Feige and Johansson Talk About Why 'Black Widow' Took so Long | The Mary Sue
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Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson Try to Explain Why Black Widow Took so Long

Natasha romanoff in black widow

(Marvel Entertainment)

Every time there is a new info or trailer drop for Marvel’s Black Widow, there is a chorus of “Where was this movie in 2011?” tweets because that’s the world we live in. Look, I know. I’ve been waiting since Iron Man 2 for Natasha Romanoff to have her moment, but it never seemed to work out. Whether because of the studio, the timing of the Infinity Saga, or whatever, it seemed as if we were never going to get a movie focused on one of the original six Avengers.

Luckily, that’s no longer the case, and we’ll finally get to learn a little bit more about Natasha and the red in her ledger that we’ve heard so much about when her solo movie debuts next month. Still, the questions about what took so long remain, and it’s nice to know that the creatives behind Black Widow are ready and willing to talk about Natasha’s long journey to her own standalone film.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Scarlett Johansson and Kevin Feige got pretty candid about what it means for Natasha Romanoff and those who have been waiting so long for her own time. While Natasha has been present in many standalone films for male heroes, as well as a main member of the Avengers, she’s always sort of been the side-kick the men needed (and was always there to make an “Ugh, boys!” joke).

But Feige explained that it wasn’t necessarily a choice to keep her standalone film for after but rather that they wanted her journey in the Saga to make the most sense first and foremost.

We had been planning the conclusion for the Infinity Saga for the past five or six years, and Natasha’s journey within those films took the priority. The notion of breaking out for a stand-alone film that takes place in the past, for a character that we already knew and were already following, didn’t feel right.

Fine, but … I don’t necessarily think that really matters. For me, Natasha could constantly be there for the men, but her strongest moments came when she took a stand for herself and made it clear who she cared about. Constantly, I think about her “She’s not alone” moment in Infinity War and wish we could have seen any kind of buildup to her transition from Civil War to the Natasha we see at that moment. There was plenty of room for her to get her own movie to more clearly define and flesh out her existing character arc, just like the male heroes have gotten along the way.

To be quite honest, I think that Feige is just trying to save face in a lot of ways, especially because we’ve gotten the impression that part of the hindrance in regards to a female-led Marvel movie came in the form of Marvel’s Ike Perlmutter, and since Feige may not be able to be completely candid about that situation, he’s explaining how, by the time that Natasha could have had her own movie, it just wouldn’t have fit into the MCU in the way he wanted.

But then, there is the reasoning that Scarlett Johansson has for the character’s journey. Part of why now is the time for Natasha’s moment comes from Johansson’s own willingness to show the ugly side of things, as she tells it. Really, from Age of Ultron on, we started to learn more and more about Nat as she grew to trust the Avengers and befriended them, but Johansson’s own journey as she grew as a performer changed, and she’s more ready and willing to dig into her:

This film is very much a result of that journey, my own personal journey. I feel that I probably wasn’t as willing or able to go to the kind of uncomfortable, embarrassing, ugly places before. I think it’s just as you get older, you trust yourself more.

Johansson also talked about Natasha’s success and why her qualities still make someone many fans turn to:

I think this character’s strength really lies in her vulnerability and her acceptance of that. She has emotional intelligence that has allowed her to survive without any real superpowers. She’s someone who is a problem-solver. She’s a pragmatic person. I think a lot of those qualities are inherently female.

To be honest, I am more than excited for Black Widow. She’s a character that many of us have looked to since Natalie Rushman appeared in Tony Stark’s life back in Iron Man 2, and while she has consistently been there for the men of the Avengers, she has often been pushed to the back-burner for their stories.

Now that she has her own movie—her own time to tell her story and to explore her family—I can’t wait to see what more we get to know about her. Natasha Romanoff has always deserved more, in my eyes, and I’m excited she’s finally getting her time.

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.