Spoiler alert: This story includes plot details and post-credits scene for Black widow.
Can a movie that is set years before Avengers: Endgame really pushing the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward? no but Black widow‘s postal credit scene is definitely trying.
The long-awaited film centered on the Avengers’ Natasha Romanoff – Marvel’s longest-serving female superhero – is finally in theaters. I liked many things about it, but even if the pandemic had not delayed the release of the film by more than a year, its story would still feel long delayed.
Black widow is a prequel whose chronology in the MCU falls years before Playoffs, where the character eventually dies a dramatic (and controversial) death. Unlike many of Marvel̵
Still in the great tradition of almost every other Marvel movie to date, Black widow has a post-credits scene. The studio has long used end-of-credit scenes to tease future movies and future MCU stories. Despite Black widow‘s status as a somewhat static “backstory” chapter, its credit scene manages to hint at a possible future story and the emergence of a villain we’re just getting to know. It also cements and strengthens the connections between Marvel’s films and television series within MCU. Instead of focusing on Natasha, however, it’s a bit about teasing how Florence Pugh – who plays co-murderer Yelena – can continue the title Black Widow in the future of MCU.
What happens in the Black Widows credit scene
Black widowThe credit scene opens with Yelena driving down a dirt road with an adorable dog. She finally reaches her goal, which is revealed to be Nat’s grave. The tombstone is adorned with flowers, indicating that Nat’s sacrifice and time as Avenger did not go unnoticed.
The scene places us today, some time after Nat’s death in Playoffs. That means the last time we saw Yelena in the MCU chronology was right after Civil war and years before Thano’s invasion of Infinity War, when Yelena and Nat parted ways, and Yelena set out to save the many women who had been brainwashed into becoming Black Widows just like them.
Yelena visits Natasha’s grave to respect someone who had become a sister to her. Suddenly, she is joined by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who asks Yelena if she will avenge Nat’s death. Yelena says yes. Valentina shows Yelena a photo of a man she says is responsible for Nat’s death. The camera, accompanied by an intriguing drop of music, reveals that the person depicted is Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). That’s when the scene abruptly ends.
What this credit scene means for the future of MCU
Technically, Valentina is not entirely wrong when she tells Yelena that Clint is responsible for Nat’s death. IN Playoffs, Clint and Natasha were tasked with retrieving Soul Stone to complete the Infinity Gauntlet and reverse Thano’s snap. The difficult part is that in order to attain Soul Stone, you must sacrifice a soul.
Both Clint and Nat fought to be the ones sacrificing themselves, but it was Nat who declared that she should be the one to die, mostly because Clint had a family to take care of – who eventually exchanged his life to Soul Stone. So for sure, in a very loose interpretation, Clint and his family are the reason Nat died. If he did not have a family, and if Nat had not been close to them, she might not have been so forced to throw herself off a cliff and save the world.
But from what we know about Valentina in Marvel’s comics, she’s a vicious player and brainwasher. Also in her recent appearance on Marvel’s Disney + TV series Falk and winter soldier – which marked her official introduction on screen to the MCU – she appeared to be planting seeds of doubt and subversive in her recruitment of Captain America II, John Walker.
Thus with Valentina not giving Yelena the full story in Black widow‘s credit scene, it looks like she’s creating a clash between Yelena and Clint.
The inevitable face between Yelena and Clint is unlikely to happen in one of Marvel’s upcoming films; the next few titles on the curriculum are The eternal, Shang Chi, Thor: Love and thunderand Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, none of which prominently contains Clint or Yelena. Enter Hawkeye, the upcoming TV series on Disney +, which does not yet have a specific release date, but which is expected to premiere later in 2021.
Few details are known about Hawkeye, except that Renner will reproduce his role as title character, and Hailee Steinfeld will play Kate Bishop, a young actress who takes over the title Hawkeye in Marvel’s comics.
Should Yelena show up Hawkeye and asshole with Clint and Kate, there may eventually be a time when she learns the full extent of Clint and Nat’s deep friendship. If Yelena realizes that Nat loved Clint and his family so much and that she wanted to do everything she could to help her team, she would have the complete story rather than the half truth Valentina told her.
Such a revelation would be an opportunity to create Yelena as part of what the next version of Avengers looks like – and open the door to her (and Pugh’s) future at MCU.
There is also a potential parallel between the Nat / Yelena and Clint / Kate duos, as it looks like Marvel intends to pass on the titles Black Widow and Hawkeye to new people. IN Black widow, Nat and Yelena acknowledge that they are sisters even though they are not related to blood. Clint and Kate have a kind of an older-brother-younger-sister dynamic in the comics, and it’s likely that the same dynamic is transferred to Hawkeye. There will be a lot of smooth symmetry to future MCU stories if Pugh and Steinfeld eventually become the next iterations of Black Widow and Hawkeye and stay true to the characters’ stories and continue their legacy.