As ‘SNL’ spoofs Black Widow, leaked emails reveal studios’ gender bias

May 04, 2015 | 5:30 p.m.

Marvel fans have been wondering whether Scarlett Johansson will ever suit up for a Black Widow solo movie, following in the footsteps of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America. If the studio ever gets around to it, they now have a hilarious “Saturday Night Live” spoof to remind them of what not to do.

When “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” co-star Johansson hosted “SNL” this weekend, it didn’t take long for her perpetually supporting role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and the state of onscreen female superheroes — to be skewered on the episode.

The spoof arrives at a time when Marvel Studios — and the superhero genre at large — has come under fire for the representation of female heroes on the big screen.

2004: Halle Berry as Catwoman in "Catwoman." (Doane Gregory / Warner Bros.)

Halle Berry in 2004’s “Catwoman.” (Doane Gregory / Warner Bros.)

A new batch of leaked emails from the Sony hack, posted at, indicates that Marvel Studios is still wary of female-driven superhero movies. In a leaked email sent to Sony’s Michael Lynton on Aug. 7, 2014, Marvel Entertainment Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter lists a number of recent (and not-so-recent) box office duds based on female superheroes — including 2004’s “Catwoman,” 2005’s “Elektra” and, bizarrely, “Supergirl” from 1984, a full three decades ago — with commentary about each film’s quality and low grosses.

The leak makes “SNL’s” faux trailer for the fictional “Black Widow: Age of Me” to appear impeccably timed.

The spoof video (above) answers the question, “Does Marvel not know how to make a girl superhero movie?” by reframing the butt-kicking Avenger Black Widow as a young professional looking for love and subjecting her to a slew of rom-com cliches, including an internship at a fashion magazine and a meet-cute with a dashing Ultron.

It also gives “SNL” cast members a chance to act out some superhero fantasies as they give their pal Black Widow romantic advice, with Beck Bennett playing squarer-than-usual Captain America, Jay Pharoah donning Samuel L. Jackson’s eye patch as Nick Fury, Taran Killam using Thor as a way to tweak the sassy gay roommate stereotype and Bobby Moynihan suiting up as a love-struck and hilariously grammar-impaired Incredible Hulk.

While Marvel hasn’t announced a “Black Widow” solo film, the studio has plans to bring the female hero “Captain Marvel” to the big screen in 2018, while Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are developing a “Wonder Woman” feature for 2017, after first introducing her in next year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, left, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, left, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

Marvel has also been highly criticized for the lack of Black Widow-related toys and merchandise, with “Avengers” co-star Mark Ruffalo recently pointing out that fact on Twitter.

In the meantime, Johansson has praised Marvel and “Age of Ultron” writer-director Joss Whedon for the representation of heroic ladies in the film, which also stars Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch.

“For so long, female superheroes have been mistreated, and I think women’s roles in general are often oversimplified and generic and saccharine,” Johansson told the Los Angeles Times in April.

“I’ve finally been able to be a part of creating this character that is really multifaceted, and it’s fallen into what is generally a kind of male-dominated genre,” Johansson added. “To finally be sharing that with somebody else, and certainly with Lizzie, is a wonderful thing and a step in the right direction.”

— Dave Lewis | @LATHeroComplex

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4 Responses to As ‘SNL’ spoofs Black Widow, leaked emails reveal studios’ gender bias

  1. abdallasyam87 says:


  2. Tonya says:

    SO WRONG….I want a WONDER WOMAN MOVIE….and IT BETTER BE GOOD…and I want it YESTERDAY…..your probably not equipped to HANDLE making a WOMAN super hero movie. :P

  3. Tonya says:

    Also that CATWOMAN movie was Nothing like the real comic CATWOMAN….maybe has something to do with the writers who writing the movies can't write. Why don't you get Peter David on one and see how great it could be at this point even the cartoon FEMALES are better than the old ones you mentioned. Ridiculous…..

  4. Cam says:

    No one watched and/or enjoyed Catwoman, Elektra or Supergirl because they were awful, awful movies. Having female leads was never the problem with those films.

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