If you watched the Red Sparrow trailer and thought to yourself, “that is basically the plot of Black Widow’s life,” you’re not alone.
Marvel fans have been clamoring for years for a standalone movie about Natalia Romanova, otherwise known as The Avengers’ Black Widow. While Scarlett Johansson has portrayed the Russian superspy in Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War, she has had to wait on the sidelines while almost every other member of the superhero team got to have their own standalone cinematic adventures.
Marvel has been cagey for years over the reasons why they’ve held off on a Black Widow film. The company line was often that they were very committed to making a movie about the character, but never offering any details while they announced a new slate of films — including a standalone film about Captain Marvel, a different female superhero.
Of course, the unsaid thing was always that because Black Widow is female, it’s presumed that Marvel is worried she wouldn’t attract the hordes of fans who come out and make every one of their films a No. 1 opener.
The project was still floating in the ether when Jennifer Lawrence signed on to play Dominika Egorova in Red Sparrow. It’s the story of a young Russian woman who gives up her life to be trained as a spy for the government who then gets in over her head. That’s more or less what the plot of a Black Widow origin movie would look like and people certainly noticed.
WRITER 1: What can we title this so nobody suspects it's just a Black Widow knock-off?
WRITER 2: … Red… Sparrow?
STUDIO: Here is a check with many zeroes. https://t.co/vi7dCj3ZHK
— Jeff Weiner (@JeffWeinerOS) January 8, 2018
How come Scarlett Johansson isn't in the Black Widow prequel and why is it called Red Sparrow?
— Andy Lewis (@andyblewis) January 8, 2018
Perhaps related and perhaps unrelated, Marvel has now decided it might be a good time to get that ball rolling. Per Variety, they have announced that Jac Schaeffer will write the script on the still-very-pre-production project. Schaeffer is best-known as the writer and director of TiMER. However, she also has two high-profile projects coming up, The Shower, which has Anne Hathaway attached to star, and a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake titled Nasty Women.
Assuming she remains on the project, she’ll be the third female screenwriter on a Marvel film, joining Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Captain Marvel).
It should be noted that the hiring of the writer is a very early step in the filmmaking process and we’re likely still years away from seeing a Black Widow movie in theaters. In fact, depending on what happens in Infinity War and the next Avengers film, the eventual film might not even star Johansson. Regardless, it’s an important step for Marvel to make and better late than never.