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Scarlett Johansson isn’t done with the MCU just yet

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Feige finds a way

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow looks cool posing in front of some smoke in a field, in a teaser trailer for Marvel Studios’ Black Widow. Image: Marvel Studios/Disney

The 35th American Cinematheque Awards, held Nov. 18th at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, was a regular love-fest for the show’s main honoree, Scarlett Johansson. At an event dedicated to both the business and artistic sides of the movie industry, attendees heard praises for Johansson’s wide-ranging career from Lost in Translation to Jojo Rabbit.

But, as The Hollywood Reporter’s coverage shows, there was one association of Johansson’s that was front and center at the event: Marvel. On one hand, it makes sense, considering Johansson’s decade-plus career in the MCU. But it might surprise anyone who paid attention to her suing Disney earlier this year over the digital release of Black Widow.

Water under the bridge, it seems. With a settlement signed in September, Johansson seems eager to get back to work with the Mouse House. Johansson is already working on Disney’s Tower of Terror, directed by Taika Waititi, as a producer. She also said she has even more projects in the works, including something Marvel-related. Natasha Romanoff’s time in the spotlight might be over, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s appearance at the Cinematheque Awards confirms that Johansson’s not done with the MCU.

Feige joined the night’s other speakers — including Iron Man director Jon Favreau, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jeremy Renner, who was supplying Johansson with Champagne on the red carpet — in praising the actress’ dedication and groundbreaking career.

“As Marvel Studios’ first and longest-running female hero, Scarlett has stood her ground amongst a sea of men — many named Chris — and paved the way for so many other characters in the MCU: Carol Danvers, Wanda Maximoff, Shuri, Jennifer Walters, Monica Rambeau, Kamala Khan, just to name but a few,” Feige said onstage.

Kevin Feige at SDCC 2019 Marvel Hall H panel
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, seen here at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, had nothing but kind words for ScarJo at the Cinematheque Awards.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

But it wouldn’t be an MCU-related event if there wasn’t a teaser about what’s coming next.

“We are already working with Scarlett on another non-Black-Widow-related top-secret Marvel Studios project with her as a producer,” Feige said.

With the intrigue set, the rest of the evening continued as planned. Her co-stars, collaborators, and family discussed details of their work together. Favreau told a story of meeting with Johansson to discuss the role of Black Widow. “She showed up with red hair to the meeting,” Favreau said. “I was a bit taken aback by that, and after she got the role, I asked her, ‘Between you and me, did you just dye your hair just for the meeting?’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, I did ... to show you that I was serious about it.’”

Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney was just as serious, accusing the studio of intentionally breaching her contract by releasing Black Widow on Disney Plus alongside theaters. In response, Disney released a statement calling her lawsuit “especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Those harsh words earned a response from Creative Artists Agency co-chairman Bryan Lourd, who represents Johansson, saying that Disney “shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t.”

But at the American Cinematheque Awards, all of that mudslinging seemed to be behind them. Whatever went down between Johansson and Disney, their long-term collaboration seems to make more sense to both parties than a war of the words.