It has been announced that the Black Widow standalone movie will be directed by Cate Shortland. Shortland, an Australian director known for the Nazi drama Lore, has signed on to direct the Marvel project that will star Scarlett Johansson. Jac Schaeffer wrote the most recent draft for the Black Widow movie, but it's not clear if that screenplay will remain in place. The project was first announced at the beginning of 2018, after being discussed for years. Though nothing has been confirmed, it is believed that the film will take place before the events of the first Avengers movie.
Marvel Studios reportedly met with over 70 directors for the Black Widow movie before choosing Cate Shortland. The director does not have official representation, but it's believed that she was chosen with the help of Scarlett Johansson, who is a big fan and pushed for her to helm the movie. The hunt for a director narrowed last month with Amma Asante and Maggie Betts being the finalists alongside Shortland. Melanie Laurent and Kimberly Peirce were also considered to direct the standalone Black Widow movie.
Scarlett Johansson first played Black Widow in 2010's Iron Man 2 and has since starred in all of the Avengers movies as well as Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. Johansson will next be seen as the Russian spy turned superhero in 2019's Avengers 4, which will conclude Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If all goes according to plan, Johansson will have the second female-led Marvel movie after Brie Larson's Captain Marvel, which hits theaters in March, a few months before Avengers 4.
A Black Widow movie has been asked about for years, but now seems like a good time to get more of the character's story told. When asked about the movie earlier this year, Scarlett Johansson said that the circumstances would have to be right for the movie to officially take shape. There were reports that Johansson was helping with the script and it appears that she has been involved with the director selection as well, so it would seem that the circumstances are now right. Johansson has spoken about the "rich origin" story of the character, which would be a great story to explore.
Scarlett Johansson also wants the Black Widow movie to standalone, outside of the MCU and to be different from all of the other standalone movies that have been released thus far. And now, with the selection of Cate Shortland, Johansson may have found the right person to deliver that unique Marvel movie that she was referring to 7 months ago. This is great news for Marvel fans who have been waiting to see if the Black Widow movie was going to get past the in-development phase of production. With that being said, there's currently no word when the movie will begin filming. With Avengers 4 on the horizon, it's going to be a little while. You can read more about Cate Shortland signing on to direct the Black Widow movie at The Hollywood Reporter.