Is the Black Widow movie finally happening? Marvel locks down a writer

Marvel is apparently finally heeding its fans’ calls for a stand-alone Black Widow movie: The studio has taken a promising step by reportedly hiring a writer for the project. Jac Schaeffer has signed on to write the script, Variety reports.

The Scarlett Johansson-starring project would be a very high-profile one for the writer. Schaeffer’s list of credits to date includes her debut film Timer and a couple of shorts. She gained attention after penning the script The Shower, which earned a spot on Hollywood’s Black List. After that, she was tapped to write the script for the upcoming comedy Nasty Women, which is a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, and Alex Sharp.

In writing the Black Widow script, Schaeffer will be tasked with dealing with one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most popular superheroes. Johansson first portrayed the character in 2010’s Iron Man 2 and has been included in five other films since. In spite of that — not to mention popular demand — the superhero has yet to headline her own installment in the franchise. A concrete step such as Schaeffer’s hiring inspires optimism, but the project is still in early development and has yet to receive a green light, according to Variety.

MCU heavy-hitters have long acknowledged the interest in a Black Widow movie. In September 2010, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Superhero Hype that they had discussed it with Johansson and “begun putting together concepts” for a stand-alone movie. He also discussed the idea during a May 2016 Deadline interview in which he highlighted that they had “a lot to do” before having key discussions about projects beyond the 10 movies they already announced bringing them through the end of 2019. He did, however, say that Black Widow was one of the characters they were “creatively and emotionally … most committing to doing.”

While Feige couldn’t give any guarantees of a Black Widow movie at the time — and still hasn’t — he had a lot of great praise for the superhero.

“We think she’s an amazing character,” Feige told Deadline. “We think Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her is amazing. She’s a lead Avenger and has amazing stories in her own right to tell that we think would be fun to turn into a stand-alone franchise.”

Johansson has said in the past that she would be willing to reprise her superhero role in a stand-alone film, but she has also cautioned that it may never happen.

“The character is right for a stand-alone,” she told Total Film magazine (via GamesRadar+) in February 2017, “it’s just a case of timing at this point for both Marvel and myself.”