Over the past 11 years, Marvel has successfully expanded the franchise into a vast universe full of more comic-book character portrayals than one can count. There's been a lot going on for the Avengers and friends, but for many fans, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow hasn't had quite enough to do. Audiences have been rooting for a Marvel movie for Natasha Romanoff to call her own, and it certainly seems like those dreams are coming true.
Earlier this year, Marvel reportedly hired screenwriter Jac Schaeffer and director Cate Shortland to team up with Scarlett Johansson for a Black Widow movie. Soon after, a rumored plot line made its way online, describing the film as a prequel/origin story for the hero that would be a period piece. But former Black Widow writer/director David Hayter, who worked on the scrapped project with Lionsgate, maintains the rumored plot is straight from his past project that never came to be. In his words:
Somebody just put out a synopsis of the upcoming film based on my script because it was essentially an origin story but they basically described what my logline was.
The rumored plot details for Black Widow looked to walk a similar path to the first-female led Marvel film, Captain Marvel, which will take audiences back to the '90s when it comes to theaters this March. Per David Hayter's recent comments to DiscussingFilm (via HN Entertainment), the synopsis detailed Natasha Romanoff living in the United States 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union-- putting it at around 2006. The given description does sounds a little dated if you look closely at it, since it says "the action moves to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative" in coincidence with the 12-year-old date.
As of yet, no official plot details have been released from Marvel about the upcoming Black Widow movie. The studio seems to be keeping just about everything under wraps until Avengers 4 makes its way to theaters, because its conclusion will likely have a large effect on where the MCU goes from here. Kevin Feige has expressed Marvel's commitment "creatively and emotionally" to telling Black Widow's story in Phase 4 though, so the project seems to be given upmost priority moving forward. Filming could begin as early as early 2019 and Black Widow might see a 2020 release if rumors ring true.
When Scarlett Johansson was asked about the solo project early this year, she showed an interest in telling the story of Natasha where she has room to finally have agency as a character after a long career of taking orders in her past. Johansson seems to want to look forward with the role, and that honestly may be the best way to go for the movie-- with some unique exploration of her troubled past woven in as well. I personally think telling the story of a female hero already seasoned in her work and effected by it is much more intriguing than having Johansson pose as her character while she's in her early '20s. It would disconnect Natasha from all her work in the MCU, dating back to 2010's Iron Man 2.
Scarlett Johansson is reportedly making bank on the solo project with a reported $15 million paycheck, comparable to Chris Evan's for Captain America: Civil War and Chris Hemsworth's in Thor: Ragnarok. It may be a while before we receive some solid intel about Black Widow, but until then the actress will reprise her iconic role in Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019.