Scarlett Johansson’s Rejected Short-Haired Black Widow Designs Revealed (Photos)

By Alycia Leach Updated:
Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson with short hair

A new art book for the Phase 4 Marvel film Black Widow has revealed some comic-book-inspired plans that never made it to the screen.

Marvel's Black Widow was long overdue. It was a film many fans feel should've been released much earlier, especially given that Scarlett Johansson made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2 way back in 2010.

After several delays, the film finally became available on July 9, 2021, in both theaters and on Disney+ Premiere Access. Apart from a few gripes with the final product, the Scarlett Johansson solo project was well received. It delivered a gritty take on Marvel, packed with non-stop action and a powerful, more in-depth study of the titular spy.

For many, it has remained a highlight of the MCU's streaming era, and the new art book for the 2021 release has offered an even deeper look into Marvel's original female superhero. 

New Look at Rejected Black Widow Design

Marvel’s Black Widow: The Art of the Movie has revealed the fascinating design process that went into the Marvel film, including an excerpt from the Director of Visual Development, Andy Park, who has devised all of the former spy's outfits since Marvel's The Avengers.

Natasha Romanoff went through several revisions for her solo flick before designers finally settled on the final version, including some that gave Scarlett Johansson short hair.

Early Black Widow Marvel designs
Marvel's Black Widow: the Art of the Movie

In the earlier stages, Park took a lot of inspiration from a distinct 1980s comic-book look made famous by Frank Miller. Park, however, is partial to the outfit because of its appearance in Uncanny X-Men #268. 

X-Men comic cover with Captain America Wolverine and Black Widow
Marvel Comics

Park believed "it would be really cool" and incorporated a "subtle black widow spider motif" into the design too:

“I thought that could be really cool... Within the lines, I also incorporated a subtle black widow spider motif.” 

Early Black Widow Marvel designs
Marvel's Black Widow: the Art of the Movie

The idea was also to include more red and gold in the uniform, these designs look to have been made with both long and short hair variations in mind.

Early Black Widow Marvel designs
Marvel's Black Widow: the Art of the Movie

According to Park, a lot of the work consists of "playing with detail" as Black Widow's outfits have stayed relatively similar film-to-film:

“Her look has stayed fairly similar in her various appearances... so a lot of it is playing with details--different lines and materials.”

Early Black Widow Marvel designs
Marvel's Black Widow: the Art of the Movie

However, as fans will know, a massive aspect of the film is the time that the titular character spent on the run. As these ideas developed, Park was keen to move away from the "Super Hero" look and explore new avenues for the character's aesthetics:

“I did versions where she’s just wearing a jacket and other types of everyday clothing.” 

Early Black Widow Marvel designs
Marvel's Black Widow: the Art of the Movie

Park has shared that it was at this later stage that the vest from Avengers: Infinity War began to be incorporated:

“I started to think that incorporating the vest we see from Avengers: Infinity War might be a good idea.”

A Spy Disguised

It's always interesting to see original concept art, and Park's designs would have been a marked change from what fans have come to expect from Black Widow's MCU designs. 

Of course, it's a shame that this retro interpretation was never realized on-screen, but arguably the final design was much more in keeping with the film which offered a gritty and darker take on the MCU.

With the inclusion of the Infinity War vest, it's also great that the designers were keen to preserve continuity, despite the film wrapping up production a year after Infinity War had already stormed cinemas.

With the emphasis on the Multiverse in recent Marvel projects. This concept is only set to expand as the MCU enters Phase 5 next month; there is every possibility that Scarlett Johansson could return as the beloved former KGB spy.

The actress could even return and sport one of these ditched designs by Andy Park as an alternate reality version of the Avenger, whose loss has been keenly felt since she died in the epic conclusion that was Avengers: Endgame.

Black Widow is now streaming on Disney+.

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Alycia Leach
Alycia Leach is a writer at The Direct. She joined The Direct in November 2020 and prides herself on her extensive knowledge of Luke Skywalker.