More than a decade after its debut in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff Finally Has Her Own Movie, Black widow, which comes with the strange circumstances that the character is already dead. But thanks to the narrative breadcrumbs on offer about her true past, without a great deal of substantial evidence to suggest who she really was before joining the Avengers, Natasha’s backstory remains one of the most pressing mysteries of. the MCU.

While Marvel Studios was slow to give it its own movie, after an attempt to make a Black Widow movie was hastily abandoned around 2004 after the box office failure of Aeon Flux – Natasha has quietly been a mainstay of the MCU. That’s despite Ike Perlmutter’s reluctance to accept that she (or any female superhero) could sell toys and merchandise.

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Related: How Black Widow Has Evolved In The MCU Since Iron Man 2

In the run up to Black widowrelease, and with 23 story movies behind the two-year hiatus for the MCU, it’s more important to review every step in Natasha Romanoff’s story up to this point. Spent too long as a solo lead, however, she has been pivotal in various MCU arcs, and though her story has ended after Endgame’s devastating events, every other appearance so far has been a prelude to the main event of Black widow.

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 Black Widow

First introduced in Iron Man 2 As Tony Stark’s new assistant, Nat’s debut offered the first glimpse into what his true superpower was: subterfuge and manipulation. Thankfully, the MCU avoided using the idea of ​​Nat’s sexuality being a weapon after initially introducing her as a love interest for Tony, as it felt a bit like a hangover from the days before Marvel Studios treated its female characters. With respect. Despite her name, she was never particularly necessary, despite her cheating on Tony saying something about her own weaknesses in Phase 1. This was also the first opportunity to see Nat take down men who underestimated her (in the first instance , Happy Hogan), as well as his unique fighting abilities, including the hurricanrana takedown that he has favored in several movies.

Captain America: The First Avenger and the Winter Soldier

Black Widow leaks classified information in Captain America the Winter Soldier

While Scarlett Johansson’s first appearance in the MCU came with Iron Man 2, his story arguably started earlier thanks to Bucky’s transformation into the Winter Soldier. That, of course, began when it was assumed that he was dead in The first avenger but it survived thanks to Arnim Zola’s super soldier serum, which became half of the key ingredients in HYDRA’s most important secret weapon. The other side was the mental reprogramming side of what made him the Winter Soldier, linking him to the Black Widow program. While the bond between Nat and Bucky isn’t as evident in the MCU as it is in the comics, knowing Bucky’s story before Black widow it is an advantage.

In more tangible terms, Natasha played a key role in The Winter Soldier, changing his allegiance from Iron Man to Captain America as a fellow SHIELD agent discovering and undoing HYDRA’s infiltration of the organization. The most intriguing thing about Cap’s sequel, of course, was Nat’s willingness to reveal his own past as part of telling the world the secrets of HYDRA, particularly since that hasn’t been explored in the MCU beyond his mention of ” red on your ledger. ” Black widow It will fill in at least some of the gaps about why her past was armed against her and what her past sins were.

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the Avengers

the Avengers it was the first hint of Natasha’s royal past, with her now infamous line “I got engaged. I have red in my ledger. Now I need to delete it ” to Loki. It was also the MCU’s first mention of Budapest, where she and Hawkeye shared a momentous mission that imprinted them both in different ways. With the mystery of what happened in Hungary about the MCU even after his death, it always seemed inevitable that the answers would come. Black widow. On top of that, Loki challenged Natasha’s understatement of what her past sins were, adding an intriguing level of detail that has never been explained: “Can you erase that much red? Dreykov’s daughter, Sao Paulo, the hospital fire. Barton told me everything. Your ledger is leaking. It’s spurting red, and do you think saving a man no more virtuous than yourself will change anything? “

It was also long suspected that Black widow would offer more insight into the bond between Hawkeye and Natasha, which was first explored in the Avengers when Clint was possessed by Loki. The pair always presented themselves as very close friends or even pseudo-siblings who had apparently come together in the field and jumping back in time would be the only way to answer how they got so close.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

After hints of Natasha’s criminal past prior to her defection to SHIELD in the AvengersBy Joss Whedon Ultron age He began to explore the idea of ​​Black Widow as a victim, not just a perpetrator. Thanks to the ingenious introduction of Scarlet Witch’s mind-abducting powers, the sequel offered the first look at her horrifying past in the Red Room, with undertones of Jacob’s ladder Ultimately, Whedon’s decision to introduce the idea that she was a self-described “monster” due to the sterilization of the Red Room was a step beyond what was acceptable, but the brief look at her conditioning was a fascinating one. provocation of what could happen. Then Marvel should go for his solo movie.

Whedon’s other big mistake, of course, was introducing a romantic angle between Natasha and Bruce Banner that both reconfigured the Hulk’s claim to always be in control, but also unnecessarily wrote characters in a corner that all the other filmmakers didn’t have. no choice but to ignore. entirely. But there was something to be said for Natasha’s compulsion to find a family for herself with the Avengers and pursue something of a “normal” life, even if she was in a deeply dysfunctional dynamic and is an intriguing launch point earlier. Black widow introduces his royal family.

Related: Black Widow Theory: Yelena Is The Next Dark Avengers Recruit

Captain America: Civil War

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow Natasha Romanoff in Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Civil War ends where Black widow it begins, with Natasha Romanoff on the run after betraying Tony Stark and General Ross, with the former’s warning that she is now a target ringing loud in his ears. While Nat’s defection to Team Cap may have come as a shock, he fitted his bow a lot, manipulating situations to gain information and strengthen his own position. On top of that, it never made sense for her to fully endorse the idea of ​​the Sokovia Accords, given the black marks against her and how she had been forced to navigate the laws in her pre-Avengers career. After her deception was revealed, Stark told her to run and hide, which she obediently did, hiding before appearing as part of Steve Rogers’ secret Avengers without explanation on Infinity war. Black widow It will fill everything that came between those two points.

Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame

Black Widow Avengers Endgame Vormir

It is best to consider the grand climax event of Infinity Saga as a one-time event to set up. Black widow because Infinity war itself feels like a kind of precursor to the end of Natasha’s story in Endgame. And while they both come after Black widow In the timeline, both include important moments that change how Nat’s indie movie will unfold. First is the question of how she returned to the fold as a Secret Avenger in the run-up to Infinity war, since Civil war ended up with her on the run. And second is the issue of her death and, more pertinently, why she fundamentally believed that she should be the one to lay down her life on Vormir to allow Hawkeye to live. Seeing the MCU in order would obviously place both movies after Black widowbut they add something, particularly at the end of Johansson’s solo outing, that makes them both a worthy pioneer.

Next: MCU Characters Who Could Compete In The Shang-Chi Fighting Tournament

  • Black Widow (2021)Release Date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release Date: Sep 03, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release Date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release Date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: March 25, 2022
  • Thor: love and thunder (2022)Release Date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release Date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: February 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

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