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Five Black Widow Stories Fit For Film

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If there’s one thing that the Marvel’s very vocal online fanbase wants, it’s a super hero movie with a female lead. Considering how successful female-led films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen, The Heat and Gravity were in 2013, Marvel has very little reason to keep their big screen efforts so male-dominated. After releasing eight films starring male heroes, it’s about time they considered diversifying their output. Thankfully Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige seems to agree, and a recent statement made to Total Film indicates that a film starring Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow may be close to reality.

“Widow’s part in [Avengers: Age of Ultron] is very big,” said Feige. “We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that.” Fingers crossed that the vague “development work” statement firms up into something real. Here are five Black Widow stories that could easily form the basis of Natasha Romanoff’s first solo film adventure.

Deadly Origin

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Most super heroes get their origin story retold when they get a solo film, but Black Widow’s a bit trickier. Unlike most of the other Avengers, she’ll have already appeared in at least three films before getting a lead role. Her past has been hinted at, but she’s also already been established as a present-day hero. She doesn’t need to have her origin told, and if that story is told, it can unfold alongside a present-day storyline. Deadly Origin balances a dual narrative, one that goes all the way back to Natasha’s childhood as an assassin in training.

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

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One way to explore Natasha’s history without getting stranded in Flashbacksville would be to show the present day origin story of another Black Widow on the big screen. Our Black Widow could learn that the Russians are still manufacturing soldiers with a certain skillset, thus introducing audiences to the cunning and decidedly dastardlier Yelena Belova. Natasha’s spent a lot of time onscreen playing off her past; in a confrontation with Yelena, Natasha would have to confront her own dark past to try to save the new Black Widow from her programming.

Black Widow with Daredevil

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Now hold up, it is problematic to shove a male hero into Marvel’s first super heroine film, but this pairing could both help repair Daredevil’s busted public image and play with one of the MCU’s biggest tropes. This film would be Black Widow with Daredevil, not Black Widow and Daredevil. Pretty much every Marvel man film has had a woman as the co-lead/romantic interest, and Matt Murdock – fresh off of his upcoming Netflix series – could play that part in a film adapting their time spent together in San Francisco. As long as Black Widow is as unquestionably the protagonist as Iron Man is in his films, there’s no harm in sliding Daredevil into the Pepper Potts role – meaning he might even get damseled!

The Name of the Rose

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With Black Widow in the lead, this story by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna established a healthy supporting cast that could easily make its way onscreen. In this classic spy tale full of exotic locales and plot twists, Natasha comes into conflict with Elektra and Lady Bullseye – two villains that would make great onscreen adversaries for Black Widow. There’s also room for Captain America and the Winter Soldier in supporting roles, which might be welcome if Captain America: The Winter Solider ends up being as amazing as the trailers indicate. This story also relentlessly scrutinizes Natasha’s morality, making it one of the most personal Black Widow tales out there.

Raison D’Etre

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The current Black Widow series by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto seems as if it was pitched to be a film. Haunted by the horrible deeds of her past, Natasha returns to her muscle-for-hire roots in order to make the money necessary to provide for the people left in the wake of her former life as an assassin. The series is incredibly stylish with plenty of big action sequences that would easily blow any other action movie out of the water. With a bazooka. Because Natasha uses a bazooka in this comic. Even though Black Widow is just getting started and the overarching plot has yet to kick in, a film focused on Agent Romanoff running as many insane missions as possible before the clock runs out sounds good to us.

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Comments

  • Josh Parra

    No one has rolled their eyes more than me at the prospect of a Black Widow movie (I find the character boring, and I don’t find Scarlett Johansson charismatic enough to carry a film on her own), but the Itsy-Bitsy Spider suggestion is actually really interesting.

  • lloyd

    Black Widow isn’t that interesting to me… but I’d still check it out

  • Chris

    Why no mention of Homecoming or The Things They Say About Her.

  • Greg Orzech

    Batman, James Bond, and the Punisher all rolled into one; is there a more intriguing heroine out there? Itsy-Bitsy Spider and The Name of The Rose would be phenomenal to see on film. I’m also a big fan of the new series, and it has one of the best 1st issues ever.

  • JohnZee

    The problem isn’t the comic book character as it has certainly been shown that a strong female protagonist, especially in the spy oriented genre can carry a movie well enough without it being based on a well established Marvel character. The problem with a solo Black Widow movie is that Scarlett Johansson has all the personality of an old wooden door with a great pair of knockers. She simply isn’t capable of carrying a movie. The very best that could be said about every scene in Avengers that focused on her weas that they were the best opportunities to take a quick bathroom break. Whedon had to pull the most ludicrous six minutes of footage from the Drew Barrymore Charles Angels movie to even come up with a way to introduce the character. Simply not capable. Any great Black Widow story arc will be reduced to what Johansson does best, playing arm candy for a male actor who can actually act.

  • SorryNotSorry

    Count me in.

