Marvel Studios’ Black Widow movie is one step closer to happening, as the film has now set a director. THR reports and we at Collider can confirm that after meeting with over 70 potential filmmakers, Cate Shortland has signed on to direct the standalone superhero pic that will star Scarlett Johansson. Marvel had no comment.
Shortland is an Australian director best known for features like Lore and Berlin Syndrome, but Black Widow marks her biggest project to date by far. Of course that’s pretty much the Marvel way. Shane Black had only directed one movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, before helming Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor made his feature debut on that sequel after directing standout episodes of television.
Finding a female filmmaker for Black Widow has been a priority for Marvel, although THR reports that at one point the search stalled and they looked at male directors. Last month the director hunt narrowed with Amma Asante (Belle) and Maggie Betts (Novitiate) arising as the finalists alongside Shortland, while Inglourious Basterds breakout Melanie Laurent and Boys Don’t Cry filmmaker Kimberly Pierce nearly made the final cut.
Shortland doesn’t even have agency representation, but Johansson pushed for the filmmaker to land the gig as the actress had a strong hand in picking this director. Johansson reportedly sparked to how Shortland handled the female lead of Lore. This project has been a long time coming, as fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow movie ever since the character was introduced in Iron Man 2. Marvel was, uh, slow to respond, but better late than never right?
The most recent draft of the script was penned by Jac Schaeffer, and THR says the story is set before the events of Joss Whedon’s box office smash The Avengers. It’s unclear how quickly Black Widow will happen as Johansson has a busy schedule and Marvel is keeping mum on all of its post-Avengers 4 titles, but it’s likely a priority. Marvel Studios will release Captain Marvel as its first female-led superhero movie next March, followed by Avengers 4 in May and Spider-Man: Far from Home in July. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.