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Oh Hollywood

Marvel Is Doing “Development Work” For a Black Widow Movie. But What Does That Really Mean?


Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said a thing. A thing about a Black Widow movie. Put your skepticism caps on, we’re going for a ride.

You know and I know that Marvel Studios has been great, absolutely wonderful so far, at making quality movies about their white male superheroes. Ladies and POC… not so much. (Still waiting on that Falcon character poster.) But the Internet got all a’buzzin’ yesterday when it was announced that a Black Widow movie is in development. Or. Well. That “development work” is being done. Take it away, Feige (emphasis mine):

“Black Widow’s whole arc [in The Winter Soldier] is coming to terms with her history – that she’s been a spy, and spies aren’t necessarily trustworthy. We start filming the next Avengers film at the end of March. [Black] Widow’s part in that is very big. We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that.

On the one hand: Yay! More Black Widow! Marvel realizes she’s a viable character to devote a movie to! We’ve had our space opera with Thor, and we’re getting our ’70s political thriller with Winter Soldier. Giving Black Widow her own spy movie makes all kinds of sense, and it gives us a female-led superhero movie besides.

That said, the way Feige says “making this movie would be great” rubs me the wrong way a little bit. Because Marvel Studios could actually commit to making this movie. Like, announce it as part of Phrase Three. And “development work” is very different from a film being “in development.” Basically, it reads to me like Feige was being very careful to phrase things in such a way so it’s clear that they’re still deciding whether to make a Black Widow movie or not. And they might! But don’t hold them to it.

But hell, I’m not a mind reader. Maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. Maybe they are really planning to do a Black Widow movie. But let me point out two things.

One: Marvel Studios is really, really good at planning ahead. It’s kind of their whole thing. Iron Man made bank all the way back in 2008, and they started planning franchises. They announced they were doing Ant-Man years ago. So if they are serious about giving Black Widow her own film anytime soon, you’d think they’d get around to announcing it. Really announcing it, none of this “Well, maybe” crap. The optimistic take on this is that maybe they’re waiting for the right moment… like Winter Soldier having a gangbusters opening weekend. But I’m not holding my breath. Because two:

A Black Panther movie has been “on the horizon” for quite some time. And so far? Crickets.

Prove me wrong, Marvel Studios. Prove me wrong.

(via: blastr)

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  • Charlie

    I hope she does get one, she deserves it!

  • Bianca Gallegly Horkan

    I’d watch it.

    But what I REALLY want….Agent Carter.

  • http://thesketchydetails.net/ Robert

    I hope by development they mean “let’s let a few more issues of the Black Widow stand alone comic come out before we announce the film.” The new series is so good and would translate very well onscreen. The language about coming to terms with her history is the entire concept of the new comic. Fingers crossed.

  • ASM

    The way they are hyping this movie as being significant for Black Widow and women in the MCU, I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes director of S.H.I.E.L.D..

  • Emily Neenan

    They can’t sit on this forever. They have a popular, established character, played by an actress who is a strong box-office draw. But ScarJo is not going to be willing or able to do her Black Widow forever, she was talking on the Avengers press circuit about getting up at 5am for the gym every day and how tough it was. They are moving Phase 3 into place, and I’d say that’d their last chance. Pressed for a quote about a female-led movie, Feige said before to wait for Winter Soldier. I’m desperately hoping for a climax or a stinger that sets up a Widow movie. Shut up and take my money, Feige!!

  • Anonymous

    I think Ant-Man is the mistake of why they are not making any announcements.

    They announced it years ago and then it was in limbo. I’m guessing now they want to have their ducks in a row before making formal announcements. Likewise with the Peggy Carter series as well.

    At this point, I’d even be willing to bet that they want to wait closer to either Capt’s movie release or Comic Con to do a huge announcement.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Stiiiillll want that Captain Marvel movie, y’all. With Jess too.

  • Lup Lun

    I think the real problem is that Marvel is afraid of overextending themselves. Perhaps justifiably so. Pop culture is a fickle mistress, and no trend lasts forever. They don’t want to have too much invested when the market crashes.

