As the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s highly-anticipated Phase 4, Black Widow can solve several mysteries that fans have been debating for years. Arriving in theaters on May 1, Black Widow features Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in her first-ever solo adventure. Johansson will be joined by Florence Pugh (Little Women), David Harbour (Stranger Things), and Rachel Weisz, while Cate Shortland is directing.
Ever since Black Widow made her MCU debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2, fans have been clamoring for a solo film for the Russian assassin-turned-Avenger. For a long time, it looked like Black Widow would never get her time in the spotlight, and that seemed especially true when she died in Avengers: Endgame. Despite that, she is finally getting her own movie. Black Widow is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and will follow Natasha as she confronts her past and the people she left behind.
Natasha’s past role as an assassin means there are a lot of question marks left in her backstory, ones that the movie can fill in. While it’s unlikely that Black Widow will be able to touch on all of them, hopefully it will give an explanation for at least a couple. The fans (and Natasha) deserve some answers.
One of the biggest questions lingering in MCU fans‘ minds for years has been about Budapest. This refers to a couple of lines exchanged between Natasha and her closest friend, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), in The Avengers. During the Chitauri invasion, Black Widow and Hawkeye fight side-by-side. Black Widow remarks, „Just like Budapest all over again.“ Clint, bemused, responds, „You and I remember Budapest very differently.“ It’s an excellent little moment that hints at these characters‘ rich history without feeling too expository or clunky. It also gets another shout-out in Endgame, when Natasha and Clint make the fatal trip to Vormir for the Soul Stone.
Hawkeye was ordered to take Black Widow out when she was still an assassin, but he ended up saving her and inducting her into SHIELD instead. There’s a chance the Budapest incident could be how they met, or it could be a routine SHIELD mission the two embarked on together before their Avengers days. Either way, the little hints to the event have sparked fans‘ imaginations and left them wondering exactly what transpired. The first trailer for Black Widow showed shots of Budapest, which suggests Black Widow will finally clear up the mystery of what went down there. Since it’s unclear if Renner will make a cameo, though, there may not be any flashbacks.
To become an assassin, Natasha was trained in the Red Room, a Russian facility that took young girls and molded them into killers. The comics have delved into Black Widow’s past with the Red Room more than the movies have, though audiences got a glimpse of Natasha’s time there in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Thanks to Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) magic, Black Widow has to relive her Red Room training, including moments where she shot a hooded man and was sterilized. However, the flashbacks don’t provide many concrete moments outside of the sterilization, instead showing her memories as fractured moments and images.
Black Widow could provide more details regarding Natasha’s experience in the Red Room, such as how she came to join it. That especially would be an intriguing plot point to cover, since it could give some insight into her life before she was an assassin. The trailer already confirmed the Red Room will play a vital part in the story, and supporting characters Yelena Belova (Pugh) and Melina Vostokoff (Weisz) have also gone through the rigorous program. It’s highly likely that flashbacks will be shown, or at the very least that Natasha will talk about her experience in the Red Room.
Beyond her time in the Red Room, not much about Black Widow’s past is known. Natasha herself doesn’t seem to know much, which provides an excellent story opportunity for Black Widow. In Endgame, when Natasha and Clint arrive on Vormir, they are greeted by the Red Skull (Ross Marquand). Red Skull refers to Black Widow as „Natasha, daughter of Ivan.“ Later, when Clint disparages Red Skull’s knowledge of who their parents were, Natasha confesses she didn’t even know.
One explanation is she was taken from her parents when she was very young and put into the Red Room right away. Another is that Ivan willingly put her there, either to protect her or for some nefarious reason. Or perhaps Ivan is part of the Red Room himself, and he was one of the people who trained her. There are several ways the story could go. If Black Widow chooses to reveal who Ivan is, odds are Natasha won’t find out he is her father, since this movie takes place before Endgame. Still, it would be thrilling for fans if they uncovered more information about Natasha’s parents.
Captain America: Civil War sees the Avengers split apart after disagreeing over the Sokovia Accords. Natasha notably sides with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who is in favor of the Accords, during the conflict and has to fight opposite her one-time partner and friend, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). However, she still aids Steve at a vital moment, and she ends the film on the run because of it. She is then on her own, but Infinity War later picks up with her fighting alongside Steve and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who have since formed their own band of rogue Avengers.
Exactly how Natasha came to join Captain America and Falcon (and sport short blonde hair) is a mystery. Presumably, she joins them after her unfinished business with the Red Room is wrapped up, but how exactly does she find them? And what prompts her to rejoin them after everything that’s happened? While Evans most likely won’t make an appearance in Black Widow, his character can still get a shout out. And with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on the horizon, a cameo from Mackie isn’t entirely out of the question. However, it’s more likely that Natasha will just be shown seeking Steve and Sam out at the end of the film, thus bridging the gap between Civil War and Infinity War.
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