When Does Black Widow Take Place in the MCU?


Black Widow is a recent solo superhero film revolving around Natasha Romanoff, the eponymous Black Widow, as she is forced to go on the run for a past betrayal and confront the dark past that she thought she’d buried. Black Widow is yet another addition to the MCU with a woman lead. Additionally, Black Widow was a commercial success and, according to CNEThad the third-largest opening for any MCU origin film, just behind Black Panther and Captain Marvel. It eventually gained the status as the fourth-highest grossing film of 2021 in the United States. Black Widow also received a number of awards, including the Golden Trailer Award for Best Fantasy Adventure.

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As exciting as it is to see Natasha Romanoff make a return after her death in Avengers: Endgamemany were initially confused as to when Black Widow actually took place within the MCU timeline. While it’s obvious that Black Widow is a prequel to the Avengers finale, it was initially unclear to many where exactly the film fit and how the MCU was going to tie it in with all the other films Natasha appeared in. Fortunately, the MCU is known for its ability to connect dots and tie one film to another, despite there seemingly being no direct connection. Here’s a definitive look at where Black Widow takes place within the large MCU timeline.

Related: Explained: Why Did It Take So Long For a Woman-Led MCU Movie to Happen?

Black Widow’s Origins & the Relation to Captain America: Civil War


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Marvel Studios

The opening sequence in Black Widow shows a flashback of a young Natasha Romanoff with her family, who are actually on a mission and receive technology from SHIELD The family of spies is forced to separate when their cover is blown, with Natasha and her sister Yelena (played by Florence Pugh) ending up receiving brutal training to become Black Widow assassins. After revealing Natasha’s harsh origin story, the film takes the audience straight to the aftermath of the airport battle that takes place during Captain America: Civil War. While Steve (Chris Evans) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) hope to escape from Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), we see Natasha betray Stark and hold off T’challa (Chadwick Boseman) so that Steve can make a clean getaway. The last that is seen of Black Widow in Civil War is when she is on the run after her betrayal, being warned that she will be hunted down.


Where Exactly Does Black Widow Fit in the MCU Timeline?


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Marvel Studios

Considering the fact that Black Widow was released after Avengers: Endgame (in which she died), it’s obvious that Black Widow could not possibly take place chronologically after the events of the last Avengers movie. As it recaps the events that take place in Captain America: Civil Warit shows the audience where exactly the film fits within the MCU. Black Widow follows Natasha on the run from Thaddeus Ross (played by the late William Hurt) after she betrayed Tony Stark and helped Steve escape. At the same time, Natasha is informed by Ross that they have captured Sam Wilson, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang who are all being taken to The Raft super-prison while she remains on the run and in hiding. With this information, we can safely say that the events that take place at the beginning of Black Widowin turn, take place at the same time as the ending events of Civil War. This firmly places Black Widow before Avengers: Infinity War.


Set-Up for Avengers: Infinity War


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Marvel Studios

Towards the end of the film, we see Natasha dye her hair blonde, as it is in Avengers: Infinity War, but this is not all. After effectively destroying the Red Room, Natasha arranges for her helpful friend Mason to acquire a jet for her to “break some friends out of prison.” The jet that she receives is the same jet that Steve, Natasha, and Sam use during Infinity War. This weaves Black Widow into the MCU almost seamlessly by adding elements from Civil War at the beginning as well as introducing important aspects that are seen in Infinity War at the end. Natasha’s plans for the jet also implies that she played a role in helping Steve in the prison break from The Raft (as seen at the end of Civil War). Black Widow may seem like an odd film to make, but the MCU managed to weave the film in with all the others, connecting every aspect of the film to something else so that the audience can figure out where the film belongs within the franchise.




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