By Anthony Breznican
April 10, 2019 at 10:30 AM EDT
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Black Widow has always worked in the shadows, but even in the real world she helped change things without always getting attention.

Seven years ago, Scarlett Johansson felt frustration over how women were depicted in superhero films — or not depicted at all.

Since then, her performance as Natasha Romanoff has helped change that, evolving from what the actress calls “a sexy secretary” to a woman reclaiming her own will and identity.

Along the way, she helped clear the path for movies like DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Captain Marvel, and hopefully more to come.

Soon, Black Widow will get her own standalone film, directed by Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland, which is in the works and expected next year. (But that’s still unofficial, for now.)

©Marvel Studios 2018

Johansson said she’s especially happy that Natasha Romanoff is a character who is choosing to be good, and fighting hard for it, pushing through the resistance and obstacles the world set in front of her.

“That is such a powerful journey to see anybody take, but certainly to see a woman on screen represented in that way: a flawed superhero with a gray moral compass coming to terms with what’s happened to her,” Johansson says. “It’s definitely shown some sort of path for these other female superheroes to be able to walk down. I certainly don’t take credit for that, though.”

Her fellow Avengers disagreed, insisting she deserved a lot more credit than she has received.

You can watch the whole conversation above as part of EW’s cover story about Avengers: Endgame.

For more on Avengers: Endgame, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday. You can buy all six covers, or purchase your individual favorites: Iron Man, CaptainAmerica, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, and Ronin. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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