The MCU has finally returned to theaters with the long-awaited release of Scarlett Johansson's solo film, Black Widow.
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow is an action-based, spy thriller that's both deeply personal and emotional for Natasha Romanoff as she confronts not just her past but her former family.
Originally set to release in 2020, Black Widow's delayed release places the film amongst many MCU projects that either have or have not been released in 2021.
Such a crowded slate with so many creators has the potential to be problematic, but that was anything but the case according to Black Widow director Cate Shortland.
RUSSOS & WAITITI TALKED WITH BLACK WIDOW DIRECTOR
When asked by CinemaBlend how Marvel directors coordinate so many connected, ongoing projects, Cate Shortland compared Marvel to a "family" and that the directors "were chatting to each other at times if we needed help:"
"When I was in post, I was speaking to some of the other directors who were working on other material with Disney. So I think what's beautiful about Marvel is that you do feel like you're part of that family. It's not fabricated. So we all were chatting to each other at times if we needed help with what each other was doing."
The MCU directors who spoke to Shortland ranged from those of projects past like Captain Marvel's Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck to current directors like Eternals' Chloe Zhao.
According to Shortland, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi also pitched in to help:
"...Anna helped me as well, and Ryan who had come before me. And then, I spoke to Chloe after and Taika as well. So all the directors speak to each other."
Both critics and fans who have seen Black Widow have already drawn comparisons between it and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and even the Mission: Impossible franchise; apparently, Shortland heard from the latter directors, too, as well as the Russo Brothers:
"And, the Russo's spoke to me as well. So yeah, it was pretty great. Christopher McQuarrie also from Mission: Impossible he spoke to me for like an hour on the phone. People were really generous."
MARVEL DIRECTORS, ASSEMBLE!
To date, most directors who have worked with Marvel Studios come away with a positive experience.
But, hearing firsthand how directors from the MCU's past and present were willing to talk with Marvel newcomer Cate Shortland, as well as how they help all speak to each other, only confirms this sentiment and provides some insight into what working for Marvel Studios is actually like.
While much of Marvel's success and connected storytelling can be attributed to studio president Kevin Feige, the coordination between the various directors is definitely a contributing factor.
In a way, Marvel Studios has brought together a group of remarkable people, from Shortland to the Russo Brothers to Taika Waititi, and they do work together when fans need them to.
Black Widow is now playing in theaters and on Disney+ via Premier Access.