Solo ‘Black Widow’ project catches up to wave of female-led superhero films

ITS BEEN more than a decade since Hollywood tried to find success with two especially high-profile, female-led superhero movies: Halle Berry’s “Catwoman” and Jennifer Garner’s “Elektra.” Both films were panned, and it took years for female characters from Marvel and DC comic books to get another prominent leading shot.

In the wake of last year’s “Wonder Woman” becoming a cultural phenomenon, though, the larger wheels of Hollywood production are finally catching up to audience appetite.

The Marvel sequel “Ant-Man and the Wasp” opened atop the box office this month, with Evangeline Lilly getting to suit up to fight alongside Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” director Peyton Reed embraced the Wasp’s having a prominent part in the sequel, and told Comic Riffs that Lilly strengthened the role with her own specific vision for how the character should be played.

Next up from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Captain Marvel.” Deadline reported Sunday that star Brie Larson has just wrapped production on the movie, which — once it’s released as scheduled next March — will become the MCU’s first female-led movie.

And the Hollywood Reporter said Thursday that a Black Widow stand-alone movie — long clamored for but never realized 20 films into the MCU — finally has a director: Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland (“Lore”). Scarlett Johansson has already played Black Widow/Natasha in six of those 20 films.

Meanwhile, DC fans have at least two fronts to watch: They wait for Margot Robbie’s multiple Harley Quinn projects to move forward. And as “Wonder Woman 1984” continues to shoot around Washington this month, fans can look forward to that sequel’s release next November.

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