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Marvel Head Kevin Feige Reportedly Upset by Disney’s Response to Scarlett Johansson’s Contract Lawsuit

Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame

Former executive editor for The Hollywood Reporter Matthew Belloni has shared in his newsletter What I’m Hearing that Marvel’s Kevin Feige is angry about Disney’s response to Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit over the company breaching her contractual payment structure by releasing Black Widow immediately on Disney+. Yesterday, Disney issued a response, stating that the suit and Johansson show “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” This is coming from the company who fired thousands of employees in the middle of the pandemic and whose employees were frightened to be working in the park during it all.

According to Belloni’s newsletter, though, Feige “pressured Disney against the day and date plan for Black Widow, preferring the exclusivity of the big screen and not wanting to disturb his star,” Belloni wrote. “Then, when things got ugly, the movie began to fail and Johansson’s team threatened to litigate, he wanted Disney to fix things with her.”

An important thing to note is that Belloni said that he “won’t suggest Feige would leave Marvel over this,” but more that Feige is currently an important asset to the company in a way that Johansson no longer is. So, if Feige is angry towards Disney for the handling of the case, it could be taken a bit more seriously. Great. No one takes it seriously until a man gets involved?

That’s something that hasn’t sat right with me while looking into this. I know that Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans had similar deals, but I can’t help but feel like Disney wouldn’t try to pull this crap with one of their movies. They were clearly already trying to push Black Widow onto streaming even before the pandemic, and it seems like this was the perfect solution to their problem.

Natasha Romanoff, Scarlett Johansson, and Black Widow deserve better than Disney trying to push them off somewhere less visible, especially since the movie is good. It is easily one of my top three Marvel movies and was exactly what I wanted out of a Natasha Romanoff movie after seeing her introduction in Iron Man 2. And now I hate that this is the conversation surrounding the movie because Disney tried to pull one over on its star.

This case (and Disney’s response) are also met with Emma Stone reportedly “weighing her options” in regards to Disney’s similar release of Cruella. The moral of the story is that Disney wanted to have its cake and eat it too without worrying about contracts they had made, and it’s coming back to get them in a pretty big way.

I’m happy that Feige is reportedly angry with Disney about this. I want Feige to stand up for his talent and creatives at Marvel, and it would be great if this could bring about changes in how Disney treats talent when it comes to people who aren’t already massively rich movie stars. I just wish that it didn’t take a man supporting Scarlett Johansson for it to happen.

(via CBR, image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.