Why It's Not 'Too Late' For Black Widow's Solo Movie, According To Scarlett Johansson

Natasha smile at fat joke in first Black Widow trailer
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Scarlett Johansson has heard Marvel fans say it's too late for Black Widow to be getting her first -- and presumably only -- solo MCU movie. After all, Natasha Romanoff was first introduced in Iron Man 2, which came out in 2010, 10 years before Black Widow will arrive in 2020. Also, we just saw her die in Avengers: Endgame! It's a rather unusual choice to give a character their first feature film, set in the recent past, after the character died in a movie that was released the previous year. Is Black Widow just an "afterthought" for the MCU?

To Scarlett Johansson, even though Black Widow had to see multiple Iron Man, Captain America, and even Ant-Man films come and go before she got her turn, she needed to wait until this moment for the full impact of Nat's story.

Here's what Scarlett Johansson said about the movie during a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

What can I say? Well, I think it’s already out there [that] it takes place after the Civil War and before the Infinity War. ... A lot of people have told me that the film, you know, that the film should have happened before and they’re wondering if it’s too late for this movie now. But I really could never have made this film 10 years ago when we first started our journey with Marvel. Because it's such a -- it's a film that's so about, the character has informed this film. My journey with Natasha has informed this film and it’s a character who is a fully recognized woman and I think it has a complexity to it that is just delicious. Not to say that it wouldn't have been something else and totally entertaining 10 years ago. But we get to do stuff now that is just good.

It sounds like there's more depth to the story now, and Marvel fans certainly know Black Widow better than we did 10 years ago. Interestingly enough, Marvel released the first teaser trailer for Black Widow this past Monday and no one told Scarlett Johansson it was coming. She told Stephen Colbert she learned when she got a text from Captain America Chris Evans at 5 a.m. saying the trailer looked great.

You can check it out again here:

As Scarlett Johansson noted, the story takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Jac Schaeffer co-wrote the script with Ned Benson and she told Inverse Natasha is "very much on her own, and over the events of the Black Widow movie she has to reckon with some of the red in her ledger." Schaeffer said she "cried like a baby" watching Natasha's sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. It was just weird for her to see Natasha's death on screen:

It was a strange feeling. I have some proprietary feelings because if you are a writer who gets very emotionally invested in your work — which I think is most writers — the characters feel very real to you. So seeing her death in a movie that I didn’t have anything to do with — it was a little bit similar to seeing an ex-boyfriend with another partner. There’s a weird sort of removal that feels wrong and right at the same time. But her arc in the movie is wonderful.

Scarlett Johansson said Black Widow gave her closure after Avengers: Endgame, and it may give fans the same feeling. At the same time, the movie is just the start of MCU Phase 4, so many fans are curious how Marvel's tradition of post-credits scenes will set up the next movies -- including The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder.

Black Widow opens in theaters May 1, 2020. Here's more of what we know so far about the movie. Keep up with everything heading to the big screen next year with our 2020 movie release date schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.