Is Marvel Finally Giving Us a Black Widow Movie?
To say Marvel’s movie calendar spanning the next five years is crowded would something of an understatement. As of now, we have upwards of nine confirmed films planned for that period, an average of two per year all the way through 2019. Beyond those though, all we have are rumors. Maybe Fox and Marvel will finally strike a deal to bring the Fantastic Four back to their original creators. Who knows what could happen once Sony’s tag-team reboot of Spider-Man hits theaters. The possibilities are limitless, which makes it incredibly encouraging to hear talk of a potential Black Widow franchise.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, straight from Marvel head Kevin Feige. Asked about possible standalone films for new characters, he admitted that “the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.” It’s an admission that represents a 180 from the studio’s previous stance on Black Widow, having left her off the movie roster in favor of Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther. She’s a character that’s existed at the center of controversy for some time too, specifically in the realm of merchandise, where she was “accidentally” excluded from toy sales following Age of Ultron.
Soon, the hope is that all that will culminate in the much-needed Black Widow movie. Her qualifications are more than impressive, with a history in the MCU dating all the way back to Iron Man 2. Even so, the only Avenger who’s been focused on less than her is fellow super-spy Hawkeye. A potential movie for the former Russian operative has plenty of story to dig into, while providing an intriguing look at a character whose own moral compass is just as intriguing as that of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.
[Update, 7/25/16: Added Joss Whedon comments from San Diego Comic-Con 2016 (see below).]
More good news for fans of Black Widow! Director Joss Whedon recently told IGN that he would be happy to direct a Black Widow movie for Marvel, if asked. “If someone pointed at me and said, ‘Do you want to make a Black Widow movie?’, the answer would be ‘Duh!'” he told IGN in an interview at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. “I think the character is very interesting and very earthbound, so it’s the kind of action…I got to do less of…someone like Thor or the Vision, when you get into your Superman territory, it’s harder to maintain that gritty action that the Russo Brothers do so beautifully. She’s (Black Widow) got that kind of thing…and really do a spy thriller.”
So far in the MCU, Natasha Romanoff’s back-story has come to us in bits and pieces from the periphery. Agent Carter briefly showed us the covert Russian program where young girls were brainwashed and trained to be killing machines. In fact, one of Peggy Carter’s main adversaries on the series is one of that same program’s early graduates, Dottie Underwood. We saw more hints at Natasha’s traumatic past in Age of Ultron, all making for plenty of possibilities should Marvel officially green-light Black Widow in the near future.
How close the studio would adhere to the comic book version of Black Widow is unclear, although it would serve them well to borrow heavily. In the source material, Natasha is raised in the Soviet “Black Widow Ops” program, brainwashed, training in all manner of combat, and biologically enhanced, all at a facility called Red Room. He enhancements make it so ages at a fraction the rate of a normal person, which in turn explains how she could exist in the modern Avengers despite being trained sometime in the 1940s. It makes her an intriguing parallel to the more straight-and-narrow Steve Rogers, who went through a similar enhancement in a markedly different context, and it could set up all sorts of possibilities for her greater role in the MCU.
For now, that’s neither here nor there. While Feige admits that it “would be fun to turn [Black Widow] into a stand-alone franchise,” we’re a ways away from that becoming a reality, especially with other Marvel properties currently taking precedent. There’s still a bright future for Natasha Romanoff though. In a film industry that’s tried to claim female superheroes aren’t marketable enough to carry their franchises, Black Widow has the potential to prove that wrong in a huge way. We just hope that HASBRO can get it together long enough to ensure she’s included in the toy sets for her own movie.
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