    Actually, they’re already kind of overextended right now; Avengers was a huge success, but with a $2 billion price tag it was also a massive risk, and they could have been in serious trouble if it bombed. Since then they’ve been doing two movies per summer and branching out into TV. Meanwhile Sony has been working their Spider-Man and X-Men franchises something fierce, DC has been riding the Batmobile while bumbling along with some other films, and others are getting in on the act with parodies, pastiches, and deconstructions. Market saturation is going to hit sooner or later, and Marvel knows this. So they have to go slow and balance new properties with “safe” moves.

  • Joanna

    Dear Godzilla,
    Please don’t let Marvel screw this up.
    Thanks.

  • Philip Lopez

    Why are you tired of the character? She’s been in two movies. Scarlett Johannson blowing up is exactly what is going to get this movie made. I understand wanting to have MORE women in the MCU, I do too, but from a studio standpoint, they’re going to make the safe bet when it comes to a solo female led movie.

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter

    Given that she could be going all the way back to the beginning of the cold war (Infinity Formula and all..), its conceivable there could be a Black Widow VS Agent Carter movie…

  • locuas

    i have said this before and i still believe it. the more reasonable moment or them to announce……let’s say “non-standar lead movies”(just to call it SOMETHING) would be near the end of phase 2 or at the beginning of phase 3. they may confirm BW after Captain america winter soldier comes out, but i would bet wether she gets the movie or not will depend on Guardians of the Galaxy. the first little known marvel charactersto get their own moviesl. if they are succesful, we can be sure they will have ANY character open for a movie

  • Caitlin

    How many movies did she sign for? They could be underhyping it because they want to control negotiations for the next set of movies, to avoid the situation that happened with Robert Downey Jr being all “well, I don’t *have* to do another Iron Man…”

  • blu girl

    Agreed. I believe Avengers 2 is the last film of her contract.

  • Chris Macpherson

    Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking! I’m all for them going in this direction, I think it would really work in that it wouldn’t have to tie into the other Marvel films too much and could really focus on the character without having too much SHIELD involvement.

  • Anonymous

    The same article, Anthony Mackie also mentions he still hasn’t been confirmed for a part in Age of Ultron. I’m gonna be really bummed if they’ve seriously left him out (that could just be a NDA though).

  • Anonymous

    While her work-out routine is no doubt a pain (I wouldn’t know since I’m to lazy to do it) I believe she would do it for this. Being the lead in a Marvel superhero movie could increase even her notable career. Hugh Jackman used to talk all the time about how onerous his workout/diet was for the Wolverine movies, but everytime one came up it was back to the grind.

  • locuas

    well…that is a pretty good explanation for not having a Black Widow movie (unless the actress is willing to make more films but marvel says no. that’s a different story)

  • kbroxmysox

    Jess?

  • Anonymous

    Spider-woman

  • Guymelef

    $2 billion dollars price tag? Where did you get that from? The Avengers movie cost less than $250 million to make.

  • Guymelef

    Could be as well that they don’t want to confirm whether he lives through CA: Winter Soldier. Maybe they think that Avengers 2 will already be crowded enough with the addition of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. I agree that it would be a shame if he wasn’t in the movie though. That said, let’s wait to see what he’s like in Winter Soldier. He might totally suck.

  • TKS

    I’m still kind of thinking that there’s going to be a stinger in Captain America about it and he doesn’t want to give that away.

  • kbroxmysox

    Oh. Was’t sure if Laura meant like Jessica Alba/Biel as Carol…I was going be like “Umm…let’s not :p). I doubt we’ll get Jessica Drew, given she’s a Spider-Man property. We might see Jessica Jones but I hope not, I loathe her(mostly because she’s a Bendis character and I feel I’ve read her 30 times given that Bendis writes every character like Jessica Jones)…I sort of rather NOT have a second hero in Carol’s movie. Too many heroes are never a goood thing, plus I think that a Carol movie will also start Mar-Vell given that’s how she got her powers, so that’s already another superhero.

