Between Fantastic Four easter eggs and Johansson pitching her own story, Black Widow’s development is just as exciting as the movie.
There has been a lot of fascinating news in the wake of Black Widow’s release, most notably the ongoing lawsuit between Scarlett Johansson and Disney. That might have overshadowed the movie for many, but there are some behind-the-scenes facts that are far more exciting than any current unfortunate dispute.
There was so much going on, such as Harbour sneaking on-set photos to the Stranger Things team, Fantastic Four-revealing early drafts, and Kevin Feige turning down Johansson’s own movie pitch. The making of Black Widow is almost exciting as the movie itself.
David Habour Actually Did Get Stuck In The Suit
Alexei has the funniest moments in Black Widow, but one of those moments was unintentional and unscripted. One of the running gags in the movie is how Alexei isn’t as fit as he used to be and that it takes a lot more effort to fulfill certain superhero duties.
This led to a scene where Alexei tried to squeeze back into his Red Guardian suit he hadn’t worn in decades. As fans remember, Alexei gets stuck in the suit, but that wasn’t actually acting; Harbour really did get stuck in the suit. The actor had to call for help to get out, and that’s the shot that made it into the movie.
An Early Version Of The Script Included Tony Stark
Big Hollywood movies always go through a ton of drafts before the screenplay is green-lit, but one of those early drafts of Black Widow had an exciting cameo. Tony Stark was reportedly written into the movie to establish Black Widow’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline.
However, he was replaced with Secretary Ross, who is hunting Natasha at the beginning of the movie. Though Ross might not be half as exciting as Tony, fans didn’t miss out too much, as Stark’s feature would have been repurposed footage from Captain America: Civil War.
There Was Almost A Dr. Doom Reference
Ever since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, fans of the MCU have been impatiently waiting for the introduction of The Fantastic Four in the universe. At one point, fans were convinced that Richard Reed would appear in WandaVision. And along with that not happening, there was another opportunity in the Black Widow screenplay that went unused.
Screenwriter Eric Pearson mentioned that he snuck in a reference to Dr. Doom’s home country, Latveria. But if Kevin Feige is anything to go by, it’s hard to get even the most obscure references past the studio execs without them noticing.
The Screenwriter Was Hired After Marvel Turned Down His Captain Marvel Screenplay
Eric Pearson must be an avid comic book reader, as not only is he a huge fan of Dr. Doom, but he had also written a Captain Marvel screenplay before he got the Black Widow gig. The writer doesn’t go into much detail about his screenplay, which was turned down by Marvel, but he does say that it was “100% different.”
He recalls the screenplay after he had found it in a box, along with a bunch of other screenplays, over at the studio when he was in the Marvel Writers Program. It makes fans wonder how many other writers were hired to pen completely different screenplays of existing movies, only for them to get shelved.
David Harbour Didn’t Even Know What He Was Having A Meeting About During Initial Talks
Though a few Red Guardian’s scenes don’t entirely make sense in the movie, the character stole the show, and the idea of him returning at some point in the MCU is one of the most exciting prospects.
Part of what makes the character so great is the perfect casting of David Harbour, but he apparently didn’t even know why he was meeting with director Cate Shortland. The actor had no idea there was a Black Widow movie in development, and when he was randomly asked to have lunch with Shortland in London, he was offered the part on the spot.
Johansson Developed Her Own Story That Kevin Feige Refused To Make
MCU movies are generally made up of tons of different things. They are loosely based on the comic books, written by several different people, and must reference the previous movies on a larger scale. So it’s no surprise that Kevin Feige takes hiring the creators very seriously, and that’s exactly why the MCU is such a well-oiled machine.
However, Scarlett Johansson developed her own story for Black Widow years back. There isn’t much information about the movie, but Johansson states that it was “really existential, kind of weird.” And in response to the pitch, Kevin Feige said “I don’t think I can come into work for this.”
It Only Took 11 Days To Write The Script
Usually, screenplays take months to finish, even the first draft. But there are a couple of exceptions, as John Hughes was a famously fast writer and apparently completed The Breakfast Club screenplay in just two short days (according to Kirk Honeycutt’s book, John Hughes: A Life In Film).
Surprisingly enough, despite having the tough job of writing a prequel about a character in the MCU who died in Avengers: Endgame, Pearson completed the first draft in just 11 days. He goes on to state that there were a lot of rewrites, but 11 days is an extremely quick turnaround, especially for a movie on this big of a scale.
Harbour Sent Set Photos To The Stranger Things Creators
Marvel Studios has very strict rules when it comes to leaks and spoilers. Kevin Feige reportedly sent Owen Wilson an anonymous message from a burner phone that said, “strike 1,” after the actor simply revealed his Loki character would have a mustache. But Feige didn’t scare Harbour enough to keep him from excitedly sending photos of the set to the creators of Stranger Things.
Loose lips sink ships, but in this case, it wasn’t just because he was excited, but Harbour is a team player and he did it for the sake of Stranger Things. In the Netflix show, there’s a Russian prison, just like in the movie, and the actor wanted to avoid accidental similarities between the two.
Johansson’s Husband Wouldn’t Help Her Rehearse Lines Because He Wanted To Avoid Spoilers
Johansson’s husband, Colin Jost, is a massive fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s so much of a fan that he refused to even go over lines with her out of fear of spoilers.
It wasn’t just the major spoilers either, such as anything to do with Natasha’s family or the Red Room, but anything regarding the action or any big set pieces too. The actor even refused to hear about how Johansson’s day was while she was shooting the movie, as it would always bleed into a spoiler.
Director Cate Shortland Originally Turned The Movie Down
When Shortland was first offered to direct Black Widow, she stated that she turned the offer down and wasn’t sure why she was chosen. Initially, this makes sense as the filmmaker had only made historical dramas and low-budget thrillers up to that point.
However, Marvel Studios has a knack for plucking filmmakers out of obscurity and trusting them with hundreds of millions of dollars. It was only when the director and Johansson spoke on Zoom that she came around to the idea, as the actor told Shortland she was a fan of her movie Lore, a historical biopic set in Germany based on the aftermath of World War II.
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