Of all the Avengers fans have seen brought to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow has arguably grown to be one of the most complex. Over the course of nearly a decade, she's transformed from an efficient fighter with little in the way of personality to arguably the sarcastic but principled moral heart of the team.
While promoting Avengers: Endgame at a recent press conference, Scarlet Johansson discussed the growth of her character from a "sexy secretary" to an integral part of the team, and how she feels the fans are responsible for the growing diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While speaking with panel moderator Jon Faverau, who directed the character's MCU introduction in Iron Man 2, Johansson expressed her happiness in how "the character has changed since [Faverau and I] first met and worked together. Initially, and I was just talking to Danai [Gurira] about this... the character really started as a sexy secretary with a skill-set on the side, posing as [at least]. And we didn't know, and I certainly didn't, what the fans would think of my interpretation of the character, obliviously a beloved character for a long time.
"I feel that by the next time we saw her in Avengers, she was one of the boys for better or for worse. And that made sense then. [But] I think the fans and the audiences really pushed Marvel and all the studios and filmmakers to throw up on the screen what represents what's going on in the zeitgeist, wanting to see diverse films and casts that represent their own aspirations and how they feel. I think the character's sort of grown in reaction to that, and the movies have grown in reaction to that. And [how] the fans connected."
Johansson also remembers watching first hand as more and more women joined the MCU and helped diversify the super hero universe. "I remember when [Elizabeth Olsen] signed on, and Colbie [Smulders] was there, we were all clinging together because there was just so much testosterone for such a long time. It was so nice to see more female cast members, and then with Brie [Larson] coming on and Danai... it feels like I'm among so many great actors, so many strong actors... it's grown beyond my wildest dreams. I couldn't imagine where this would take me and us, all of us. It's been quite a journey."
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau and Bradley Cooper, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Josh Brolin. The film arrives April 26.