    Saying that, I very badly want Carol to have her own movie series.

  • Infophile

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they’re aiming for the announcement to be somehow tied in with The Winter Soldier – perhaps a “To Be Continued in…” at the end, or post-credits. Time will tell, though.

  • Katie Frederick

    Jessica Jones has already been confirmed as one of the four Netflix series.

  • kbroxmysox

    Yeah which is why I do think she’s a possibility to pop up

  • Katie Frederick

    Ah gotcha, misunderstood what you meant. Thought you were saying appear at all, not in additional films.

  • Anonymous

    Samuel Jackson’s contract with Marvel is slowly running out… how many movies are left there for him as Nick Fury?

  • Lup Lun

    Uh… hmm. I heard $2B back when it was released, honest, but now I can’t find a source for it, and those that I can find say more or less what you did.

    Um… well… you know those shifty Hollywood accountants! The movie always costs just enough so that they have to pay as few people as possible as little as possible, even if that means it costs two different things at the same time!

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    Maybe they’re waiting to see how Widow’s arc is received in Winter Soldier?

  • Laura Truxillo

    I don’t think Jessica Drew is technically a Spider-Man property. At most, Spider-Woman *might* be considered a Spider-Man property (but even then, that depends on how they negotiated the original contract, and since the Marvel Universe is so overlapping with its characters, they probably were pretty specific). But Jessica Drew on her own, potentially with super-powers but without the code name of Spider-Woman could show up. And really, she’s Carol’s best friend–can’t have Captain Marvel movie without her.

  • Anonymous

    I hope you’re right.

  • kbroxmysox

    If the X-Men movies have taught me one thing is you can have tons of movies without female characters. Female friendships aren’t important, but bromances are. DUH! Manpain over female anything.

    Fox has made me such a skeptic :p. But Marvel really doesn’t disappoint, I know but I like the Jane/Darcy friendship as it’s not about “some guy” but about them being two women who are intelligent and inquisitive so fingers crossed we have something(I honestly wouldn’t mind if Carol has a best friend who happens to be a lawyer named Jennifer Walters :))

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this feels like a pat on the head.

  • Skol Troll

    There’s A LOT of straight business going on with these interview feelers. Marvel is in the spectacular (financial, not Spiderman) position of having more demand for their heroes than supply. Only so many movies can realistically be made every year (i.e. 2?). There’s Strange, Panther, more Ant-Man, Widow, Hawkeye, Ruffalo Hulk, raccoon sequels, Captain Marvell (either/both genders), Peggy Carter’s Agent Making SHIELD, Spider-woman, Deathlok (uhhh… AoS transition, anyone???)… the list of what we’d throw our movie $’s at is immense.

    So Marvel’s gonna tease just about every “close to happening” movie out there so they can plan on 2018 and beyond. If they were to plan every step through 2030, they could. But it’s not logistically feasible. So we get teases. And the most excited reaction probably gets bumped to the head of the line.

    And DC’s trying to make 15 movies in 1. And 1% of that movie will be Wonder Woman. (Sorry, I’m a troll. I do that.)

  • Leo F

    The only movie they’ve committed to for Phase Three is one they’ve been working on since like 2006. They’ve been talking about how cool it would be to make a Doctor Strange movie for god knows how long and that still hasn’t been confirmed. Relaaaaaaaaaax. Black Widow will happen. Stop taking everything as a slight.
    Black Panther has been in development because they have to walk a verrrrrrrry fine line with that one. On the one hand, if they go with the origin story from the comic books, they could paint Wakanda as very savage and uncivilized, drawing accusations of racism. On the other hand, if they change the origin story too much, comic fans will get upset like they did about The Mandarin. It’s also possible (though unlikely) they might be wrangling a deal with Fox in order to allow Storm to play her part in the origin story. There could be any number of reasons why they’re holding off on Black Panther – it’s possible, for instance, that they’re holding off until the Agent Carter series, wherein they will first introduce T’Chaka in the 50s as Black Panther, allowing them to have carte blanche with that relatively undeveloped character, then when they have things established, introduce T’Challa in present day in his own movie after testing the waters first.

