Marvel Studios Rejected Black Widow Movie With High School Reunion Plot

One of the first Phase 4 movies was none other than Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow. The Avenger founder finally got her own solo project, between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: infinity war, who forced her to find her old fake Russian family.

Reactions to this were generally mixed, with many people feeling the project was oddly placed and late to the party – not to mention how it completely butchered Taskmaster. Whatever one thinks, however, at the very least, the film introduced Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, who is now a fan-favorite cast member of the MCU.

Whereas Black Widow let the audience meet Natasha’s former family and take them to the heart of the Red Room, there was once a very different version of the story presented at Marvel Studios. Actually She-HulkThe editor of had once thought about bringing Natasha Romanoff to her high school reunion.

A Black Widow Plot Rejected


In an interview with The Wrap, She-Hulk Editor-in-chief Jessica Gao explained how she once came up with a version of Black Widow this included a high school reunion and how she worked her way into Marvel Studios’ graces.

Regarding her pitch for Natasha Romanoff’s solo release, Gao described it as “essentially a Gros Pointe Virgin story” for the character, where she had to “[go] back to the high school reunion and has to deal with the fallout from [her] false identity [there] where she betrayed everything [of those] people in high school:

“It was basically a ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ story for Black Widow…basically you find out that in high school, as a teenage Russian spy/agent, she was planted in an American high school, because ‘She was supposed to murder someone’s father, and then 20 years later, she returns to the high school reunion and has to deal with the fallout of that fake identity where she betrayed all those people in high school.

Black Widow wasn’t the only movie the writer pitched for. She also had ideas for Captain Marvel and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. However, the fact that she didn’t get those projects steered her straight to She-Hulk.

However, his time presenting these denied stories was not wasted. Gao noted that she is “a big believer that every opportunity you miss sets you up for something else”, and that every time she pitched something, she “I have to spend an hour” with the likes of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and just hanging out:

“I strongly believe that every opportunity you miss sets you up for something else…I really believe that I haven’t gotten any of those three Marvel movie jobs because it was developing so far.” ‘Cause what it really did for me was every time I introduced Kevin [Feige]and Lou [D’Esposito] and Victoria [Alonso]and Brad [Winterbaum], I can spend an hour with him, and I can shoot shit and hang out and chat. Then I have to pitch my film. So, of course, they reject me wholeheartedly. But every time I went to present, it was like, ‘Oh, hey, what’s up? Is this the time of year when you reject me again? Cool. What have you done since you rejected me? It really made the room very warm.

The writer went on to explain how “every time they got to know [her] After, [and she] got to know them better and it helped land her in the perfect spot to be cast in the Jennifer Walter story.

“Each time they got to know me more, I got to know them more. By the time I walked into the “She-Hulk” pitch, I think they had a pretty good idea of ​​my sense of humor. They had a good idea of ​​the type of writer I was, the kind of story I was building. They just had a very good indication of who I am. I think that really helped sell it because they didn’t come cold to me. They’ve spoken to me so many times already, they’ve understood the quirks and the nuances and the little things that I really infuse into everything.

The High School Reunion That Never Was

Gao certainly has a great outlook on life, and it worked for her. Using his time to pitch under the rationalization that his social time with the top brass is just brilliant and utterly accurate. It’s no wonder she finally landed a solid project.

Based on how people react to She-Hulk, it looks like she landed on the right project. But what would a Black Widow does the high school reunion movie look like?

Could Yelena have been an old classmate? Or even the same out-of-touch fake sister, who was stuck playing a fake role in the American school system alongside Natasha.

The idea definitely seems to have tied much less to the character’s larger story. For example, it’s hard to see how it would have hit the red room like in 2021 Black Widow did.

Sadly, fans may never know what that movie was like unless Gao gets to reunite in high school in an entirely different setting. Perhaps a decade later, she’ll write a fun story for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker as he’s forced to reconnect with an entire high school that doesn’t remember his existence at all.

Black Widow is now streaming on Disney+.

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