered heroes in the universe. Her humanity makes her ripe for exploration, and her skills lay a foundation for a character worthy of a movie of her own.
Strangely, a Black Widow movie has yet to appear. Despite the popularity of the character, Johansson has been relegated to a second-tier status, serving as a side character in other movies. From her first appearance in Iron Man 2, Natasha Romanoff has remained a bit of an enigma. With all the recent calls for a female led superhero film, you’d think that Black Widow would be fast-tracked into a production, but still fans wait. Once again, though, the possibility of a Black Widow movie has been teased by the powers that be at Marvel Studios.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige spoke during the press day for Captain America: Civil War about the plans for the MCU post-Avengers: Infinity War. During that time, Feige teased plans for a solo Black Widow movie, though he was quick to emphasize that it probably won’t happen until the current Phase 3 is complete. Per Fandango:
“Yes, for sure, I think [Black] Widow at some point would be great. But when you start talking about things that are now four/five years away…sometimes we do that. Doctor Strange has been talked about for ten years. But we’re focused on the next nine movies, which is a lot, between now and 2019."
That’s certainly good news for Black Widow fans, though the wait is somewhat disheartening. In the wake of Wonder Woman’s appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Diana of Themyscira getting her own solo Wonder Woman film in 2017, the world seems quite ready for more female superhero movies. While it’s true that we’ll be getting Captain Marvel in 2019, in addition to the masterful Jessica Jones TV series, it feels like a bit of a letdown to push the Black Widow character so far down the ladder when her popularity is already so high and the time is already so ripe for a solo film - or maybe her own Netflix series, even.
That being said, Marvel does have a lot on their plate over the next few years. The slate of upcoming movies from the MCU reads like a comic book lover’s dreams come true, with many highly anticipated characters and stories set to come to life on the big screen. With so much going on in the world of the Avengers, you can’t really blame the studio for wanting to focus first on what’s they’ve already got planned.
With that in mind, a Black Widow solo movie could make for an interesting transitional movie as Marvel moves into the post-Infinity Wars years. With the MCU potentially moving into unknown territory, and the likelihood for character deaths and recasting fairly high, it’s a smart play to give fans that bit of familiarity as they continue on into Phase 4. Having a character like Black Widow around to ease fans into the new direction of the MCU, whatever that might be, would make for an easier transition and allow fans an easy in as the universe grows.
Locking Johansson into additional movies would only proof to be a positive step for Marvel and the MCU. Wherever Marvel takes their universe, having her around will legitimize the new direction by assuring fans that whatever new faces they might encounter along the journey, they’re still in the same MCU they’ve grown to love over the years. Her involvement would serve as a sort of grounding presence, and give them a killer sub-franchise around which to build their new directions.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.