Scarlett Johansson at Comic Con talking about playing Black Widow in the "Captain America" franchise. (Credit: Flickr, Gage Skidmore)
Scarlett Johansson at Comic Con talking about playing Black Widow in the “Captain America” franchise. (Credit: Flickr, Gage Skidmore)

So what took so long?

The long-awaited “Black Widow” trailer, full of action-packed fight scenes, is here. The movie has been hinted at since the female character Black Widow, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, first appeared in “Iron Man 2” in 2010. Time even said, “As male Marvel superhero movies proliferated, the absence of a Black Widow film felt like an increasingly glaring omission.”

The answer, according to, lies in issues that Marvel Studios encountered early on. When the idea of doing a “Black Widow” feature was first floated in 2004, it was abandoned because Charlize Theron’s sci-fi spy movie “Aeon Flux” did not do well in the box office.

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It was also revealed in the Sony email leaks that the former CEO of Marvel, Ike Pearlmutter, questioned the profitability of female-led superhero movies, quoting box office failures “Elektra,” “Catwoman” and the 1984 film “Supergirl.” (Officially, Marvel has only blamed the delay on the fact that it’s juggling so many franchises.)

Fast forward to 2017. DC Comics released “Wonder Woman,” a box-office success that raked in $821 million worldwide. After the success of this movie, Marvel finally released its first solo female superhero movie, “Captain Marvel.” Only after all of this, did Marvel begin the process of making a Black Widow movie.

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“Black Widow” also will be the first Marvel film to be directed solely by a female director, Cate Shortland. “Captain Marvel” was co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Shortland, who is Australian, is known for her work on motion pictures with strong female characters, such as the 2012 historical drama, “Lore.”

Johansson’s fingerprints are all over the “Black Widow” movie. According to reports, she had a hand in picking the director, provided input on the script, helped with casting decisions — and of course, serves as the firm’s executive producer and star. “I feel like I’m in control of the destiny of this film, which gives me a lot more peace of mind. I know her better than anybody,” said Johansson to Hollywood Reporter. 

“Black Widow” is set for release on May 1. It will be holding down the summer opening slot, which is normally given to male-fronted films. When asked about it, Johansson simply said the movie packs a punch and if that’s what the slot is reserved for, that is what the movie will do.

Johansson also appears to be treated equally when it comes to pay. She will earn close to $15 million for “Black Widow,” which is similar to Chris Evans’ and Chris Hemsworth’s rates for playing Captain America and Thor.

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