Following the success of 2018 titles Black Panther and The Avengers: Infinity War, the blockbuster powerhouse known as Marvel is chugging right along with its many projects, namely Black Widow. According to several reports, Marvel is looking for a female director to helm the superhero movie, which is likely to begin production in 2019, per Screenrant.
Deadline reports that out of a list of 49 contenders, Australian director Cate Shortland (Lore, Berlin Syndrome) is at the top of the list, but Amma Asante (Belle) and Maggie Betts (Novitiate) are not far behind. All three directors have met with Marvel president Kevin Feige and the Black Widow herself, Scarlett Johansson.
Slashfilm says Shortland’s work tends to focus on female characters surviving trauma. “Most of my characters have a hard time,” Shortland told The Independent last year. “But I don’t want to tell stories which are just black and dark and upsetting. I want people to leave the cinemas feeling there is a way out. That there is a way of connecting to other people, or to themselves. I don’t want to make something that’s just nihilist. I want to connect to people.”
Feige committed to a standalone Black Widow movie back in 2016, and in 2017 Johansson confirmed the plans but chalked the delay up to a matter of time. “I’ve talked to Kevin Feige about it. [...] I think we both agree that the character is right for a standalone, it’s just a case of timing at this point for both Marvel and myself,” Johansson said in 2017. “Marvel has a really huge roster. They’re looking four years ahead. I also have a lot of things that I want to do. If I did it, I would dedicate myself completely to making it amazing. It would have to be the best version that movie could possibly be. Otherwise, I would never do it.”
Black Widow is set to become Marvel’s second female-led movie, after the Brie Larson led Captain Marvel premieres in March 2019. Last month, Feige also teased the possibility of Marvel’s first Muslim female superhero, Ms. Marvel, a.k.a Kamala Khan, being introduced after Captain Marvel.