One of the longest-running fan complaints in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the studio’s reluctance to give Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow her own standalone film, but now it looks like the studio is finally serious about making the project happen. Variety reports that the studio has hired screenwriter Jac Schaeffer to write a script for the as-of-yet untitled film.
The project is reportedly still in the development stages without a formal greenlight in place, but the fact that Marvel is even developing a Black Widow movie is significant. Johansson has been part of the larger franchise since 2010, when she appeared in Iron Man 2. But despite the prominence of her character in The Avengers and subsequent movies, she has nevertheless been relegated to supporting roles, with male heroes at the helm of Marvel’s standalone movies. That trend appeared to be changing in 2014, when Marvel announced the character Captain Marvel would be getting her own standalone film. (It opens later this year, with Brie Larson in the title role.)
The project will be Schaeffer’s first time working in the Marvel universe. She previously wrote the Disney short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” as well as the upcoming Nasty Women, a female-led remake of the Steve Martin and Michael Caine comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. While it’s too early to tell if the Black Widow movie will end up in theaters, Marvel’s slate of “phase three” films currently runs through 2019, so any potential standalone Black Widow movie would likely arrive after that chapter in the cinematic universe.