Credit: Zade Rosenthal

To be clear, Marvel is probably planning about 50 different spin-offs right now, ballpark. “Planning” is a vague term in Hollywood, all the more so when you’re talking about the Marvel Studios franchise factory. But if you’re a fan of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow — or just a fan of the idea of a female superhero movie — then take heart! The new issue of Total Film takes a close look at Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and in the process reveals that Marvel has big plans going forward for the ginger-haired spy.

The trailer for the Cap sequel already indicated that Widow had a big role in the movie, and studio head honcho Kevin Feige explicitly states that her role in the greater linked universe will keep on expanding. “We start filming the next Avengers film at the end of March,” says Feige. “Widow’s part in that is very big. We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from.” This in itself is intriguing, since over the course of Iron Man 2 and Avengers all we really learned about the character was that she was sort of Russian, maybe. (The character in the comics was originally a Russian spy.) But Feige also teases the ambient possibility of a standalone Widow film: “The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that.”

Now, this is a vague statement, filled with words like “notion” and “some development work.” Marvel Studios has probably done “some development work” on a Darkhawk movie. (The studio did not respond to EW’s request for comment.) Still, it’s clear that Marvel is investing a lot of time in building up her character — she’s come a long way from her strong-silent-hottie role in Iron Man 2. And if nothing else, she’s getting an awful lot more onscreen real estate than Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. Let’s assume that any substantive move toward a Black Widow movie is a couple of years away, which means it’s way too early to say things like “Clearly Kathryn Bigelow should direct” and “the bad guy should be Baron Zemo played by Werner Herzog.”

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