Many have assumed that Black Widow was going to be the swan song for Scarlett Johansson as the Marvel superhero. But it looks like she might be sticking around longer than most people expected. Geekosity is reporting that Marvel is planning more for the actress as the iconic super spy heroine.
Their report is insisting that Marvel isn’t done with Scarlett Johansson just yet. Black Widow is allegedly only being marketed as Romanoff’s final movie to fill theater seats. The overarching plan is to set audiences up for deliberate misadventure, thereby keeping the stakes high and accomplishing the film’s intended purpose. Disney bigwigs are reportedly avoiding a repeat of films like Avengers: Infinity War and Star Trek Into Darkness. Future movies for the freshly departed were already announced by the time characters like Spider-Man were snapped out of existence, so fans knew they were coming back no matter what.
Despite the clear attempt at employing sufficient gravitas, some character deaths ended up lacking in urgency or finality. And Scarlett Johansson is reportedly too valuable to let go after just one solo movie. They write: “Marketing Black Widow as Scarlett Johansson’s final bow in the MCU triggers social media and the box office. Obviously, Pugh will be Black Widow in the future. But I’m told Johansson will return in a post-Endgame time frame; what project that is remains to be seen.”
There also seems to be some contention among insiders on whether Florence Pugh herself is a big enough name to spearhead her own franchise after Scarlett Johansson. “Pugh hasn’t proved herself at the box office yet,” an insider portends. “They all know Johansson is bank. Did they really wait all this time to reward her with a solo franchise but then take it away after the first?” Say what you will about Florence Pugh, but it’s a completely ridiculous assertion just seeing the movies she’s headlined in recent years.
The English actress hasn’t been in a lot of films, but each feature she top-billed were critical and financial home runs. She was Dani Ardor in Ari Aster’s folk horror Midsommar and played hefty supporting roles in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women and David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King where her performance trumped even the main actor’s. Her stint as Lady Macbeth in William Oldroyd’s adaptation of the same time was a hit among critics. By comparison, Chadwick Boseman only had two definite sellouts on his resume — 42 as real-life Major League Baseball player Jackie Robinson and Get On Up as funk singing legend James Brown — when Marvel cast him as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War and green-lit a Black Panther trilogy. Florence Pugh is no rookie.
Statements undermining the Little Women actor’s star power definitely put these insiders’ credibility into question, but it seems even Pugh herself is iffy around writing off Scarlett Johansson while the character of Natasha Romanoff is still in her prime. “Even though that’s obviously where everybody wants to go and wants to think about — to think about what’s next — this film never really felt like that was what it was trying to underline,” she tells Total Film. Despite Yelena Belova receiving widespread praise during test screenings, Pugh makes it a point to remember Johansson and respect the Black Widow she helped create. “She has a really beautiful career ahead of her,” Pugh adds. “She’s a very special person.”
Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle as S.H.I.E.L.D. ally Rick Mason, William Hurt as U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross, Ray Winstone as Red Room leader Dreykov, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, another Black Widow. The Red Room manufactures several Black Widows at once, and Romanoff and Belova are just one of many. A future Black Widow solo film, presumably Florence Pugh’s first official stab at the character, is rumored to feature X-Men baddie Omega Red as the main villain.