Scarlett Johansson became an instant favorite among Marvel Cinematic Universe fans after debuting in Iron Man 2, but for large parts of her screen time it felt as though Natasha Romanoff was little more than window dressing, with her various action beats compensating for a pretty one-dimensional role in the grand scheme of things.
Obviously, in the decade since then, Johansson has gone on to become one of the biggest, most popular and highest-paid female stars in Hollywood, as well as arguably being established as the MCU’s premiere non-superpowerered character. And now, at long last, eleven years after her first appearance and fourteen months behind schedule, Black Widow is finally coming to theaters and Disney Plus Premier Access in a matter of weeks.
The cast and crew have spent a long time sitting on their hands in regards to talking about the movie, and in an interview conducted during production, the leading lady expressed her dismay that Natasha was so heavily over-sexualized in Iron Man 2, but she’s happy that both the MCU and the industry at large have long since made a concerted effort to distance themselves from such depictions.
“All of that is related to that move away from the kind of hyper-sexualization of this character and, I mean, you look back at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know? Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever, like a piece of ass, really. And Tony even refers to her as something like that at one point. What does he say?” It’s changing now. Now people, young girls, are getting a much more positive message, but it’s been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side and be a part of that old story, but also progress. Evolve. I think it’s pretty cool.”
Based on the footage we’ve seen so far, the two-time Academy Award nominee will be looking to go out on a high note when Black Widow arrives on July 9th, although there’s already been a myriad of inevitable rumors that her time as part of the franchise isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination. For now, though, Natasha’s long-awaited solo debut will bring a sense of closure to her arc, and it’s fair to say that she’s evolved a great deal since her initial outing as Tony Stark’s undercover secretary.