Set photos from Black Widow appear to confirm the film's place in the MCU timeline. Marvel Studios is currently trying to keep their post-Phase 3 slate under wraps until after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which probably means they're saving official announcements until their Hall H panel at S`an Diego Comic-Con.
That said, the upcoming Black Widow movie is probably Marvel's worst-kept secret, not least because Cate Shortland's film is currently shooting in Budapest. Set photos have appeared to confirm that at least one of the villains is Taskmaster, a bad guy comic book readers have long wanted to see introduced on the big screen. They've also apparently confirmed that Florence Pugh is playing the part of Yelena Belova, Natasha's successor in the Red Room program.
The latest batch of set photos may also confirm when Black Widow is set in terms of its relation to the MCU. As Geeks Worldwide's Thomas Polito noted on Twitter (via: CBR), they show Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh at the wheel of a 2017 BMW 5 Series Touring Wagon. Combining this with the fact that Johansson's hair doesn't have a trace of white dye, the Black Widow prequel appears to be set sometime between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
This is an interesting decision on Marvel's part. It means this isn't a Black Widow origin story at all; Natasha Romanoff is an out-and-out hero, albeit one who now has precious little backup. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Black Widow dumped all SHIELD's files onto the internet - including those that described her own past history as an assassin and KGB agent. She was initially protected from the fallout from this by the Avengers, but the Sokovia Accords caused the Avengers to splinter, and by the end of Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow was on the run.
It's possible that Black Widow is set before Natasha teamed up with Steve Rogers as a member of his Secret Avengers team; alternatively, it could be that this is a side-mission that she chooses to conduct on her own. Regardless, whatever's going on promises to be very personal to Natasha Romanoff. If Yelena Belova is involved, then Black Widow will see Natasha discover that the Red Room program is still active, and that she has a successor who's out to prove herself as her superior. With Natasha operating alone, there's every possibility she'll find herself outmatched by a new Black Widow whose skills are at least equal to her own.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019