Important Marvel Director Calls Disney’s Treatment Of Scarlett Johansson Disturbing

He's saying what a lot of us are thinking.

By Britta DeVore | Published

scarlett johansson winter soldier

Almost a year since the original events took place, the drama is still churning around the release of Marvel’s Black Widow. And now Joe Russo, half of the revered filmmaking team known as the Russo Brothers, is stepping forward to drop his opinion about the Disney+ Scarlett Johansson controversy. During an interview with Den of Geek to promote and talk about their upcoming Netflix spy thriller, The Gray Man, the director touched on his thoughts surrounding the future of streamer led content.

During the chat, Russo said that he’s noticing the “trend” in which the industry is going that pulls its focus off of artists. While Russo says that it’s great for streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon to be able to spend such extraordinary amounts of money on new content, it’s beginning to cause issues within film studios themselves thus leading those studios to undervalue the creatives they have on board. And this is exactly what affected the rollout of Black Widow which hit theaters and Disney+ simultaneously, causing the upset between Scarlett Johansson and the studio in the first place. Rounding out this part of the interview, Russo said that he was incredibly upset by how the disagreement was handled and that both brothers found it to be “disturbing,” adding that the actress is a “good friend” of theirs and both were happy to see the conflict reach a resolution. 

Scarlett Johansson and Joe Russo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Facing an incredible amount of setbacks due to pandemic related issues, fans were pumped to finally see Black Widow set its release date last June. Equally excited to see her character, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, be given her own full film telling, but Disney+ decided to drop the theatrical release on the same day as the streamer release, leading to a significant decrease in ticket sales. To drive the point home, Thor: Ragnarok opened at $122.8 million whereas Black Widow only crossed the $80.4 million threshold.

Just as much of a legacy character as Thor, Captain America, or Iron Man, the expectations behind Black Widow were incredibly high which adds even further disappointment to the monetary flop that it generated. After all, Scarlett Johansson’s character appeared in a slew of films between Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Endgame. Over the years, fans watched Black Widow grow personally and professionally in each new Marvel installment without receiving her own standalone movie. This was supposed to be a huge moment for not only Johansson, but Marvel fans everywhere, but Disney took it from both, leaving all of us with a sour taste in our mouths on the studio now backing the superhero based productions. 

While things have settled down and the feud between Scarlett Johansson and Disney has been resolved, bridges have been burned and the future of Johansson’s involvement with the studio is certainly smudged. While it may have felt like an uphill battle, we’re happy to know that Johansson has such support in her corner coming from the Russo Brothers.