  • Anonymous

    That would make sense, given that they referenced Vibranium in Capt. America and that Wakanda is one of the two places in the world that it comes from.

  • Ryan Colson

    I assume this really means “If folks like her lots in CAWS we’ll make a BW film”..

  • Ryan Colson

    If it’s a Mar-Vell Captain Marvel film… you can have one without Drew.

  • Ryan Colson

    Cmon Philip… BW has been all over the MU since Avengers, I know I’m blah of her since Marvel decided the films are comic canon.

    Or did you miss back when an arc happened called “The Widow’s Ledger“, a clear film reference in a book universe?

  • Ryan Colson

    Do a real (the dude) Captain Marvel film and by the end have him die of cancer and pass the torch (powers) to his girlfriend as the new Captain Marvel. The feels!

  • Ryan Colson

    Also Africa as a site in IM 2.

  • Ryan Colson

    She can’t make SHIELD since all the retconning in the films paint it as around since then lol

  • Ryan Colson

    It’ll be CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BLACK WIDOW WILL RETURN IN AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON.

  • http://www.gradientcomics.com/ Rob Payne

    She-Hulk ought to be a TV show, though I’m not sure if that’s budgetarily possible. Something like Law & Order, but with a protagonist working on both sides of that… and who turns into a big green monster. I imagine this is how the Daredevil series will work, too, but with a little more Arrow-ness thrown in for good measure.

    A Captain Marvel movie ought to be a no-brainer, too, like Wonder Woman. At the very least before Doctor Strange, anyway. I’d also like to see a Mystique movie from Fox, even if it has to co-star Wolverine to get the greenlight, because she’s too awesome and could be in any genre.

  • Adrian

    I have nothing concrete to confirm this but I’ve heard before that she may not be interested in continuing.

  • http://www.gradientcomics.com/ Rob Payne

    Anthony Mackie totally suck? That is incredibly unlikely. And having two of Caps allies/buddies die in back-to-back movies probably isn’t likely either, especially since Falcon is a long running character whereas Bucky’s most famous for dying and staying dead… until Winter Soldier. I think the overcrowding of current Avengers would be the reason why, though it would be a huge shame if he and Rhodey (again) don’t at least make cameos this time.

  • Siona Larsen

    That was hinted at in the Marvel panel as New York Comicon, actually. When asked when are we getting our Black Widow movie we were told to ‘wait until Captain America…’

  • Mandy

    Why would they promote her above Maria Hill though? I mean Hill has been Director in canon.

  • http://whiterosebrian.tumblr.com/ White Rose Brian

    I second that. It could lead directly into the Avengers’ inevitable battle against Thanos.

  • http://whiterosebrian.tumblr.com/ White Rose Brian

    How about Brown Recluse? Black Widow and Brown Recluse!

  • Laura Truxillo

    But why on earth would Marvel do something that utterly boneheaded when the Carol Corps has proven a willingness to spend oodles of money and convert people to the cause?

  • Skol Troll

    Can’t they retcon the retcon? I’m pretty sure that’s what Wolverine: Smart-aleck from Blade 3 as Deadpool (or whatever the name of that suckfest was) did?

    Or did Fox buy the Marvel rights to retcon retcons?

    I’m so confused…

  • Anonymous

    It’d be cool to have a solo film as a send-off for the character. What with an ever-changing membership of the Avengers, and maybe not wanting to have different actors playing a common role.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t that a given though? Or is the movie designed to assassinate her character so badly that fans will stop asking for her solo film?

  • TKS

    Yeah, that’s primarily where I’m getting this, and I thought this comment hints at that.

  • http://www.lawlessgentile.com/ Ali Miller

    Not sure being the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is something Natasha would be interested in doing.

