Plenty of fans and industry folks brushed off Scarlett Johansson‘s lawsuit concerning “Black Widow” pivoting from theatrical release to a hybrid model as something that could be resolved privately. But with Johansson’s legal team publicly coming out against arbitration and the lawsuit seemingly moving forward, the first bit of fallout at Marvel Studios has arrived, and it involves the Russo Brothers.
A report from the Wall Street Journal states that the sibling directing duo were in talks with the studio to make a glorious return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after delivering the one-two punch of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” However, their negotiations apparently hit an “impasse” amid the Johansson dispute, which reportedly led the director duo to harbor their own concerns about the unnamed film’s release model and how they’ll be paid.
Though the mystery MCU project isn’t known, previous interviews from the brothers indicate that it may be connected to their interests in tackling a film about “X-Men” member Wolverine or the massive superhero event “Secret Wars.”
The Russos certainly have more leverage than many other directors in the Marvel Studios stable given their track record of helming four films in the MCU franchise, including two “Captain America” sequels – all four of which starred Johansson. Marvel’s Kevin Feige has been said to be “angry and embarrassed” by the lawsuit, and it’s not like the studio chief has a history of quarreling with talent over their contracts. It’ll be interesting to see whether this was a blunder of Disney’s own making that could have easily been avoided through better communication.
It’s not like Anthony Russo and Joe Russo are hurting for work; the duo recently released the Tom Holland crime drama “Cherry” and recently wrapped the $200 million-plus budgeted Netflix spy flick “The Gray Man” led by Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling. They’re also developing a remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Michael B. Jordan, the Millie Bobby Brown sci-fi movie “The Electric State,” and a feature adaption of the anime series “Battle of The Planets” via their production company AGBO, for which they just hired Daniel Casey (“F9: The Fast Saga,” “10 Cloverfield Lane“) to adapt.