There is no doubt Disney knew their decision to release 'Black Widow' simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+ would be controversial, but they likely never imagined just how much. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow lawsuit echoes Marvel's longest-running controversy.
Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over Black Widow's Disney+ release, arguing her salary was tied to the film's box office performance and that the simultaneous streaming release constitutes a breach of contract.
It is strikingly similar to long-standing issues faced by writers and artists who work for big comic book publishers under work-for-hire contracts, and are not compensated when their characters and plots get brought to the big screen.
That is a problem as old as Marvel Comics itself, with even Jack Kirby - involved in creating the likes of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the Eternals - angered by the lack of financial remuneration.
More recently, Ed Brubaker, the creator of the Winter Soldier, has admitted he has mixed feelings over the Winter
Soldier's success, while prolific author Ta-Nehisi Coates has criticised Marvel for how it often treats creators.
But the Johansson situation is also reminiscent of a specific case in the 1990s when Marvel Comics' practices cost them dearly, even leading to the creation of a rival publishing company.
Back in the 1990s, a group of prolific comic book artists grew dissatisfied with their treatment by Marvel. Like Johansson, these people had enough, and decided to take a stand and left to form Image Comics.
Already other actors are considering following Johansson's lead - Emma Stone is reportedly contemplating suing Disney over 'Cruella', for example - meaning this is only going to escalate.
The reputational damage and costs to working relationships may well ultimately outweigh the money Disney has made through its dual approach on films like 'Black Widow'.