For a full decade, Scarlett Johansson was among the most visible stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The arrival of the Black Widow during ‘Iron Man 2″ marked one of Marvel’s earliest earnest swings at extended big screen worldbuilding, and her presence in more than half a dozen further MCU entries made her synonymous with the biggest film franchise of a generation.
So it goes without saying that it came as a shock when, on July 29, 2021, Johansson filed a lawsuit against her former employers at Disney. The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, sees one of the highest-grossing movie stars of all time going head-to-head with the world’s biggest movie studio. Per statements from the actress’s attorneys, the case could be the tip of the iceberg for future legal action — “This will surely not be the last case where Hollywood talent stands up to Disney and makes it clear that, whatever the company may pretend, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts,” her lawyers said in a statement reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
So what caused Johansson to go gunning for the House of Mouse? That depends on who you ask. Disney, which has yet to issue a statement on the matter, would probably argue that it all comes down to an impossible-to-realize contract in the face of unprecedented industry turmoil. From the “Black Widow” star’s perspective, it’s a cut and dry case of being denied her rightfully promised compensation.