Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff

How Can Black Widow Tie Into Marvel’s Next Phase?

We want to know more than what happened in Budapest.

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**Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame will follow, but if you haven’t seen it, why are you reading this piece?**

It might seem weird that they’re finally giving us a Black Widow prequel given the character’s fate in Avengers: Endgame. Natasha met her end trying to retrieve the Soul Stone, which means that whatever her upcoming solo film centers on, it will have to be set in the past. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks towards a new future, we have to ask: What’s the point of finally giving the original Marvel leading lady her own solo film this late?

Kevin Feige answered a question about it from io9, while promoting Spider-Man: Far From Home: “There’s a method to the madness. There’s always a method and doing things in an unexpected way is something we find fun. There are ways to do prequels that are less informative or answer questions you didn’t necessarily have, and then there are ways to do prequels where you learn all sorts of things you never knew before.”

We already know plenty about Natasha, except maybe what happened between her and Clint Barton in Budapest. Could this prequel then reveal that Natasha maybe had an encounter with some cosmic force long before the events of The Avengers?

This is a long shot, and purely speculation, but just as Captain Marvel was a prequel that allowed us to see how Nick Fury created the Avengers Initiative, could Black Widow serve as a prequel to hint at something coming in the MCU’s future? Natasha says that the events of the first Avengers are nothing she has ever trained for, but we know she’s a master of deception. What could her past be hiding?

Of course, this could be baseless speculation. For all we know, the still-yet-to-be-confirmed film is just Natasha’s backstory, but it seems weird to throw it into production now, with Natasha dead and the plot arcs of the first team all wrapped up. There has to be a reason that they’re releasing the film in Phase 4, rather than doing it earlier (besides their hesitance to feature a film with a female lead).

What the film might tease about Phase 4 is a little trickier. Still, if Feige wants to sell this project as one where you learn something you never knew before, it can’t just be Natasha’s Life Before She Got Fridged. It has to tell us something new about the whole Marvel universe, and I personally cannot wait to find out what that is.

(via io9, image: Marvel)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.