After a six-month search, Marvel Studios has finalised Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland as the director of Black Widow, the first standalone movie on the superhero played by by Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Company executives had met more than 70 candidates over half a year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shortland had been short-listed in July along with British director Amma Asante and Novitiate director Maggie Betts.

Johansson reportedly recommended the director because she liked Shortland’s World War II drama Lore, (2012) about a teenage girl who leads her four siblings to safety after their parents’ disappearance. Johansson was particularly impressed with the director’s handling of the female protagonist, reports said.

Shortland made her directorial debut with Somersault (2004). Her most recent film was the psychological horror thriller Berlin Syndrome (2017), based on Melanie Joosten’s 2011 novel of the same name.

Natasha Romanoff /Black Widow is a Russian spy turned superhero who first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Since then, she has appeared in The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

The Black Widow movie will be set before the events of the first Avengers film and will be Marvel’s second female superhero film after Captain Marvel, which is scheduled to be released in the United States of America on March 8, 2019.

Black Widow in Iron Mar 2 (2010).