After 13 years, if there’s one thing we know about Marvel movies is that it’s a continuum. Where one ends, another will follow.
And Black Widow follows the Marvel tradition of the end-credits scene, so, even if you’re busting to go to the bathroom, stick around – it’ll be worth it.
Is there a Black Widow end-credits scene?
Yes, duh, though technically it’s a mid-credits scene.
Every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie has had either mid-credits or end-credits scenes, sometimes both, except for Avengers: Endgame because it really was the end of an era, and it didn’t need to set anything else up. Rather, we had to sit with our thoughts – scary.
OK, I went to the toilet and missed it, what happened in the Black Widow mid-credits scene?
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Somewhere in Ohio, among a serene, tree-lined spot, the camera pans down to find Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova standing at the gravesite of Natasha Romanoff.
The gravestone has Natasha’s name on it, along with tributes like flowers and gifts, but maybe her body’s not there? We didn’t see Clint bring it back so presumably it’s either still on Vormir where Nat sacrificed herself in exchange for the Soul Stone or it’s just disappeared into the universe.
Anyway! Yelena is looking sad, and since Nat is dead, we know the story has jumped from the pre-Infinity War times to the post-Endgame times.
A woman sidles up to her – it’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus!
Yelena calls her Valentina and reminds JDL that she was told she had this time to herself so why is JDL here?
JDL brings out an iPad and asks Yelena if she wants to find the person responsible for her sister’s death. Cut to, an image of Clint. Dun dun dun.
Hold up, who is Julia Louis-Dreyfus meant to be in the MCU?
JDL plays a character called Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. She’s a recruiter of super-powered people, such as Wyatt Russell’s John Walker. Clearly, she has already recruited Yelena at some point.
To what end? We’re not sure yet. She could be a black hat, she could be a white hat but more likely she’s wearing a grey hat, operating in that morally ambiguous zone that spies sometimes do.
In the comics, the character worked alongside Nick Fury, but she’s also been a double agent.
Considering Yelena is not a bad person, it’s hard to imagine that she would knowingly work for a nefarious side. And by the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, John Walker is halfway to redemption too.
Because Black Widow was originally supposed to be released in April 2020, a year before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Valentina was to have made her debut in Black Widow.
But, even Marvel’s best laid plans can’t withstand a pandemic. Still, the sequencing works.
But why does Yelena want to hurt Clint and what it have to do with the Hawkeye Disney+ show?
Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Natasha have a long history, all the way back to the Budapest operation which was often reference and which we now know was the moment Nat defected to SHIELD.
Nat and Clint were both on Vormir when they went to retrieve the Soul Stone during Endgame. And in order to acquire the Soul Stone, it required an exchange.
Even though they both tried to throw themselves over the cliff, making the ultimate sacrifice, Nat got there first and saved her friend and the world.
Yelena likely doesn’t know the details. As far as she’s concerned, Nat died while Clint lived. Out of grief, she might hold him responsible for her death.
It’s setting up quite the showdown on the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+.
Reports came out late last year that Pugh had joined the cast of Hawkeye, which will star Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld.
Steinfeld is slated to play Kate Bishop, who in the comics takes over from Clint as the new Hawkeye. It’s very much looking like the MCU is setting up a new generation of superheroes.
Black Widow is in cinemas now and on Disney+ Premier Access ($34.99) from Friday, July 9
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Originally published as Marvel hints at future in crucial scene