For everyone traipsing about declaring that no one could conceive of Black Widow movie before May 4, 2012 and so of course they’re doing an Ant-Man movie first—
There was a Black Widow movie in development before the first Iron Man. It had a script, it had a director, so, everything the Edgar Wright Ant-man flick has, locked as it is in the cyrogenic rumor chamber of maybe someday. It wasn’t perfect, and I even popcorn.gif’d, discussing some of the flaws.
It was cancelled, though, not because the script wasn’t working out or because they couldn’t find an actress or because Natasha was impossible to adapt. It wasn’t cancelled for a lack of name appeal, because Marvel realized as early as Blade that it’s how you sell the property, not how many people have heard of it beforehand. That’s truth that saw Iron Man become an unexpected smash and what’s fueling the production costs for projects like Ant-man and Guardians of the Galaxy, which bee tee dubs I agree we don’t need to be trashing because in my perfect world this isn’t an either/or. What I’m saying though, is that Solid Snake et al. realized there was filmic potential in Natasha’s backstory way before Budapest: Revenge of the Throw-away Line became a thing.
So why was it cancelled? Because she’s a she, and lady action hero movies just don’t sell.