Although Scarlett Johansson has enjoyed a long and acclaimed career, the Marvel juggernaut has made sure that when fans think of her, they think first of her formidable Black Widow. We’ll look at how Johansson rose to fame, how she became a Marvel heroine, and how she intends to move forward after Avengers: Endgame.
Scarlett Johansson’s roles before Black Widow
Johansson first tried her hand at acting when she tried to make herself cry standing in front of a mirror, trying to emulate Judy Garland in the classic musical Meet Me in St. Louis. She made her film debut at age 9 as John Ritter’s daughter in the 1994 Rob Reiner film North.
“It’s weird, but I remember going onto the set of my first film, and for some reason, I just knew what to do, instinctively. It was like, I don’t know … fate,” Johansson told New York magazine.
Her first significant role came in the independent film Manny & Lo (1996), where she played the younger sister of a pregnant teenager who runs away from home. She earned an Independent Spirit nomination for that role.
Her career took off after that, with roles ranging from Hollywood films like Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer (1998) to the Coen brothers’ spacey noir film The Man Who Wasn’t There and the cult hit Ghost World, both in 2001. Redford called her “13 going on 30” long before Jennifer Garner made a movie with that name. Proving she wasn’t destined only to be a child star, Johansson continued to impress audiences and critics with roles in Lost in Translation and The Girl with the Pearl Earring in 2003.
How did Scarlett Johansson become Black Widow?
Although Johansson kept plenty busy, she gravitated more towards indie fare and didn’t have a ton of experience with Hollywood action movies, aside from one of Michael Bay’s lesser-known films, The Island. Then she got a call from director Jon Favreau and Marvel chief Kevin Feige about Natasha Romanova, a super-spy with martial arts training.
“I had actually met with Jon and Kevin [about a year before pre-production started and we just talked about some of the superheroines in the Marvel Universe. One of them is Black Widow. I think they were kind of toying with the idea of putting the character into the film, and how they would work it in, and all that kind of thing. Then when I had met Jon the second time, I did have red hair. Part of that was me wanting to experiment with my hair color, and the other part of that was me kind of hoping that Jon would like the fact that I had experimented,” she told About.com at the time of the film’s release.
The film was Iron Man 2 (2010), and although it’s generally considered one of Marvel’s lesser movies, some people thought she was the best thing about the film.
“It was many, many, hours, days, and months of stunt training, and strength training. But it’s fun because I had a goal. The goal was the Lycra cat suit,” she said. She went on to play the character in six more MCU films, being one of the original Avengers.
What will Scarlett Johansson do after ‘Avengers: Endgame’?
Avengers: Endgame reportedly marks the end of the line for several major Marvel players. While this includes Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, it does not hold true for Johansson.
Very little is known about Marvel’s slate after Endgame, but one of the definites is the long-awaited solo film for Black Widow. The film has no definite release date, but it has been cast, with Stranger Things’ David Harbour joining Johansson.
She had been asked if her character would get a standalone film when she first started playing her. In 2010, she said: “I hope so. I mean I think it all depends on how the fans react to the character, which I hope people like the character of course. I love the character. You will have to ask Kevin Feige that, but I hope she does turn up. If not in her own film, then in future series – and perhaps the next film.”
She got her wish — and then some.