Black Widow has been a major player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since being introduced in Iron Man 2, from being one of the founding Avengers to helping Steve Rogers expose HYDRA's existence within S.H.I.E.L.D. But unlike the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and even Hulk, Scarlett Johansson's iteration of Natasha Romanoff hasn't led her own standalone adventure. That's going to change in Marvel's Phase 4, and it's being reported that Cate Shortland will be the one directing the Black Widow movie.
Marvel's hiring of Cate Shortland for the Black Widow movie marks the end of an extensive search that resulted in the studio interviewing between 70 to 75 candidates for the director position. Finding a woman to helm the superhero blockbuster was reportedly a priority, and A United Kingdom's Amma Asante and Novitiate's Maggie Betts were two of the finalists for the job alongside Shortland. In the end, though, Shortland was selected to direct Black Widow, and according to THR, Scarlett Johansson pushed for Shortland to be hired.
Cate Shortland's credits include 2012's Lore, last year's Berlin Syndrome and episodes of TV shows like Bad Cop, Bad Cop and The Secret Life of Us. Marvel began its director search in April, three months after it was announced that the Black Widow movie was in development, and three weeks ago, it was reported that Shortland was at the top of the list. Now the news is official, and no doubt Shortland will soon be meeting with Scarlett Johansson and writer Jac Schaeffer to hash out the upcoming movie. Black Widow will be the MCU's second, solo female-led movie, following behind next year's Captain Marvel, as well as the franchise's first movie to be directed solely by a woman, as Anna Boden is co-helming Captain Marvel with Ryan Fleck.
We've learned bits and pieces of Black Widow's past in the MCU (particularly in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron), and rather than the Black Widow movie following along with Natasha Romanoff in the present day, the plan is reportedly for the tale to be set before the events of Iron Man 2. If that is indeed the case, that would mark another superheroine-led movie being a prequel, since Captain Marvel is set in the 1990s and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman over at DC had the spotlight shined on her during World War I for her first movie and in the 1980s for her next movie.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for continuing coverage on how the Black Widow movie is progressing. For now, you can look forward to Scarlett Johansson reprising Natasha Romanoff in Avengers 4, which opens on May 3, 2019, but if you want to catch her most recent appearance, you can see/re-watch Avengers: Infinity War when it arrives on Digital HD July 31 and Blu-ray/DVD on August 14.