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Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ Movie Taps Writer Ned Benson

Film marks first standalone outing for Scarlett Johansson’s Marvel heroine

Marvel’s “Black Widow” movie has enlisted Ned Benson to rewrite the first solo film featuring the female superhero played since 2010 by Scarlett Johansson, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Australian director Cate Shortland, best known for the Nazi drama “Lore,” is on board to direct. Blacklist Screenwriter Jac Schaeffer wrote the previous draft of the script.

Black Widow debuted in “Iron Man 2” and since then has appeared in both “Avengers” films, as well as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Interest in a standalone outing for the character has been consistently high, with a 2016 Fandago poll  finding “Black Widow” as Avengers fans’ top pick for a solo film.

“Black Widow” boosters also note Johansson’s high box office draw outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with her 2014 action hit “Lucy” earning almost $500 million worldwide.

Marvel hasn’t set a release date for the “Black Widow” film just yet. The studio has a full slate of projects dated through 2019, ending with “Avengers: Endgame,” which is also likely to feature Black Widow. But Marvel chief Kevin Feige said in 2016 that the studio and parent company Disney are “committing” to giving the character her own movie and possible franchise.

Talking to TheWrap in 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus broke down the character’s arc in the MCU, saying that her “journey, over her various appearances, is one coming out of the shadows and into the light.”

Benson’s credits include “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Benson is repped by UTA.

Marvel declined to comment.

Collider first reported the news.