Benedict Cumberbatch Speaks Out on Scarlett Johansson's Disney Battle

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Doctor Strange, Black Widow, Disney

Black Widow might already be winding down its theatrical run, but discussion about the film is still ramping up due to the current legal battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney over its hybrid release.

After experiencing multiple pandemic-infused delays, Black Widow was finally given the chance to be released in theaters but with an added twist. Instead of an exclusive theatrical debut, the Scarlett Johansson-led MCU prequel was also relegated to Disney+ via Premier Access, giving fans a chance to watch the film in the comfort of their own homes. 

This hybrid release strategy ended up drawing the ire of Johansson, with the actress suing Disney due to a breach of contract. The House of Mouse fired back, saying that the lawsuit had "no merit whatsoever" while also describing the act as "sad and distressing."

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige chimed in on the whole ordeal with reports saying that the executive was "angry and embarrassed" about the situation. 

Now, another MCU veteran has shared his reaction to the legal dispute between the two sides. 

Benedict Cumberbatch Responds to Black Widow Lawsuit

Johansson Black Widow Disney logo

Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays the MCU's Doctor Strange, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the current legal battle between Scarlett Johansson and Disney. 

The MCU veteran first pointed out that "it's sad what's going on between the lawyers" of the two sides, admitting that the whole thing is "just a bit of a mess:"

“It's sad what's going on between the lawyers. Just the verbiage and the accusations of, ‘Put it in a global pandemic context.' The whole thing's just a bit of a mess. We're trying to understand what the revenue streams should be for artists that contribute to the billion-dollar business that is Disney. And it has to be contractualized."

Cumberbatch continued by pointing out that the hybrid release situation is a "new paradigm" and a "very complex one:"

"How does an artist's normal compensation with box office bonuses, how does it work? It's a new paradigm, and it's a very complex one. No one saw this coming, and no one should use hindsight to say, ‘Well, it should have been done.' That was the first of these films that was going to get a cinematic release during the pandemic and got stalled and stalled and stalled. It's very new territory.”

Will Other MCU Veterans Step Up for Johansson?

Benedict Cumberbatch's latest comments about the fact that everything is "a bit of a mess" at this point are understandable considering how the messy legal battle became a main topic of discussion among fans on social media.

In addition, the Doctor Strange actor's remarks that the hybrid release strategy is a "very complex" situation shows a side in that some may need to take a step back and discuss new parameters so that all sides progress to a winnable solution. 

This isn't the first time that other MCU stars have reacted to Scarlett Johansson's legal dispute against Disney.

WandaVision's Elizabeth Olsen defended Johansson while also hoping that the issue will get resolved soon. Other MCU mainstays like Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and Dave Bautista also expressed their support toward the Black Widow actress. 

Meanwhile, the current legal battle has resulted in an unexpected repercussion for the future of the MCU. Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo reportedly "hit an impasse" in negotiations with regards to their next Marvel project. In a way, this goes to show the lasting effect of Johansson's legal battle against Disney. 

At this stage, many would agree that Cumberbatch's remarks should serve as a beacon of what is needed to be done, mainly because they were dialed down on the fact that this hybrid release strategy is "very new territory" and steps are needed to ensure both sides are protected. 

Black Widow will be available for free for all Disney+ subscribers on October 6, 2021.

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.