The MCU has technically done prequels before, with Captain America and Captain Marvel’s first solo ventures taking place in the past and filling in some gaps in the franchise’s timeline. But in a change of pace, next year’s Black Widow solo-movie will mark the first time that Marvel has done a prequel involving a character who has been around for a long time and (SPOILER ALERT!) died permanently.
With that being said, it’ll be interesting to see what the movie does with the holes in the MCU’s chronology. There are a number of unanswered questions it could finally answer while also revealing some fun surprises as well. Without further delay, here are 10 Questions Black Widow could answer about the MCU.
10 Who is Ivan?
Whenever someone arrives on Vormir, the Red Skull identifies them by telling them the name of their parents. When Clint and Nat showed up in Avengers: Endgame, Red Skull called Clint “son of Edith” and Nat “son of Ivan.”
Clint doesn’t believe a word about Soul Stone sacrifices because the way he sees it, naming a parent doesn’t prove anything. But then Nat points out that she didn’t know her father’s name, so she’s inclined to trust the guy who did. This may have been setting up her backstory in Black Widow, in which we’ll find out who Ivan is (or was).
9 What happened to the Sokovia Accords?
Captain America: Civil War revolved around the Sokovia Accords: U.N. legislation that regulates superheroes’ actions. Since the movie turned into Iron Man v. Cap: Dawn of Bucky, we never got a definitive conclusion for the Accords. Peter Parker learned about them in high school, but it was business as usual for the Avengers in Infinity War.
Black Widow is reportedly set in 2017, right after the events of Civil War and before Infinity War. With Natasha’s pre-existing relationship with the government, hopefully we’ll get some answers about what exactly went down with the Sokovia Accords.
8 How did Natasha end up in the Red Room?
While the Avengers (minus Hawkeye) got entire movies to tell their origin stories, the most Black Widow got so far were a couple of flashbacks in Avengers: Age of Ultron when she was mind controlled by Scarlet Witch.
All we know is that she was trained to be an assassin from a young age in a place called the Red Room, but we don’t know how she ended up there, exactly what they did to her (because Scarlet Witch’s mind control tweaked some details to make them trippier), or how she ended up escaping and working for S.H.I.E.L.D. instead.
7 What happens after you die for the Soul Stone?
Some fans think that the placement of Black Widow after her death in Avengers: Endgame might be more deliberate than it seems. Dying for the Soul Stone is different from any kind of death, because the Hulk was unable to bring her back to life, even with the power of all six Infinity Stones.
There are many theories about what happened, like going to the Soul World to be judged by a higher power. This would make a great framing device for the prequel, and since she made her sacrifice in 2014 and Gamora wouldn’t be sacrificed until 2018, there’s no need for any unnecessary cameos.
6 When did Black Widow and Hawkeye become such good friends?
Out of the core six Avengers, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner bonded over being scientific geniuses, Steve Rogers and Thor connected as battle-hardened geezers, while Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton grew close thanks to their long history with S.H.I.E.L.D.
We know Clint’s kids call Nat “Auntie Nat,” and they would die for each other, but we don’t know exactly how they got to be so close. The MCU has never had a better opportunity to explore their backstory than in this Black Widow-centered prequel. Jeremy Renner hasn’t been confirmed to be appearing, but it would be a no-brainer.
5 Why did Natasha not get a funeral in Endgame?
When Avengers: Endgame caused controversy for making a big song and dance about one of its fallen heroes and ignoring the other, the Russo brothers said that Iron Man got a funeral because he wasn’t getting a solo movie. Since we’d be seeing Black Widow again, she didn’t need any sense of finality. But that’s not good enough.
She still deserves a funeral. Some fans guess that the framing device for Black Widow will be Clint Barton’s eulogy at her funeral, but either way, her lack of a ceremonial send-off needs a better explanation than just “She had a movie coming up.”
4 Why did Nat’s romance with Bruce Banner fizzle out?
One of the most controversial changes that Joss Whedon made to Earth’s mightiest heroes from the comics was pairing up Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff in a romantic subplot. They didn’t have much chemistry, they weren’t particularly well-matched, and what was then the only female Avenger was reduced to a love interest and a damsel in distress.
However, the romance was short-lived, because the Hulk took off in the Quinjet following the Battle of Sokovia and was gone for a couple of years. The end of their relationship hasn’t been addressed by the MCU yet, so now is Marvel’s chance.
3 How did Natasha rejoin Cap and the Secret Avengers?
Between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, Steve Rogers left his political asylum on Wakanda to carry out missions with the Secret Avengers, consisting of Cap, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Black Widow.
Black Widow is reportedly set after the events of Civil War, so maybe it will end with Natasha getting the call from Steve to join the Secret Avengers on a mission in a post-credits scene. Or, maybe that’s the third act, where Nat (probably) calls Steve to help her, and that’s how the Secret Avengers are formed. Marvel would definitely keep Chris Evans’ return a secret if this was the case.
2 What happened in Budapest?
Black Widow and Hawkeye have been mentioning something that happened in Budapest for years now. When Nat compared the Battle of New York to their experiences in Budapest, Clint quipped back, “You and I remember Budapest very differently.” Then, when they were jetting off to Vormir in distant space, Hawkeye jokes, “This is a long way from Budapest.” They can’t all have been throwaway references.
Marvel hasn’t confirmed yet if Jeremy Renner will be appearing in Black Widow but if he is, there should be a flashback to the Budapest mission. The MCU has been great at payoffs; this would just be the latest.
1 Why is Black Widow getting a movie after her death?
The impact of Black Widow’s death in Avengers: Endgame was lost on any fan who was aware she’ll be getting a solo movie next year. Either they were confused that she was dying when she has a movie coming out, or they spent the rest of the movie waiting for her triumphant return.
Despite the Hulk’s best efforts, she was never resurrected in Endgame, and as confirmed by Spider-Man: Far From Home, she is definitively deceased. So, the biggest question going into the Black Widow movie is: why is Black Widow getting her own solo movie after she’s died?