Black Widow (film)
Black Widow is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twenty-fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Kate Shortland, and written by Zack Schaefer and Ned Benson. Scarlett Johansson starred in the film as the title character Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, and David Harbour, Florence Pew, O-T Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz played other supporting roles.
Development of a film based on Black Widow began in April 2004 by Lionsgate, with David Hayter writing and directing.
The project did not go ahead, and by June 2006, Marvel Studios had regained the rights to the film. Johansson was cast in several films in the MCU, starting with Iron Man 2 (2010). Marvel and Johansson expressed interest in a potential solo film several times over the following years, and eventually film development began in 2018 with Schaefer and Shortland. Benson joined the film in early 2019 and further casting took place. Filming began in May at Pinewood Studios in Norway and England. Production is expected to last until September.
Black Widow is scheduled to be released in the United States on 6 November 2020.
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Natasha Romanoff finds herself alone, and is forced to confront her past.
Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: A highly trained former KGB assassin, agent of SHIELD and member of Avengers. Johansson described the film as "an opportunity to explore Widow as a woman who has stood on her own feet and, perhaps once in her life, is making free and active choices for herself."
David Harbour - Alex Shoshtakov / Red Guardian: Captain America's counterpart A Russian super-soldier with a history with the Romanoffs.
Florence Pew - Yelena Belova / Black Widow: Romanoff's sister.
O-T Fagbenle- Mason: Romanoff's aide from the days of Shields, who is in love with him.
Rachel Weisz - Melina / Black Widow: A seasoned detective trained in the Red Room who is involved in a scientific experiment.
Additionally, Ray Winston and Olivier Richters have been cast in undisclosed roles. The character Taskmaster will be featured in the film. Robert Downey Jr. also appears in his MCU role as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
"What I tried to do was use the backdrop of the scattered Soviet Empire—a lawless insane asylum with 400-something weird nuclear missile silos. It was all about empty nuclear missiles, and I thought it was too much." It was accurate and very good. Unfortunately, by the time I was coming to the final draft, there were a lot of female-oriented movies coming out. We had Tomb Raider and Kill Bill, which worked, but then we had Bloodrain and Ultraviolet and Ion Flux. Ion Flux didn't go well, and three days later, the studio said, 'We don't think it's the right time to do this film.'"
—David Hetter on his version of the screenplay and why that project failed to move forward.
In February 2004, Lionsgate acquired the film rights to Black Widow, and in April announced David Hetter as the writer and director of the film, to be produced by Avi Arad. By June 2006, Lionsgate had abandoned the project and the rights were returned to Marvel Studios. Hayter and Marvel tried to get another financier to develop the project, but Hayter "never felt comfortable that we found a place that was ready to take the film and the character seriously." This "broke" Hayter, but he still hoped that the film would "someday" be made.
In January 2009, Marvel entered preliminary talks with Emily Blunt to play Black Widow in Iron Man 2, although she was unable to take the role due to a previous commitment to star in Gulliver's Travels. In March 2009, Scarlett Johansson signed on to play Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, including her deal for several films. In September 2010, while promoting the home media release of Iron Man 2, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that there had already been discussions with Johansson about a standalone film based on Black Widow, but Marvel's focus was then on 2012. Key was on The Avengers. Johansson appeared as Widow in that film, and then she starred in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016's Captain America: Civil War, 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, and 2019's Avengers. He also reprized his role in :Endgame. Following the release of Age of Ultron, Johansson revealed that the number of films on her contract had been adjusted since she was first signed on the basis of "character demand", and that Marvel had seen such intense audience demand for the character. reaction and did not anticipate their performance.
