Why Scarlett Johansson Is ‘Very Thankful’ Black Widow Is Being Made Now Instead Of 10 Years Ago

Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh in Black Widow

It feels like the Black Widow movie has been on the Marvel Studios radar ever since the character was introduced in Iron Man 2. As other core members of The Avengers branched out in their own movies and sequels, the character of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was saved for Avengers team ups or Captain America chapters. There was talk of giving Natasha Romanoff her own movie, but even Johansson admits that for a long time, no one at Marvel could come to terms with what that standalone movie was going to be about.

Apparently Black Widow needed to die before she could live in her own movie (but more on that in a second). CinemaBlend traveled to England back in 2019 to watch director Cate Shortland film scenes for the upcoming MCU prequel story -- though not quite an “origin story,” because it won’t go back with Black Widow’s earliest days. And when we got to sit down with Scarlett Johansson, she told us exactly why it took this long to make Black Widow, and why she’s happy that they waited. Johansson told us:

This movie would have been so different if we’d made it 10 years ago. It was a different time. I think we can all agree on that. A lot of people ask me why we didn’t do it before now, but in some ways -- I’m sure there’s a lot of reasons for that -- in some ways I’m actually very thankful that it’s happening (now) because we can actually make a movie that’s about real stuff, and audiences want that. I think they’ve always wanted that.

In 2009-10, Marvel Studios was just tiptoeing into the shallow waters of its cinematic universe. It had introduced Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and tackled a Hulk movie that didn’t really move the pieces around the board. Scarlett Johansson is right that if Marvel tried to do a Black Widow movie back then, as part of its still-developing Phase One, then it likely would have been more superficial than the political thriller that the MCU is now capable of (like Captain America: Civil War).

Extra time also gave the Black Widow team an extra incentive, though, as Scarlett Johansson explained to CinemaBlend:

This movie became more of a reality when we were shooting Infinity War, so I did know about the character’s fate. … It was kind of nice in a way because it somehow felt that (this) movie didn’t have to happen. There was no pressing urgency to make it. So we made it because we wanted to, which is way better than making something because you have to.

She brings up an excellent point. It would have been very easy for Marvel Studios to let Natasha Romanoff rest in peace, having made the ultimate sacrifice for her teammates, her “family,” in Avengers: Endgame. But they must have landed on a story that they felt needed to be told, and that’s why we’re all patiently waiting for Black Widow to drop into theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access beginning on July 9. Tickets are on sale as we speak, so make sure you are getting them for opening weekend. We will have more from the set on CinemaBlend this week, as well as reactions to the movie, so make sure you check us daily.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.