Marvel fans desperately want a "Black Widow" solo movie starring Scarlett Johansson and the pleas only grow louder every time she appears alongside one of her "Avengers" co-stars. The idea of a "Black Widow" dates back even further than Johansson's first appearance in 2008's "Iron Man."
Screenwriter David Hayter wrote a "Black Widow" script for Lionsgate in 2004, according to Comic Book Resources. The writer had written the screenplays for Marvel's other superhero team "X-Men" and "X-Men 2." Hayter would have made his directorial debut on the film about the former KGB spy Natasha Romanoff.
His script stuck closely to Black Widow's comic book origin story, according to Comic Book Resources. A young, orphaned Natasha is adopted by Ivan Petrovich, who works in a secret Soviet training facility known as the Red Room. She soon escapes with a few extra superhuman abilities to the United States where she eventually joins up with the CIA after getting her revenge on Petrovich.
Lionsgate pulled the plug before the script could move into production and the studio cited the typical reasons Hollywood has consistently shot down female superhero movies: timing and those other poorly received female superhero movies.
"Unfortunately, as I was coming up on the final draft, a number of female vigilante movies came out," Hayter told Comic Book Resources. "We had 'Tomb Raider' and 'Kill Bill,' which were the ones that worked but then we had 'BloodRayne' and 'Ultraviolet' and 'Aeon Flux.' 'Aeon Flux didn't open well, and three days after it opened, the studio said, 'We don't think it's time to do this movie.'"
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has also cited timing as the reason the studio has yet to release a female-led movie. In a recent interview, Feige tiptoed around giving a definite answer to a "Black Widow" or possible "Ms. Marvel" film in the next five years.
"I very much believe in doing it," Feige told Comic Book Resources in July. He referenced "Hunger Games," "Frozen" and "Divergent" as good examples of female hero movies that have succeeded. "These are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done. I hope we do it sooner rather than later."
Johansson's role has expanded over the course of her last two Marvel Cinematic appearances in "The Avengers" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Her character will continue to grow in the next crossover event film, "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
"(Black) Widow's part in that is very big," Feige told Total Film in February. "We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that."
Joss Whedon, who wrote both "Avengers" films for Marvel, finds it "frustrating" that no studios will put a female superhero movie into production. The man behind "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," one of the greatest on-screen female characters ever, won't accept the past failures of certain movies as reason to shut down an future productions.
"It actually pisses me off. My daughter watched 'The Avengers' and was like, 'My favorite character were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,' and I thought, 'Yeah, of course, they were,'" he says in his 2014 biography by Amy Pascale.
Hayter still remains interested in a "Black Widow" film and he would try to keep as many elements of his old script in a new proposal, according to Comic Book Resources.
Scarlett Johansson and her Black Widow character will be seen next in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which hits theaters on May 1, 2015.