Black Widow Header

‘Black Widow’ Solo Movie Finally Off the Ground at Marvel

Marvel hires screenwriter to pen to solo adventures of the female Avenger.

After years of idle speculation and even more idle lip service, Marvel has finally taken the first concrete steps towards making the Black Widow solo movie a reality. According to Variety, screenwriter Jac Schaeffer has been hired to draft a script for Natasha Romanov’s solo adventures.

Schaeffer was chosen by Marvel Studios Kevin Feige after interviewing several candidates and sitting down with star Scarlett Johansson to discuss what she would like to see in a Widow solo film. Johansson has played the Russian super-spy in six films so far, and will reprise the character yet again in this summer’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Schaeffer is a Hollywood up-and-comer. Her Black List script The Shower, about an alien invasion that occurs during a baby shower, caught the eye of a-list star Anne Hathaway, who quickly attached herself to the project. She is currently working on Nasty Women, a female led take on the classic screwball comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, also starring Hathaway.

Fans have been clamoring for a Widow solo movie pretty much since the character first appeared in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Their voices have been amplified by a growing list of stars that have also thrown their weight behind the project, including Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Mackie, Chris Evans, the Russo Brothers — and most recently — Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.

“In all honesty, I reckon I could probably bring something pretty unique to any of the franchises,” Waititi told Gizmodo. “So I’d love to see Black Widow. [I’d like to see] Black Widow as something crazy and a bit funnier than we expect it to be,” he continued. “Because we know her story and it’s very sullen and very dark and her history is very dark. But! What’s the funny version of that? What’s the more entertaining version of that?”

Waititi seems like a crazy choice for a character like Black Widow, but after seeing what he accomplished with Thor, Marvel should probably at least give him some consideration. At any rate, after years of waiting, it finally seems like Black Widow is on the move.


Black Widow and Captain America

Chris Evans Adds His Support for a ‘Black Widow’ Stand-Alone Movie

Scarlett Johansson, the most bankable actress in the world, has played fan-favorite Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow in five Marvel movies so far with at least two more on the horizon. But for reasons that elude pretty much everyone, Marvel has refused to give the Russian super-spy her own movie.

In a recent interview with Elle, Captain America actor Chris Evans was asked for his thoughts on a Black Widow solo film.

Why hasn’t there been a stand-alone Black Widow movie yet?

Chris Evans: That’s a good question. It would really just clean up, wouldn’t it? Scarlett [Johansson] is so good at everything she does. She’s played such a crucial part in the other films. She always makes her presence so felt—even when there are 50 different superheroes running around onscreen. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens at some point in the future. I’m sure Scarlett would be open to it.

The idea that Johansson would be down for a Widow solo movie is established fact at this point. She told Collider in 2015:

I think that there’s room for a standalone movie. The character has a really rich origin story and I’ve been really fortunate to kind of place all these layers on top of one another and kind of build up this character to this point where I think I can now start to peel them away and reveal different sides of her.

After years of cryptic non-answers President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige finally seemed to confirm that a Black Widow movie franchise was in the works in 2016, telling Deadline

Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow…We think she’s an amazing character. We think Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her is amazing. She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.

Listen, Marvel.We are as excited as anyone about your first female-led superhero movie, Captain Marvel. (We are less excited that it took 20 male-led movies before you were willing to try one with a female hero — but I digress.) But please give us the Black Widow movie that we have been asking for ever since she first appeared in Iron Man 2.

If you won’t do it for us, do it for Captain America.


‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Continues Disturbing Trend of Whitewashing Asian Characters

14-year-old Italian-America Michael Barbieri has been cast in the the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, and if Internet reports are to believed, he is either playing the character of Miles Morales’ best friend Ganke from Ultimate Spider-Man or a character based on Ganke. It’s worth noting at this point that Ganke’s full name is “Ganke Lee” and that in the comics he is a heavyset Korean-American.

Doctor Strange by Steve Ditka
Doctor Strange by Steve Ditka

This follows on the heels of the decision to recast the traditionally Tibetan “Ancient One” in Doctor Strange with Tilda Swinton, who is possibly the whitest person on the planet. (I mean that in a good way. Honest.) The official reasoning was that this was a different Ancient One who happened to be Celtic. That’s fine, but the net result is still that they took a role that has been Asian for more than 50 years and reframed it to give it to a white actor — albeit a very talented white actor.

It is also worth noting that there is a fairly compelling theory that Dr. Strange himself was supposed to be Asian. Steve Ditko drew him with slanted, heavy-lidded eyes for the first few issues until someone decided he was definitively white, then those features vanished.

Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi
Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi

Similarly, it was announced that the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi in the big-budget live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime classic Ghost in the Shell would be played by Scarlett Johansson. Reports surfaced that the studio asked for screen tests of digital technology that would allow them to make Johansson look “more Asian” on screen after the fact. The studio denied those rumors, but currently it is speculated that she will be simply referred to as “Major” to avoid the awkwardness of having a Danish-Polish-Russian American actress answer to a very Japanese name. It’s a lot of work to try and make Johansson fit the part, but producers opted to go that route, instead of, ya know, casting an actual Japanese woman.

Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’

White actress Mackenzie Davis played Korean American Mindy Park in The Martian. Before that Emma Stone was cast as part-Asian, part-Hawaiian Allison Ng in Cameron Crowe’s flop Aloha.  The entire cast of Asian American characters from the real-life story of 21 were replaced by white actors. Most of the cast of The Last Airbender movie were recast as white. The list goes on and on — back to Mickey Rooney’s incredibly racist portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and beyond.

The standard justification that Hollywood executives use to rationalize this behavior away is to state that there are no Asian actors who are large enough box-office draws to risk putting them in a major role. Hollywood has a tendency to recast even minor Asian roles like Mindy Park as white

Add that to the reluctance to cast Asian actors in roles unless they are specifically written as Asian, and Asian actors have very limited opportunities to prove that they are capable of opening a film. Someone needs to take a risk and cast Constance Wu as the lead in a romantic comedy. I’ll be there opening night. I promise.

Whether you are casting a white person to play an Asian character or rewriting an Asian character to make it white, you are doing a disservice to an minority population that is horribly underrepresented in Hollywood. The last time an Asian American was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress was Merle Oberon in 1935 — an woman who lied her entire life and told people she was from Tasmania to hide her Indian heritage. No one knew she was Asian.

Something needs to change. As it stands right now, Asian actors can’t even get cast as Asian characters in Hollywood. At the very least Hollywood should have the  decency to act ashamed.

Marvel Commits to Black Widow Solo Movie

After years of speculation and pleading from fans, Marvel has finally made the first tenuous moves towards making a Black Widow solo movie. In an interview with Deadline, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige moved Black Widow to the top of the stack of characters under consideration for their own movie. Even more exciting than that, he  didn’t use the word “movie.” He used the word “franchise.”

DEADLINE: You’ve got a bunch of characters in this movie from Falcon and War Machine and Black Widow and Hawkeye, who have so far guest starred in movies with another character’s title above the fold. Is there one destined to get a solo movie down the line?
FEIGE: We’ve announced the next nine movies, 10 counting Civil War, through the end of 2019. Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.

FEIGE: We think she’s an amazing character. We think Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her is amazing. She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.

Did you hear that? They are “committed to doing” a Black Widow movie. No turning back from that. We’re going to hold them to it.

Black Widow Header

Russo Bros. Vote “Hell, Yeah!” on ‘Black Widow’ Solo Movie

Captain America: Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo are doing the press circuit to promote the upcoming film. At a recent press conference in China, they were asked what they thought about a Black Widow solo movie.

“Hell yeah! We love that character,” said Joe Russo.

“And we love Scarlett,” Anthony added, referring to Scarlett Johannson.

“We find that [Black Widow] is one of (if not the) richest character in the Marvel universe,” continued Joe Russo. “A very complex character, haunted by demons and her understanding of the world is fascinating. I think there is a lot that can be done with that character.”

(Black Widow discussion occurs at 6:30 in the video above)

The Russo Bros. themselves are likely too busy. After the success of Captain America: Winter Soldier, Marvel gave them the keys to their biggest franchise with Avengers:Infinity War, parts I and II. But their voices carry considerable weight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point. Hopefully, that will be enough for Marvel to find a space for Black Widow on a very busy schedule of upcoming superhero movies.

via Newsarama

It Would Be “Tragic” If Marvel Doesn’t Make a Black Widow Movie Says Clark Gregg

Phil Coulson actor and all-around great guy Clark Gregg went to bat for a Black Widow solo movie in a recent interview with Digital Spy.

“Black Widow has been around from day one of this…” he said. “…and is portrayed with this kind of heavy-hearted ferocity by Scarlett Johansson – who I think is as good as any actor working today,” he said.

“It seems like it would be tragic, it would be a waste, if that character wasn’t given the spotlight in the way that some of the other characters have been.

“If I know Marvel, they won’t let that happen, because she’s too valuable an asset.”​

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson

This isn’t the first time that Gregg has looked to make things right when he thinks female heroes and fans are being slighted. When the second Avengers movie premiered and there was no Black Widow merchandise to be found, Gregg lent his voice to the #WheresNatasha movement, pushing a petition to get Black Widow action figures and merch on the shelves.

Why does Gregg keep pushing for better inclusion and representation of women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? (Besides being a stand-up guy?) His reasons are simple.

“Y’know, I have a 13-year-old daughter and one of the things I’m proudest about with our show is that there are very strong, very intelligent women who are just as responsible for SHIELD not being exterminated as Phil Coulson – and that’s not lost on my daughter and her friends.​”

Amen, Clark. Amen.