One of the great things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the way the various projects connect to one another.
With the awaited release of “Black Widow” here, fans finally get further insight into Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. The character may have been in the MCU for more than a decade, but a plethora of details concerning her history were unknown. Marvel’s latest film fills in some of those holes, revisiting aforementioned topics like Budapest and the Red Room, while also introducing new characters.
Get a better idea of how “Black Widow” fits into the MCU by watching these three Marvel projects afterwards:
Spoilers for “Black Widow” ahead.
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‘Avengers: Infinity War’
The last scene that Natasha is in during “Black Widow” comes just before the film’s end credits.
Two weeks after taking down General Dreykov and the Red Room with her family, Natasha is seen sporting the shorter blonde hair she was first seen with in the MCU during “Avengers: Infinity War.” She meets up with her friend Mason, who has brought her a Quinjet, and is set to use it to reunite her other family, the Avengers. First, she just needs to break out those members who are in the Raft prison.
The attire Natasha wears during “Infinity War” is also significant and pays homage to the family she reconciled with during “Black Widow.”
‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’
The post-credits scene of “Black Widow” fast forwards to 2023, where the MCU is currently at, and features Yelena visiting Natasha’s grave in Ohio. Similar to Natasha’s birth mother, the grave is beneath a cherry blossom tree.
As Yelena stands in front of the site, mourning her sister, someone blowing their nose is suddenly heard in the background. The sound turns out to come from none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
When Valentina and Yelena interact at the grave, it is clear that the two know each other. Yelena tells her she wants a raise and isn’t supposed to be bothered during her time off, so it’s safe to assume the two have been working together. Valentina then offers Yelena an iPad with a photo of Clint Barton on it, giving Yelena an opportunity to kill the man “responsible” for Natasha’s death — setting up the upcoming Disney Plus “Hawkeye” series.
Valentina — or rather, Val, as the character prefers — made her first appearance in the MCU in the Disney Plus series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” But, according to Vanity Fair, Valentina was originally supposed to make her MCU debut in “Black Widow.” The pandemic changed things, though, as the release of “Black Widow” was continually pushed back.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” provides more insight into what Valentina is up to elsewhere and who else Yelena may be working with in the future, John Walker.
‘Agent Carter’ Season 1
“Black Widow” was as much about Black Widow, the Avenger, as it was about the Red Room’s Black Widow training program.
The original program, however, was not quite the focus in the recent Marvel film. It isn’t until Natasha has reunited with Yelena that she even learns that the Red Room is, in fact, still going strong as a revamped version.
For years, Natasha had been under the impression the Red Room was out of service and defunct since she (supposedly) killed General Dreykov in Budapest. Glimpses of that original Black Widow program were shown in “Black Widow” during the opening credits sequence, including brainwashing via cartoons and strict gymnastics training among others.
More of the original Red Room’s Black Widow program origins can be seen in season 1 of ABC’s “Agent Carter.”
“Agent Carter” premiered in 2015 and ran for two seasons. The show centers around Strategic Scientific Reserve agent Peggy Carter, who was introduced in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” during the aftermath of World War II and Steve Rogers’ supposed death.
Despite Peggy’s work with Captain America and the Howling Commandos during the war, she struggles to gain and be treated with respect at the spy agency.
One of the main plot points of “Agent Carter” season 1 involves Peggy working to clear Howard Stark’s name of crimes he didn’t commit but is wanted for in the U.S. During her efforts to help him, she comes across the Red Room and one of the individuals who trained there decades before Natasha did. So the show can provide further context for how Natasha was raised and trained as an assassin.
“Infinity War,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Agent Carter” are all available for streaming on Disney Plus.
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