  • Gary Keyes

    Still waiting for the King of Wakada film. It’s been 16 years since we’ve had a POC (African American male lead) Marvel character at the movies. So, I’m too confident that Kevin is going to immediately push a Window film into production any time soon. It’s always bugged me (no pun intended) that an Ant Man film is getting made before a Black Panther film.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I agree with @lauratruxillo:disqus . Separate from any potential rights issues, one of the things I like about the idea of Carol getting a movie is that she’s got so many great relationships with other women, which is something you rarely see depicted in the movies, at least not without falling into the shallow stereotypes. Women’s friendships are rarely treated as being as meaningful or deep as the friendships between men, so it’d be cool to see. Wouldn’t have to be a central point to the movie. She could be the equivalent of Rhodey in Iron Man.

  • Gary Keyes

    Fox is another story. I’m sorry, I like many of the actors who appeared in the X films (Steward, Jackman, Laurence, etc) but I can’t stand the films (save maybe X2). They’ve twisted those beloved characters so much they’re totally unrecognizable.

  • Adrian

    Not to burst anyone’s bubble, since I wouldn’t mind seeing a Black Widow espionage film, but it’s just lip service, no confirmation. There’s already plenty of smoke being sensed about potential Black Panther and Doctor Strange films so those will probably come first, which are still a couple years away. Maybe more. Patience is just the name of the game now.

    In my opinion, some characters are best as secondary characters. For me, that includes the Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, the Wasp, etc. Yes, many of them have their own series but there’s a huge difference between a monthly comic that only expects 50-100,000 buyers and a film that needs a big enough audience for a 100+ million dollar film to make a profit.

  • kbroxmysox

    I think it’s going to be a Carol Danvers film featuring Mar-Vell. It will be called Captain Marvel, but we won’t hear that name until Carol takes the mantle, after Mar-vell dies and she gets his power.

  • http://enkindledwithchains.blogspot.com/ Darth Lolita

    This just gave me so much hope.

    Oh please, please let it happen.

  • Richard Grant

    …I’m might be alittle confused by what you’re saying but you complain that all Marvel’s cinematic women come attached with men, then you suggest the solution to this is to have a She-Hulk film…which seems to me like it would be another female character that by her very name would mean she is once more attached to a man.
    And its not like Black Widow is over exposed at the moment, a supporting role in 3 films over the last 5 years, which has helped to establish her as a hero whose primary ties are with an organization rather than simply coming attached with a man. Obviously introducing more female heroes besides Widow should be a priority but a Black Widow film at this point, given how well shes been established and received by the public, should be a sure thing.

    Oh and it is Ms. Marvel, not Miss, although a Captain Marvel film starring Carol would be even nicer.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, chalk me up as voting to skip a Black Widow movie. I love the character and I enjoy the movie enterpretation of her, but she feels like a supporting member of the cast. So does Hawkeye for that matter – even more so than Natasha. An espionage Black Widow limited Series sounds like a GREAT idea though, much like the promised Peggy Carter series. Hawkeye could be a supporting member of the cast.

    A Captain Marvel movie on the other hand – dear lord we should have gotten one in Phase 2. It REALLY needs to happen in Phase 3 – hell surely she would be the best way to give us a better look at Thanos as the villain for Avengers 3, given the cosmic source of her powers.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I really don’t care for Black Widow (or assassin characters at all for that matter) but it would be nice if there was a movie for her. Even if I would almost certainly never watch it. I learned my lesson after Electra that no matter how much you like a concept, it does not mean you will like the character in the least

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It wasn’t SHIELD then, it was the SRS, and she’s a Lieutenant in the CA:1A. The show is titled Agent Carter, and will be about how she forms SHIELD with Howard Stark, from my understanding. So no retcon needed.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I inferred from that, that they were saying that CAWS was pretty much a BW movie, which is what I’m hearing about it still. But we can hope.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Figuring out he was Papa Doc in 8 Mile has completely changed that movie for me.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    She is not a Spiderman property, her origin is related to HYDRA, she just took on that moniker.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I doubt that’s a problem. Jackson is willing to do Mace Windu again.

  • Anonymous

    Actions speak louder than words, Marvel…

  • Anonymous

    Oooooo…..I just had a wonderful idea for my Marvel GURPS game. Thank you!!