  • Todd Matthy

    The Richard K Morgan series would be great.

  • unpaidpundit

    Scarlett Johansson has a Tony. Johanson has proven herself as a stage actress, and most actors consider stage acting to be a greater challenge than film acting.

  • JohnZee

    Nice sound bite rebuttal. Of course in no way does it go into the fact there are legions of critics and fans of stage acting that are just as highly dismissive of her acting. Many who rightfully believe the only reason she won that Tony was because of her celebrity status. Something which makes perfect sense considering many great actors take years and years to develop the level of stage acting that usually gets one such a prestigious award. But then again without a doubt her win visibly showed that the Tony’s can be just as skewed as any other awards when it comes to nominating and awarding awards to the undeserving who just so happen to have legions of fanatical fans. Are you going to argue to the absolute contrary? We both know that even if she did considerably raise the bar when it came to her acting on stage, her celebrity status also played a considerable role in that win. Also for the record, you want to prove to me that she can act, any award under the sun will never be capable of such a feat. I would have to see her act, which I have yet to see.

  • Art Salmons

    Clearly the best Black Widow story to turn into a Scarlett Johansen movie would be “Abattoir” by Starlin and Chiodo.

  • Matt

    “seems as if it was pitched to be a film.”

    -Every Nathan Edmondson book ever

    (not a judge of quality, mind you)

  • HBICkellz

    I honestly think the Itsy Bitsy Spider would be a FANTASTIC film. Even better if it would be her sequel story.

  • Barracuda

    Perfect mix – Natasha vs Yelena with a few origin flashbacks. Add Winter Soldier cameo (as a possible love interest) and it’s a cool action flick.

  • L.W.

    I agree. There’s a reason she’s typecast into ingenue or seductress roles, with few lines: because she doesn’t have the charisma or the acting ability to play anything else. In films where she doesn’t have good directors or actors to bounce off of, like Nanny Diaries, she’s an absolute stinker, and when she is surrounded by a great cast, she’s completely overshadowed (see: Vicky Cristina Barcelona). I’m baffled as to why she’s still getting jobs; her monotone and underacting can’t carry a film, and that’s been proven in several flops.

    I think people are just impressed with the excellent movies she’s been in, and are misattributing great direction/camera work to her acting.

  • notfromvenus

    Agreed. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the new BW series (though it being sold out at the shop seems like a good sign), but Homecoming/The Things They Say is the absolute best BW story I’ve read.

    The part where she finds out the truth about her ballerina career? Punch in the gut.

  • Greg Orzech

    Additionally, while Marvel has overall been doing a good job casting their mainstays (Iron Man, Thor, Loki), Johansson doesn’t exude any of the class, skill, toughness, or true sex appeal of the Widow.

  • DonnaBrazileRocks

    My dream movie is actually Itsy Bitsy Spider with flashbacks of Yelena’s origin in Pale Little Spider mixed in, contrasting with other flashbacks of Natasha’s own origin story.

    Of course, my absolute dream would be for a movie quality miniseries of this that also includes the story in Breakdown, but …

  • unpaidpundit

    “The New York Times” gave Johansson a positive review for her performance as Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” an iconic role for an actress. I’ve never seen Johansson on stage, but I thought her performances in the Marvel films have been quite good. Keep in mind, she hasn’t been called upon to do anything all that subtle as Black Widow.

  • daredeville

    I would pick Name of the Rose… that one was fantastic. Itsy Bitsy Spider would be great too… adding Yelena Belova to the mix gives a good opportunity for discussion of The Red Room. Working in Winter Soldier would be a nice natural fit.

  • Pete Donegan

    “She’ll have already appeared in at least three movies before getting a lead role”

    Iron Man 2, Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier , Avengers: Age of Ultron.

    4

  • JohnZee

    Glad she received a good review in the New York Times. My best guess is that you imagine that to be a difficult task for an actress of celebrity status in this modern age. More than likely said review was an example of a carefully constructed response to all that controversy over the Tony she won, which many did not think she deserved. A review in the New York Times reinforcing that she indeed was talented enough, because she had been cast in an iconic play in an iconic role and yet did not stink things up to the level where they would be distracting. . Sounds more like the predigested damage control one would expect to be made readily available across the internet simply by the posting of a positive review in the New York Times. Again until I see with my own eyes her showing any real acting skill whether on stage, in a movie, or endorsing one product or another, no elementary search of the internet for written “proof” of her acting ability will ever sway me. The fact that you yourself could be so easily and adamantly swayed into believing she possesses any real skill at stage acting simply by doing such is far more a testament to your gullibility than any real acting ability on her part. Even worse the fact you admit that somehow even though so many have continually pointed out her lackluster performances in the various Marvel films, that you thought she did a pretty good job speaks volumes in regards to your ability to distinguish what good acting even is. And if I was to hazard a guess I would say the real reason she hasn’t been giving anything subtle to do with the Black Widow character is because it is simply beyond her capabilities.