You’d have to cast your mind back to 2004 to pinpoint the first time Hollywood flirted with the proposition of a standalone Black Widow movie.
Long before Iron Man took flight under the watchful eye of Jon Favreau and MCU architect Kevin Feige, Lionsgate tapped David Hayter – yes, that David Hayter – as writer and director of Black Widow. Sadly, the project never took off, and the rights reverted back to Marvel Studios, where they were shelved for *checks calendar* 16 years.
But why, exactly, did it take so long for Marvel Studios to commit to a standalone Black Widow movie? Well, as ScreenRant rightly points out, it comes down to a combination of factors – roadblocks, really – including timing and the presence of former Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter. This is, after all, the same CEO who blocked a Black Widow film several times, and voiced concerns over the box office potential of both Black Panther and Captain Marvel – two MCU juggernauts that would wind up grossing more than $1 billion each.
It wasn’t until Kevin Feige was given full control of Marvel Studios that Black Widow was fast-tracked… at long last. Let’s not forget that Feige and Co. have been mulling over the prospect of Natasha Romanoff’s solo adventure since as far back as 2009, when Emily Blunt was earmarked as a potential candidate for the title role.
It’s a role that would ultimately go to Scarlett Johansson, whose on-screen agent has come an awful long way since her somewhat questionable debut in Iron Man 2, when Natasha Romanoff was very much seen through the male gaze.
Fast forward to the present day, though, and in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios has finally built a platform on which to showcase a truly compelling Black Widow spinoff movie. Its ETA? May 1st, 2020.