Call off the search party, for Marvel Studios has settled on its director for the standalone Black Widow movie – Cate Shortland.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Shortland (Nazi drama Lore) emerged as an early frontrunner back in June, when it was rumored that Marvel’s top brass had met with over 65 possible filmmakers (!) for Black Widow. That very long shortlist was then whittled down to a few contenders, though it seems Shortland has ultimately pipped the likes of Amma Asante (Belle, A United Kingdom) and Maggie Betts (Novitiate) to land the coveted MCU gig.
Word is Marvel plans to get the ball rolling early next year, and today’s appointment of Cate Shortland tells us that Black Widow has its crosshairs placed on possible 2020 release, where it would presumably join Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 from James Gunn.
Scarlett Johansson is back as the Russian spy-turned-super heroine, and THR’s scoop confirms that Marvel’s Black Widow film is a prequel, as it’ll take place “before the events of the first Avengers movie.”
Frankly, that opens up a well of possibilities for Cate Shortland and screenwriter Jac Schaeffer, what with talk of Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier swinging by for a cameo role. Perhaps it’ll open in a post-Cold War Russia? There’s certainly precedent for Bucky and Natasha sharing the spotlight, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this standalone project as it begins to take shape.
Now that a director is finally locked in, and Jac Schaeffer is on script duties, Black Widow is well on its way to becoming Marvel Studios’ second female-centric MCU movie – after Captain Marvel, of course, which has been cleared for take-off on March 8th.