Over the last six years, since Marvel Studios introduced a whole round of superhero films rolling out in phases, we've been treated to eight unique films within a continuous timeline. Yet not one of these films has featured a female character in the lead role, with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow coming the closest to getting an actual storyline.
The Black Widow first appeared as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Iron Man 2, who was tasked to keep an eye on Tony Stark by Nick Fury, before moving on to co-star (as well as have her own story arc) in the hugely successful The Avengers. Her next appearance will be in this year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where she'll help the Captain uncover a vast conspiracy. And now with The Avengers: Age of Ultron gearing up to begin filming, and the Black Widow's part in it said to be very big, this latest news comes at quite a surprising time.
E! News has exclusively revealed that Scarlett Johansson is expecting her first child with fiancé Romain Dauriac. The pair, who first went public with their relationship in November 2012, just announced their engagement back in September. While we're very excited to hear the happy news and bid the couple a hardy congratulations, the question on most people's minds now is: How will this impact The Avengers 2?
Johansson is currently preparing to go on a promotional tour for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then she's scheduled to join The Avengers 2 cast overseas on April 5th. However, E! News also reports the actress is already four to five months along in her pregnancy, leaving very little time to get a plan in action before filming begins.
Luckily, an inside source has revealed that shooting for the sequel will be arranged to accommodate her pregnancy:
"They're going to fast-track her scenes."
In other words, expect all her filming to be done as soon as possible.
Although this is the first we're hearing of her pregnancy, it's hard to believe that director Joss Whedon hasn't known about it for at least a little while. At this stage, her ability to do physical stunts is quickly becoming an issue, and measures need to be taken to ensure production runs smoothly.
Usually, filming would try to hide a pregnant actress behind props and carefully placed camera angles, but seeing as this is such an action-oriented role, it'll be interesting to see how they tackle it in this case. The likely guess is they'll use Johansson for close ups, keeping a body double around for far away shots. One thing's for sure though, her tight leather suit won't hide her pregnancy for much longer.
Then there's the matter of a solo Black Widow film. While still a long way out - and not even a sure thing at that - it's possible the film's future could now be in question. If Johansson puts her career on hold to raise a family, the proposed film might very well get stuck in limbo.
Then again, we may be all worrying for nothing. Plenty of actresses have families and go on to have incredibly successful careers, even in the action movie genre. The good news is, she's definitely still in The Avengers 2 and, as far as we know, her role won't be truncated.
What do you think of the news, Screen Rant readers?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will arrive in theaters on April 4th, 2014. The Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled to premiere on May 1st, 2015.