Director Cate Shortland: Scarlett Johansson will 'hand the baton' to Pugh in 'Black Widow'

Updated: Jul 08, 2020, 16:35 IST | PTI | Los Angeles

This will be Scarlett Johansson's eighth MCU outing after her debut in 2010's Iron Man 2, led by Robert Downey Jr.

Black Widow. Pic/Youtbe
Black Widow. Pic/Youtbe

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson will hand over the baton to actor Florence Pugh in the much-anticipated Marvel Studios movie Black Widow.

According to director Cate Shortland, the prequel, set before the events of 2019 tentpole Avengers: Endgame, will drive a new female storyline ahead. "(Kevin Feige, Marvel boss) realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction. And we didn't know how great Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn't know how great," the director told Empire magazine.

"Scarlett is so gracious, like, 'Oh, I'm handing her the baton'. So it's going to propel another female storyline," she added. Shortland said the movie would be a fitting goodbye for Johansson's Russian superspy Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, who was killed off in "Endgame", upsetting some fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). "In 'Endgame', the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn't have wanted a funeral. She's too private, and anyway, people don't really know who she is.

"So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that's a fitting ending for her," she said. This will be Johansson's eighth MCU outing after her debut in 2010's "Iron Man 2", led by Robert Downey Jr. "Black Widow", originally scheduled for an April release, has been pushed to November 6 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The film also stars David Harbour and Rachel Weisz.

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