Not long after Iron Man 2 hit theaters in 2010, Marvel Studios’ President of Production, Kevin Feige, revealed during a press conference that Marvel was chatting with Scarlett Johansson to develop concepts for a potential Black Widow spin-off film.
Black Widow of course, is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent first introduced in Iron Man 2 who appears in a more prominent role in The Avengers this week. With the character’s profile and popularity increasing as a result, there’s an even greater chance of a Black Widow solo film becoming a reality alongside additional confirmed “appearances.”
It’s not only the sexy Russian spy who has solo film potential, but Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye character (and Black Widow’s partner) as well. Renner of course, is a hot ticket in Hollywood and was highly sought after to not only take over the Mission: Impossible franchise from Tom Cruise, but to continue the Jason Bourne series as a replacement for Matt Damon’s titular character. Hawkeye had a cameo appearance in Thor and plays an important member on The Avengers roster alongside Black Widow – both lack superpowers, both have elite military training, and both characters are being explored by Marvel Studios as potential stars of their own spin-off movies.
In chatting with Movieline during The Avengers press tour, Feige addressed the potential of the studio exploring more of Black Widow’s story and whether or not the character could earn her own solo film among Marvel’s packed slate.
“Well, I think you saw it in Avengers. I think that’s one of the many amazing things Joss Whedon can do. I think people are going to be surprised by how powerful Scarlett is in this movie, and how evolved her role is. We have already planned her next appearances and where to take that character because we believe in it and we believe in her in a big, big way. When will there be a standalone? Both is what we’re heading toward. A lot of it is that we’re only going to make two movies a year, maybe sometimes it’ll be one movie a year like this year, maybe someday it’ll be three movies a year just depending on what comes together. But really, it’s two movies. So there’s kind of a backup on the runway right now in terms of when can something go. We do like when some of the characters appear in other people’s movies.”
Marvel Studios is making each and every film to serve a greater purpose as a device to introduce and expand the franchise or to make bank at the box office. A Black Widow film would need to somehow tie into an Avengers sequel or with the widely talked about SHIELD movie, so it’s more likely that a SHIELD-centric story will be where characters including Black Widow and Hawkeye would get their own adventures and more screentime.