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SYFY WIRE Black Widow

Emily Blunt explains why she turned down Black Widow, sees through those Invisible Woman rumors

By Matthew Jackson
Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place Part II

Though she's certainly done her share of genre blockbusters with films like Edge of Tomorrow, Mary Poppins Returns, and the upcoming Jungle Cruise, Emily Blunt has yet to join a cinematic superhero universe, but that doesn't mean she hasn't come close. The actress famously turned down the chance to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Widow more than a decade ago, and she remains at the top of a lot of fan wish lists to star as Sue Storm in Marvel's upcoming Fantastic Four project. Now, in a pair of new interviews, Blunt is aiming to set the record straight on her connections to both of those characters.

Blunt's been making the rounds lately to promote the upcoming release of A Quiet Place Part II, and in the process she's been able to devote some time to clearing up a few rumors about her relationship to various superhero projects. On The Howard Stern Show Tuesday, Blunt spoke about backing away from Black Widow ahead of Iron Man 2 years ago, and made it very clear that it was a decision that was out of her hands at the time.

"I was contracted to do Gulliver's Travels. I didn't want to do Gulliver's Travels," Blunt said after Stern summed the story up as a case of her being too "busy" to work with Marvel at the time.

Blunt added, "It was a bit of a heartbreaker for me because I take such pride in the decisions that I make. They mean so much to me, the films that I do, so that was tough."

Blunt's Black Widow heartbreaker was due to what's known as an "optional picture deal," in which she landed a role in The Devil Wears Prada at Fox under the condition that the studio could also use her in another film. In the video below, Blunt explains to Stern that, had the deal remained over her head, she could potentially have been left out of passion projects like Young Victoria, so rather than wait for the studio to pull her into another project further down the road, she decided to get the optional deal out of the way, and so Gulliver's Travels took priority over Iron Man 2.

Despite the drama, Blunt also kept largely quiet about the full circumstances of the deal for some time, particularly around her Gulliver's Travels co-stars.

"No one knew, and I also didn't talk about it with anyone on set or anything, because there were a lot of lovely people in it who were heaven to work with, and I actually had a really good time, I had a laugh with all of them. It irked my heart for it to have happened in the first place, but I will always try to make the best of any situation, for sure."

Of course, in time, fans came to embrace Scarlett Johansson in the Black Widow role, and began thinking of Blunt for another key Marvel superhero part. For years now, online chatter has consistently tied Blunt and her husband John Krasinski to the roles of Sue Storm and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, and now that Marvel's preparing to launch a Fantastic Four feature in the MCU that chatter has turned to rumors of actually casting meetings. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Blunt tried to put those rumors to bed.

"I have heard that. People have asked me about that a lot," Blunt said. "But I have had no formal introduction to the Invisible Woman. No."

Despite the firm "No" there, it's probably worth noting that's not a denial that she'd ever entertain the idea of playing the character at all. Blunt went on to call fans dream-casting her in the role a "compliment," and even noted that she'd still be interested in a superhero film if it caught her attention.

"For me, it's all about the part. It's not that I'm loathed to put on a catsuit. It's not that at all. I just haven't found something that really speaks to me."

Marvel's Fantastic Four project, directed by Spider-Man: No Way Home's Jon Watts, does not yet have a release date, so maybe there's still time for it to really speak to Blunt down the line.

Then, of course, there's Edge of Tomorrow, which many fans still hope will get a sequel. The sci-fi adventure starring Blunt and Tom Cruise and directed by Doug Liman became a kind of sleeper hit when it was released in 2014, earning critical praise and a dedicated fan base but never quite reaching blockbuster levels at the box office. Sadly, it's because of the financial side of things that Blunt seems to think a sequel might never truly be possible. 

“Honestly, I think the movie is too expensive," she told Stern. "I just don’t know how we’re going to do it."

Still, as with Invisible Woman, we can dare to dream.