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Here’s Why Black Widow Taking Place After Civil War Is Important


Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff

**Warning for Avengers: Endgame spoilers.**

Yes, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is finally getting her own Marvel movie, and that’s exciting for those of us who have been her fans from the beginning. We know now that her standalone film is supposedly set after Captain America: Civil War, but what does that mean for Natasha? She’s always been mysterious and the kind of character we wanted to explore more, and now, nine years after her introduction, we’re getting that.

She’s one of the more complicated characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She’s unique, and she’s a badass, but she also has a past that we truly never got to explore because the franchise never made room for her moment. Before you argue that she had her “moment” in Avengers: Endgame, I’m calling veto power because a main character who has been in the franchise since the beginning deserves more than she got there.

But giving her a second chance at that by rewinding to this era of her story has important implications. Captain America: Civil War ended with Tony Stark attempting to murder Bucky Barnes, and Steve Rogers essentially accepting his fate as the nomad and leaving with Bucky, leaving Tony and the Avengers behind. In doing so, he created a little group of fugitives comprised of Sam Wilson, Natasha Romanoff, and himself, due to their refusal to sign the Sokovia Accords, with Bucky recovering in Wakanda.

Being on the run, as war criminals, with Steve Rogers is going to have a major effect on where the story of Natasha’s movie goes. Maybe her time on the run will lead her back to her past and she’ll have to examine her life before she found her family within the Avengers. Maybe those past contacts will help her and Steve stay in hiding. Then again, there’s been no news about whether or not Chris Evans will be in the movie but honestly, where is Steve Rogers then?

We know from the ever-reliable source of Civil War/Endgame co-director Joe Russo (that’s sarcasm, by the way), speaking to Entertainment Tonight Canada before we even knew Endgame’s title, that Chris Evans “isn’t done yet” playing Steve Rogers. So, that could mean that he’s with Natasha in the movie, but then again, it could just be a solo mission for her, meaning no bearded Steve Rogers for us.

Here’s what’s really interesting about it being set after Civil War, though: our very own Bucky Barnes, Sebastian Stan, knew about it. He was even the one to break the news at a recent convention:

Sure, he’s part of the MCU, so maybe it’s just a random detail he heard, but the Bucky Barnes/Natasha Romanoff shipper in me makes me think that it’s important for the movie to be set there because Bucky would, at least, be in a better mindset than he was in previous films. We don’t know whether or not he just stayed in Wakanda for all that time, so it’ll be interesting to see if they tie him into the film in some way.

Bucky and Natasha have a long comic book history where the two were romantically linked, unlike Hulk/Nat, because that was just some nonsense Joss Whedon threw in to make us all angry. (Mission accomplished.) While the MCU hasn’t yet dealt with the Bucky/Nat storyline, this movie could be a great time to explore it and start to understand how their relationship would exist in the MCU.

Not only that, but how is it going to tie into Infinity War and Endgame now that we know the outcome? In Infinity War, Natasha is traveling with Steve and working to find ways to stop Thanos and isn’t exactly romantically linked to anyone. (I will point out she was standing close to Bucky, so good for me!) Then, in Endgame, she was completely focused on continuing the mission of the Avengers and very obviously over Bruce Banner.

All that being said, I want this movie to be good for Natasha Romanoff. She has so many secrets and an entire life we never got to see, and she deserves to have her chance to have her story told. I have so many questions about this movie, but maybe the most frustrating is “When will I get my answers?” We don’t even have a released date yet! Why must Marvel torture me like this?

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel (she/her) is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album, and would sell her soul for Pedro Pascal as Kraven the Hunter. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. Secretly Grogu's mom and Lizzie Olsen's best friend.