This was me on Twitter a couple of days ago:
This is what Forbes’ Scott Mendelson, noticing the same connection I and so many others did, wrote about it later that same day:
Ironically enough, source material notwithstanding, Red Sparrow looks exceptionally like the Black Widow movie we’re never going to get. The movie is based on a novel by Jason Matthews, but (to casual observers) the film’s plot (a young Russian woman is harshly trained by scary-evil lady to become a master assassin but then has second thoughts) is pretty similar to Natalia Alianovna “Natasha” Romanoff’s origin as we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. That’s not a criticism, the world is big enough for Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence as top-notch Russian assassins, merely a curiosity.
This is the trailer in question:
This is the curiously timed story from Variety yesterday revealing Marvel is suddenly ready to move forward on an actual Black Widow movie:
Sources say this is still very early development, as the film has no greenlight, but naming a writer is the closest the studio has come to moving forward on a standalone pic. Marvel President Kevin Feige met with several candidates before tapping Schaeffer, and Marvel execs met with Johansson to discuss what they wanted from a “Black Widow” writer.
Schaeffer directed, produced, and wrote the Black Mirror/The Lobster-esque sci-fi rom-com TiMER in 2009, and has since written several scripts for as-yet-unproduced Anne Hathaway projects as well as, gulp, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. So, some good (TiMER is remarkably charming), some not as good (Olaf is a perfectly competent, entirely unremarkable holiday TV special).
Not saying Red Sparrow necessarily forced Marvel’s hand. After all, Red Sparrow looks free to be a film for adults in ways Marvel Studios has, to this point, shown absolutely no interest in. So, if a Black Widow movie happens it probably won’t look like Red Sparrow, and Age of Ultron already did Natasha’s origin story anyway.
Still, for years Kevin Feige insisted a Black Widow movie was a possibility, yet never moved on it, even after escaping out from under former boss Ike Perlmutter and his antiquated female-led-comic-book-movies-are-losers thinking. Now, all of a sudden Fox’s very Black Widow-esque movie is almost here, and two days after its big trailer debut an industry trade learns Marvel has hired someone to write a Black Widow screenplay. Interesting timing. Granted, it could also be a coincidence, especially since Variety says Marvel has been interviewing prospective writers and consulting with Scarlett Johansson on this for a while now.
Either way, I guess this does spoil the following: Natasha’s probably not gonna die in those new Avengers movies, that is unless her proposed solo movie is some kind of prequel.
That is, of course, if this Black Widow movie ever happens. Marvel Studios has stacks and stacks of unproduced scripts just sitting around and gathering dust, and after the one-two punch of box office flops Ghost in the Shell and Rough Night last year ScarJo’s not exactly in a great place in terms of leverage (which might make here even more amenable to sticking with Marvel but give them pause in terms of budget). But, hey, you’re telling us there’s a chance.
Positive take away: The world might just be big enough for two Black Widow movies. It didn’t use to have room for even just one. Progress.