Although Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said the studio is "committing" to a Black Widow solo film, there's been little outward sign of progress on the project, first mentioned six years ago.
But Scarlett Johansson, who debuted as Black Widow in 2010's "Iron Man," remains hopeful for a standalone film starring the fan-favorite spy turned superhero.
"I would like for it to happen under the right circumstances," she told Variety. "I think there's a lot of opportunity to mine that storyline. She's got a really rich origins story. There's a lot of places you can go — you can bring it back to Russia. You could explore the Widow program. There's all kinds of stuff that you could do with it. You could really uncover the identity of who this person is, where she comes from and where she's part of."
However, the actress rejected the notion that a solo film would necessarily have to be an origin story, saying, "It could be something else. Where do the Avengers go? They are underground. What happens then? What happens after it all falls apart? There are so many ways you can go. I think it would just have to be very much like its own specific thing. It would have to have its own specific vibe. It would have been totally different than any of the other standalone films."
However, Johansson cautioned, "If I did it, I’d have to do it while I still actually wanted to wear a skin-tight catsuit. I don’t know how much longer that's going to be."
Plans for a Black Widow movie actually predate Marvel Studios in its current form: Lionsgate previously held the film rights to the character, and in 2004 announced development of a feature to be written and directed by David Hayter ("X-Men," "Watchmen"). However, within two years the project had been abandoned, and the rights reverted to Marvel.
“What I tried to do was use the backdrop of the splintered Soviet Empire – a lawless insane asylum with 400-some odd nuclear missile silos. It was all about loose nukes, and I felt it was very timely and very cool,” Hayter recalled in 2011. “Unfortunately, as I was coming up on the final draft, a number of female vigilante movies came out. We had Tomb Raider and Kill Bill, which were the ones that worked, but then we had 'BloodRayne' and 'Ultraviolet' and 'Aeon Flux.' 'Aeon Flux' didn’t open well, and three days after it opened, the studio said, ‘We don’t think it’s time to do this movie.’ I accepted their logic in terms of the saturation of the marketplace, but it was pretty painful. I had not only invested a lot of time in that movie, but I had also named my daughter, who was born in that time period Natasha – after the lead character in 'Black Widow.' I named my daughter after a movie that I wasn’t working on anymore.”
Johansson, the highest-grossing actress of all time, will return as Black Widow in "Avengers: Infinity War," which opens May 4, 2018.