I would love a Black Widow standalone movie. The character of Natasha Romanoff is one of the more fascinating characters to come out of the MCU so far and we got only a glimpse of her story in Age of Ultron. SPOILER She was a young girl taken into a program which trains women to be spies and assassins. She was drugged, brainwashed, tortured, and then sterilized while there. Her arc to redemption, becoming a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., and her work outside of The Avengers Initiative would make a great movie.
There is a big chance there are those in the MCU who would love to make a Black Widow movie, there is a big public outcry for it with both men and women clambering to see it. Kevin Feige is not a total moron. If there are enough people who want to see a certain movie, he will get it done. He got Ant-Man out there for the comic book fans who wanted an original Avenger to have a movie. No one in the main stream had heard of that guy.
I’m not ignoring the bigger story which is sexism in the MCU (or superhero movies in general). I just want to point out another possible reason why Black Widow is not getting her own movie.
The other person possibly standing in the way could be Scarlett Johansson, or more like her salary. Johansson reportedly made $20 million for a supporting role in Age of Ultron. Her co-star (and second over-all billed star for the movie) Chris Evans made about $7 million. Hemsworth made $5 million. The only person who made more money than her in Ultron was Robert Downey Jr. (he made approx. $70 million). Her pay scale for Civil War probably went up too.
There are reports stating she has approached Feige about a standalone movie, and they both have a vision for her and her story. But a big reason why they have not decided to greenlight it is she has the power to get a lot more money than the studio is willing to pay.
The Marvel movie contracts are set up to benefit the studio more than the actors, but both do prosper from the arrangement. The actors sign a contract that pays them at a lower than normal asking price and they have to appear in at least six movies with an option to be make cameos or add more movies later. In return for the lower pay and multi-picture show up, the actors are made into household names almost overnight, their usual asking price goes way up, and they also have a larger pool of movies they can pick from. There is a reason why Marvel will usually go after talent that is established, but not huge names at that time. Both the studio and actor largely benefit from the arrangement. Their pay scale does go up with each box office success, but it does not come close to what these actors can get on a non-Marvel movie. The obvious exceptions are the big name actors they love to sign to legitimize the movie as more than just a goofy comic book popcorn flick.
Johansson has only one more movie on her contract (after Civil War is done) and I have no doubt she will not sign another big contract like the one about to expire. She may very well do what Downey had done after his contract was up and sign a lucrative deal to come back for one more movie, but Widow’s arc will probably be over by the time we get to Infinity Wars Part 2. Marvel Studios went after Downey because they didn’t want to suffer Nerd Rage if they attempted to do a Civil War movie and not have Tony Stark be a part of it. Johansson has the freedom to star in other action movies like Lucy or take on passion projects and earn a better paycheck without all the constraints of multiple movies.
Like I said earlier, Feige is not a moron. His plan could very well be to wait out Johansson’s contract and move on to another woman to take her place. The school Widow graduated from was packed full of other women, there are more out there just waited to have their story told too. The studio can pick an actress with a much lower pay value to star in a reboot of the character. Now that Feige is out from under a certain cheap, sexist billionaire, we will see what he can do.
There are a lot of people claiming sexism, and they very well could be right. The geeky, comic book world (or just science fiction in general) is largely considered to be a boys club. But this could be about the all mighty dollar and how little they can get away with paying the actors.
What do you think? Are we not getting a Black Widow movie because of sexism or money? A big dosage of both? Or do you think there is another reason? Sound off in the comments.