16 years of on-and-off development, three release date delays, and a multitude of other obstacles later, Black Widow is closing in on its long-awaited debut.
The narrative surrounding this film's struggles has centered around the delayed released dates, but it has its fair share to overcome as far back as the development process.
Titular star Scarlett Johansson has spoken about her hesitation to do a solo story on Natasha Romanoff with fears of falling into the origin story trope. Co-star Florence Pugh was initially passed over in the casting process before Sarah Finn and company circled back to her. Director Cate Shortland even turned down the job initially before Johansson convinced her to take it on.
She would eventually sign on to direct, but that didn't make the job easy.
BLACK WIDOW DIRECTOR TALKS CHALLENGES
Black Widow has had hurdles aplenty to leap over before it even got off the ground.
Speaking to Variety, director Cate Shortland revealed her biggest struggles came with formulating the story:
“To get that script right was really, really hard.”
According to Shortland, a Marvel script is unlike anything she's ever done. She cited acclaimed director Martin Scorsese's controversial comments about the MCU not being "cinema" in that the MCU breaks down traditional tropes of film storytelling:
“I kind of think a Marvel script is like when you get a great music producer in and you do a remix and a premix and you’re just sampling all these different things. You know, people like Scorsese say, ‘It’s not a movie.’ It’s kind of like it’s not a movie — it’s a different type of thing. Because [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige] talks about how one movie will come in and hit the other movie and crash through it. And I think that is a different way of creating and editing.”
Despite initially turning down the gig, Shortland emphasized that she is "so happy" she decided to take on the project and it's been a "joyous" experience:
“I'm just so happy I did it. [It’s been] joyous working with the actors and the producers on bringing out rawness and vulnerability in amongst this massive world.”
MARVEL STUDIOS IS UNLIKE THE REST
A franchise as expansive as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to have a different formula for it to succeed.
Riding 13 years and 25 profitable projects of momentum, the MCU has stayed miles above other film franchises by executing its projects unlike any other studio. Shortland saw this first-hand in the development process, and while it certainly takes a little to get acclimated, it's clear she's happy with how everything turned out.
Marvel's grand action set-pieces work because of the emotion behind them. Shortland's focus on "bringing out rawness and vulnerability" in her characters in a universe that quite literally stretches across the galaxy adheres to Marvel Studios' mission statement since 2008.
Each superhero has a human being behind them, and Shortland seems keen on bringing that side out.
Black Widow hits theaters and Disney+ via Premier Access on July 9, 2021.