Jessica Chastain Calls Out Marvel, Demands Scarlett Johansson-Led Black Widow Spinoff


Marvel has been coming under fire in recent months for a lack of female-led superhero movies in its existent and planned Cinematic Universe, and now Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain, known for playing strong-willed female protagonists in films like Zero Dark Thirty and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, is getting in on the discussion.

In a recent conversation with TheWrap, Chastain commented on the fact that Scarlett Johansson, who has played superhero Black Widow in three Marvel entries thus far (Iron Man 2The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier), has yet to receive her own movie.

Chastain asked:

“Where is the Scarlett Johansson superhero movie? I don’t understand it, why is it taking so long for this? This woman clearly shows that people want to go see her in movies.”

The actress noted that Lucy, which Johansson recently toplined, outgrossed the Dwayne Johnson-led Hercules at the box office this past July, despite being made for less (so far, the Luc Besson-directed flick has made $217 million worldwide on a $40 million budget).

Chastain added:

“She shows that she kicks ass, she’s a great actress. To me, it’s a no brainer. You want to make money, put Scarlett Johansson in her own superhero movie!”

The actress is just one of many individuals to recently bash Marvel for its lack of female-led superhero pics. The criticism has been such that Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige saw fit to address the matter, explaining that a Black Widow spinoff “comes down to timing” and necessitates “being able to tell the right story.” He added that:

“I hope we do it sooner rather than later. But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have – which is a very, very good thing and we don’t take it for granted, but it is challenging.

Hunger Games, Frozen, Divergent, you can go back to Kill Bill or Aliens…these are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done.”

Those comments weren’t particularly well-received on the blogosphere, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy proved that the studio could effectively promote a humor-heavy space adventure with a mostly mute tree alien and a feisty animated racoon – so why is it taking so long for Marvel to put its faith in a female lead, especially one as massively popular as Johansson?

Adding to the frustration about a delayed Black Widow film is that Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall has loudly lobbied to direct such a spinoff. With a potential director and a star in place, in addition to decades of comic book mythology, there’s really no reason Marvel should be sitting on its hands with this project.