“Natasha vs Natalia: What Marvel’s Black Widow’s Real Name Is”
Here’s an explanation into Black Widow’s real name in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The superhero played by Scarlett Johansson is set to headline her own solo film, Black Widow, this May. The character is known to fans as Natasha Romanoff, but that name is actually an alias. Like much of her past, Natasha’s real name was kept hidden to protect her from her dangerous past.
Black Widow made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2 as an undercover spy posing as Tony Stark’s assistant under the name Natalie Rushman. She eventually revealed herself as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and helped Tony defeat villains Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko. Johansson reprised her role as Natasha for 2012’s The Avengers, as Black Widow played a crucial role during the Battle of New York. Black Widow grew into a key ally of Steve Rogers and the rest of the Avengers in the years that followed. She was present for all the major conflicts that the superhero team faced until she sacrificed herself on Vormir during Avengers: Endgame.
As explained in Marvel Comics, Natasha Romanoff’s real name is Natalia Romanova. The MCU counterpart was born in 1984 in Stalingrad. Black Widow takes place after Captain America: Civil War and plans to focus on Natasha as she’s forced to face her past. Much of her backstory was left ambiguous up to this point, except for a few tidbits revealing that she was a KGB-trained assassin who was brought up in the Red Room. Aside from an interesting line from Avengers: Endgame indicating that her father was named Ivan, a few characters set to make their debut in Black Widow were the closest she had to a family. It’s also possible that the film uses her birth name for the first time now that her past will be uncovered.
Just like the case with the comics, Natasha abandoned the name Natalia to distance herself from the life she ran from. Leaving the Red Room behind after taking on the Black Widow mantle would have made Natasha an enemy in the eyes of many, so it would have been important to adopt a new alias. She also acquired many enemies in her early life, so abandoning her birth name gave her the chance at a fresher start after being recruited as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Adjusting Natalia Romanova to Natasha Romanoff was only a minor change, and it simply meant she took on the western equivalent of her Russian name; “Natasha” is a western form of Natalia, and “Romanoff” of Romanova. The funny thing is the fact that the majority of her friends and colleagues referred to her as “Nat,” a nickname that worked for her birth name and alias. It will be interesting to get a direct look at the past she took so much effort into hiding from when Black Widow adds a new chapter into her backstory. What remains to be seen is if Natasha (or Natalia) has a future beyond her solo film since death isn’t always cut and dry in the MCU.
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