Nearly a decade after she made her first appearance in 2010’s Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is finally getting her own star vehicle, with Marvel hiring a writer to tackle the screenplay.
According to Variety, relative newcomer Jac Schaeffer has been recruited to write the film. Schaeffer had attracted industry buzz in recent years for a comedy script in which a baby shower is invaded by aliens. She is also the writer behind Anne Hathaway’s forthcoming remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and wrote the much-maligned Frozen mini-sequel Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.
The news comes in the same week as a trailer for Jennifer Lawrence’s Red Sparrow was released, a film that has been dubbed an “unofficial Black Widow movie”, with Lawrence playing a Russian orphan brainwashed and trained to be a spy – mirroring Black Widow’s origin story.
The lack of a confirmed Black Widow spin-off movie has been a major bone of contention for Marvel fans for years, with many criticising Marvel for not prioritising the project, particularly after Johansson headlined the surprise $450 million hit Lucy in 2014.
Speaking in 2016, Marvel chief Kevin Feige suggested to Deadline that a Black Widow film would be next on the docket following the two-part Infinity War sequels: “Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.”
Fans, however, were sceptical of Feige’s claims after he argued in 2014 that the character may not work on her own. He told Birth Movies Death that, “with Widow, what’s great is the interaction with the team members, and the question is whether we want to pluck her out of that.”
Johansson, last seen in Ghost in the Shell and Rough Night, has played Black Widow in six Marvel movies so far, including this summer’s Avengers: Infinity War.
The Saturday, December 16 episode of Saturday Night Live was hosted by comedian and Jumanji star Kevin Hart, while the musical guest was Foo Fighters, but it was Scarlett Johansson and her dead-eyed Ivanka Trump impression in the cold open that just about made the show.
Johansson debuted her ability to channel Ivanka’s strangely inhuman poise last season and returned last night in the first sketch of the episode, which found the Trump family (Alec Baldwin as Donald, Cecily Strong as Melania) decorating the White House Christmas tree with ornaments bearing the faces of those who had wronged and/or disappointed them during the president’s almost-a-year in office. The ever-stiff Ivanka brings an ornament with defeated congressional candidate and accused child-dater Roy Moore’s face on it, plus a little angry ball that represents Steve Bannon (his giant face wouldn’t fit on a normal ornament). Jared couldn’t make it; he’s busy packing a go bag for when the FBI show up. It’s a good impression; Johansson’s first daughter never seems flustered or even all that interested, and she’s always talking out of the side of her mouth.
Later, her brothers Don Jr. (Mikey Day) and the idiotic Eric (Alex Moffat) show up, Eric with a macaroni-based art project made with, unfortunately, cooked macaroni. Something about the way Don Jr. talks to Eric gets me every time. He’s so patient! And I can’t help but think that the real Ivanka is slightly proud that while her siblings are played by the normal cast, she gets an Avenger.
Trump’s staff appear as well, with Kate McKinnon pulling double duty as Kellyanne Conway (for Christmas she wants…out) and Jeff Sessions, cleverly disguised as an Elf on the Shelf and promising, all too troublingly, that Robert Mueller will be the next man fired by Trump. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant) gets in on the holiday fun, along with Mike pence (Beck Bennet) and the recently ousted Omarosa (Leslie Jones) begging to be let back into the oval.