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Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Black Widow.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an ever-expanding beast that shows no signs of slowing down, with new movies and series taking place throughout its intricate timeline. We have known for a while that Black widow is a prequel movie, which takes place before Natasha Romanoff’s disappearance in Avengers Endgame. But how Black widow fits precisely into the grand scheme of all things Marvel? Now that the movie is finally available in theaters and through Disney + Premier Acess, let’s take a look at when Black widow takes place in the MCU timeline. One caveat, this discussion involves a lot of spoilers for the entire MCU.

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When the Black widow Does the prologue take place?

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Image via Marvel Studios

Even if it’s no wonder Black widow is a prequel, the opening scene of the film takes us back to 1995, when 11-year-old Natasha Romanoff (Ever anderson) lives in Ohio with his family. Natasha seems to have a normal life in the suburbs, along with her father, Alexei (David port), his mother, Melina (Rachel Weisz), and her younger sister, Yelena (Violet McGraw). However, it doesn’t take us long to learn that the happy family is just a cover for a three-year mission in which Alexei and Melina can steal some mind control technology from SHIELD (actually Hydra at the time).

Once their cover is discovered, the Soviet spy family escapes from SHIELD and meets a Russian general in Cuba. Melina returns to Russia to develop chemicals that control the mind; Alexie is locked up in a Siberian prison; and both Natasha and Yelena are enrolled in the Red Room to be force-trained as dangerous Widow assassins. Yelena is the only member of the family who did not know about her mission, so this is her first visit to the Red Room. As for Natasha, it’s clear from this first scene that she doesn’t want to go back to the training center, which means she spent time in the Red Room before 1992.

It’s worth noting that this is a great year for the MCU, as the main events of Captain Marvel it will also happen in 1995. But let’s not dwell on the past. Instead, it’s time to move on to 2016.

Back Civil war

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Image via Marvel Studios

After an introduction that makes the viewer aware of the brutal training that Widows undergo in the Red Room, we move directly to 2016, after the Leipzig-Halle airport battle that takes place during Captain America: Civil War. During the airport battle, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) escape in a jet while his allies stay behind to distract Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and the other superheroes who signed the Sokovia Accords. At this point, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) betrays Team Iron Man by holding King T’challa (Chadwick boseman) so Steve can escape. The last we see Natasha in Civil war, she is on the run, as Tony warns his secretary Ross (William hurt) will haunt her after the betrayal.

The main events of Black widow It begins at this point, when Ross and his army surround a building where Natasha is supposedly hiding. Natasha calls Ross and tells him to back off and leave her alone. Ross, in turn, reveals that they already captured Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Clint Barton (Jeremy renner) and “the other boy”, an obvious reference to Scott Lang (Paul rudd). Natasha is on the run simultaneously as the three heroes are taken to the super prison known as The Raft, signifying one of the first scenes of Black widow occurs at the same time as the end of Civil war. While Natasha is on the run, Tony discovers the truth about Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and goes to meet Steve and Bucky in Siberia.

Natasha decides to hide in Europe, but her past soon catches up with her when she receives news of her adoptive sister Yelena (Florence pugh). Yelena is also a fugitive after breaking free from the Red Room’s mind control. Natasha, who once thought she had put an end to the cruel training facility, joins forces with her surrogate family to bring down the Red Room. These are the main events of Black widow, but the movie hasn’t finished referencing Civil war.

avengers infinity war scarlett johansson

Image via Marvel Studios

Before the credits come out, Natasha dyes her hair blonde, just as we see it in Avengers: infinity war. Blonde Natasha later meets her smuggler friend, Mason (OT Fagbenle), who got him a jet. And not just any jet, but the same jet that Steve, Natasha and Sam use during Infinity war. It’s a smart way to save events from Civil war and the resurgence of Team Cap when Thanos attacks Earth, but it seems like Natasha had an even more critical job between the two movies.

When Manson asks what he will do with the jet, Natasha responds by saying that he will “get some friends out of jail.” At the end of Civil war, we learn that Steve had broken into The Raft to free his super friends. However, it seems Steve wasn’t alone, and Natasha could have played a role in the prison break, offering her jet for everyone to escape. The attention to detail in the MCU is commendable, and prequels like Black widow it can help fill in the gaps that previous movies left. But we are not done yet, as Black widow The credits scene takes us to the future.

RELATED: ‌ ‘Black Widow’ Review: The MCU Never Did Right By Natasha Romanoff

Later Avengers Endgame

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We do not have an exact date for Black widow post-credits scene, but we know for sure what happens after Natasha dies in Endgame. In the scene, Yelena is cleaning Natasha’s grave when she is intercepted by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the same woman who hired John Walker (Wyatt russell) at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We learn from this scene that Yelena has been working for the Contessa for a while, and her next goal is a surprise of her own, but something that the Contessa says helps us locate the post-credit scene in late 2023 / early 2024. The Contessa tries to justify her presence by saying that she is there only to pay her respects, which means that the two women have not interacted since before Natasha’s death. Tony Stark’s funeral took place in the fall of 2023, so it’s easy to assume that Natasha received similar treatment at the same time.

As new MCU movies hit theaters and Marvel Studios shows hit Disney +, we’ll be getting more puzzle pieces to fill in the gaps in Marvel’s cinematic timeline. However, Black widow It already does a great job of linking past and future events.

KEEP ‌READING: ‌ MCU timeline explained: from Infinity Stones to Infinity War to Endgame and beyond

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