In February 2014, Feige stated that, after exploring Black Widow's past in Age of Ultron, he would like to see it further into a single film, and that development work was already underway for it, including "Guardians of the Galaxy". (2014) co-authored by Nicole Perlman's "Very Deep" portion. Two months later in April, Johansson expressed interest in starring in a Black Widow film, saying it would be audience-inspired. In July of the same year, Hayter expressed interest in reviving the project for Marvel, and the following month, director Neil Marshall said that he would "love to do a Black Widow film," adding that the character "is really interesting. She has no superpowers, she just has extraordinary skills, and the world she comes from, being an ex-KGB assassin, I think it's really fascinating." In April 2015, Johansson spoke more on the possibility of a single Black Widow film, which could explore the different "layers" of the character portrayed in different films so far, but also stated that "right now I feel that this character is being used well in this part of the Universe". While promoting Captain America: Civil War in April of the following year, Feige said that due to the announced schedule of films, any potential Black Widow film would come out only after four or five years. Although he also said that Marvel is "creatively and emotionally" committed to making a Black Widow movie.
In July 2016, Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, said he was ready to direct a Black Widow film, feeling that he could "make a spy thriller. Well, kind of like 'John Le Carre Crack'." In October, Johansson said of a possible film being a prequel, saying, "You can bring it back to Russia. You can explore the Widow program. There's a lot of things you can do with it." However, she said she would not want to "wear a skin-clad cat-suit" for much longer. The following February, Johansson said she would devote herself to making any potential Black Widow film "amazing". "It's probably going to be the best version of the film I'd ever do otherwise... [it] will be a standalone in itself and will have its own style and story." After the completion of development work and public support for a Black Widow film, Marvel eventually decided that the best time to proceed with the project would be at the start of "the latest phase of the MCU in 2020."
In October 2017, Feige met with Johansson to discuss directing a possible solo film, before Marvel began meeting with writers for the project, which also included Zack Schaefer. Schaefer reunited with Feige in December, and was hired to write the film's screenplay before the end of 2017. Schaefer and Johansson were set to discuss directing the film in early February 2018. Marvel began meeting with female directors to potentially launch the project, pushing for major film studios to hire female directors for the franchise as well. By the end of April, the studio had met with over 65 directors for the project in an "extremely intense" search, including Deniz Gamze Erguwan, Chloe Zhao—who was eventually chosen to direct Marvel's The Eternals—Ema. Asanti, and Lynn Shelton. In the following months, the list was reduced to just 49 directors, and its top choices were Kate Shortland, Asanti and Maggie Bates, who met Feige and Johansson in June. Melanie Laurent and Kimberly Peirce were also among the "top-to-next choices". Shortland was backed by Johansson, a fan of her previous female-starring film Lore (2012), and was cast the following month.
The Hollywood Reporter reported in October 2018 that Johansson would receive $15 million for the film, which would be more than the "low-seven figure salary" she received for starring in The Avengers. The $15 million earned by Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth in Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame was equal to each. Despite The Hollywood Reporter confirming the amount from "multiple knowledgeable sources", Marvel Studios disputed the accuracy of the numbers, stating that they "never publicly disclose salaries or terms."
In February 2019, Ned Benson was tasked with rewriting the screenplay, and Feige denied earlier rumors that the studio was not going to receive an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America for the film. The following month, talks began with Florence Pew to join the cast for the role of a detective "morally opposite" to Romanoff. Marvel had been looking to cast Pew in the role since late 2018, but in early 2019 other actresses, including Sarsha Ronan, were being considered. When Pew received positive reviews for her performance in the film Fighting for My Family (2019), the studio once again approached her for the role. In April 2019, Pew was confirmed to be cast alongside David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, and O-T Fagbenle.
Principal photography for the film began on 28 May 2019 in Norway. In early June, production moved to Pinewood Studios, while Ray Winston joined the film later that month. The film was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019, with a release date of May 1, 2020, with roles revealed for the new cast: Harbor N Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian, Pew Nelena. Belova, Fagbenle portrayed Mason, and Wise portrayed Melina in the film. In August, bodybuilder Olivier Richters announced that he had also been cast in the film. The following month, Robert Downey Jr. was expected to appear in the film in his MCU role as Tony Stark/Iron Man, despite his appearance in Endgame being considered his "final performance". Production is expected to last until September.
With the film's official announcement at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, promotion began by Feige, Shortland and the film's cast, who released footage from the first 30 days of production.
Black Widow is scheduled to be released in the United States on 9 July 2021.