Alas, the superhero-movie glass ceiling is finally cracking.
Even better than Marvel finally giving Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) the solo movie she deserves, is the news that the film will be helmed by a female director. After an extensive search that looked at more than 70 candidates, Marvel has selected Cate Shortland for the job.
The Australian director, known for her work directing Lore and Berlin Syndrome, will direct off a script penned by writer Jac Schaeffer. While the news of Shortland’s hiring is definitely exciting, it pretty much evokes the strong feeling of “what the hell took so long?”
Since 2008, 20 superhero films have come from Marvel, although none have had a female director. The first, Captain Marvel, will premiere in 2019 and is co-directed by Anna Boden. Shortland will be the second. Two is better than none I suppose, but these odds are pretty disheartening especially when women only represented 8% of directors of the 100 grossing films of 2017.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige promised more female directors on Marvel movies at the recent Produced By conference, after an audience member remarked that the next 20 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe should all have women in charge.
“I cannot promise that all 20 Marvel movies will have female directors but a heck of a lot of them will,” Feige said to audience applause. He later continued on saying that “diversity is something that’s necessary to be able to continue to tell stories.”
Hiring more female directors like Boden and Shortland would definitely put Marvel a slight step ahead of their biggest competitor, DC Entertainment, who made history with Wonder Woman. For her work on the film, Patty Jenkins nabbed the distinction of being the first female director of any American studio superhero film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Widow is set to take place before the events of the first Avengers movie, and will unpack just how Johansson’s character Natalia Alianovna Romanova (aka Natasha Romanoff) became a Russian spy/superhero. There is no word yet on when the film will premiere, but with it in the hands of Shortland, it’s sure to be good.