‘Avengers: Infinity War’ has just opened, but Disney is already looking ahead to future installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans have been demanding a solo ‘Black Widow’ movie for years and there have been rumblings that such a project may eventually come to fruition for some time. Then earlier this year, news emerged that Disney and Marvel Studios were actually pushing forward, bringing aboard Jac Schaeffer to pen the screenplay for what is believed to be a prequel set during the period that Natasha Romanoff trained in the Red Room to become a Russian spy.
Last year, Patty Jenkins earned raves for directing ‘Wonder Woman’. And just months ago, African American director Ryan Coogler wowed audiences with ‘Black Panther’ featuring an almost all black cast. It seems as though Marvel is committed to diversity and showcasing various voices. For ‘Black Widow’, the studio is keen to hire a female helmer.
First on their list is Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven whose Turkish film ‘Mustang’ was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. It won numerous other awards including the Label Europa Cinemas at the Cannes Film Festival. Last year saw the release of her film ‘Kings’, a crime drama that starred Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.
The next person Disney/Marvel is interested in is Chloé Zhao. Her 2015 Native American drama ‘Songs My Brother Taught Me’ earner numerous nominations and wins mostly on the film festival circuit. Her 2017 film ‘The Rider’ based on the life of its star Brady Jandreau, depicted a rodeo cowboy who suffered a devastating brain injury. It also won at the Cannes Film Festival, the C.I.C.A.E. Award as well as 11 other wins at other festivals.
Amma Asante’s 2013 period drama ‘Belle’ also scored numerous wins including two Image Awards. Her 2016 biopic ‘A United Kingdom’, about the romance between King Seretse Khama of Botswana and his white British wife (played by David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike) also earned acclaim and two awards. Asante has also worked as an actor, mostly on various British TV series and movies.
Maggie Betts only has one feature film under her belt, last year’s ‘Novitiate’, but it won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and three other awards. That film starred Eline Powell, Dianna Agron, Melissa Leo, Denis O’Hare and Chris Zylka.
Finally, the last potential director already has some superhero experience. Angela Robinson helmed last year’s biopic ‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’. While that film didn’t win any awards, it was a huge hit on the festival circuit and was nominated for a number of honors including the Saturn Award and various women’s and LGBTQ movie awards. Prior to that, she directed for TV, including ‘True Blood’, ‘Charlie’s Angels’ (the 2011 reboot) and ‘The L Word’.
There is no guarantee that any of these directors will land ‘Black Widow’ and it is believed that Disney and Marvel are considering others in addition to these. Marvel currently has a female, Anna Boden, co-directing ‘Captain Marvel’ with her longtime collaborator Ryan Fleck.
Don’t expect much Marvel Studios news until ‘Avengers 4’ arrives next year. Until then, Scarlett Johansson can currently be seen as Black Widow in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.