(Pocket-lint) - Natasha Romanoff is back.
Black Widow's release date has been pushed back three times, but it is finally slated to hit theatres and Disney+ on 9 July 2021.
Scarlett Johansson will return as Natasha Romanoff. She's investigating her past in the time before Thano’s arrived on Earth, which means viewers will get to see her origins in the Soviet assassin/spy training program known as the Red Room. If you have no idea what we're talking about, perhaps get caught up on Black Widow by watching all the Marvel movies and shows that might be connected to her standalone film.
Here’s our list of everything you need to watch before Black Widow releases this summer. The list includes eight films and one show. Enjoy.
What to watch before Black Widow
NOTE: Go to the bottom for a bulleted version of this guide to skip any spoilers.
Iron Man 2 (2010 - movie)
Iron Man 2 sees the debut of Scarlett Johannson as Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow. Under the orders of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), she goes undercover as Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) new secretary in order to observe whether Iron Man would be a good fit for the Avengers. Of course, she gets dragged into helping to stop Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) with his own army of Iron Men drones.
The Avengers (2012 - movie)
The ultimate superhero team-up sees Natasha helping save New York with the Avengers. Like the other Avengers movies, the film spends quite a lot of time exploring Natalie’s character - with her helping Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) from turning into the Hulk while alos trying to save her closest friend, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). It includes one of her best scenes in all of the MCU, too: Her interrogation of Loki.
Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014 - movie)
Captain America: Winter Soldier sees Natasha trade in working with Iron Man for working with Captain America.
After Nick Fury is shot and presumed dead, Natasha and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) must go on the run from the organization they work for, Shield, in order to stop it from arming a defense system that will kill anyone it deems a threat. An important plot point from the end of this film sees Natasha leaking all of Shield’s secret files onto the web. While this exposes the organization's sinister plan, it also reveals to all the world the less savory parts of the Black Widow’s past, which might be an important part of the new solo film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015 - movie)
This movie sets up Captain America: Civil War by seeing Tony Stark fracture the Avengers when creates the demonic AI Ultron that's bent on destroying all of humanity in an effort to stop it from killing itself. The film features a ton of Black Widow, however.
Her plot in the film mostly revolves around a growing bond between herself and Bruce Banner. That plot pretty much ends, though, when the Hulk uses the Avengers jet to fly off into space for years at the conclusion of the film. The Black Widow solo film is supposed to be set while Hulk is off fighting as a gladiator on Sakaar, so we don’t figure all that should tie in too much to the new solo film.
Captain America: Civil War (2016 - movie)
Natasha serves as the hinge-point for the split amongst the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War.
Following Tony’s creation of a robot that almost wiped out humanity, the Sokovia Accords are introduced, with the idea that this will help give superheros oversight and better accountability (in Tony’s mind). Captain America views the Accords as another version of the Shield hierarchy that was infected with Hydra. Nat initially sides with Tony Stark, somewhat surprisingly, but in a critical moment, she switches sides and helps Steve Rogers escape to continue his own mission.
This film might be the most important one to rewatch because Black Widow is set between this film and the next entry on our list.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018 - movie)
Infinity War sees the Avengers finally face off with Thanos.
At the opening of the film, we see Natasha is with Captain America’s group of Avengers, who are in hiding for refusing to sign the Sokovia Accords. Since the timeframe between these last two films seems to overlap with Natasha being on the run alongside Steve Rogers, we could get one last glimpse of America’s ass with a Chris Evan’s cameo in Black Widow.
Avengers: Endgame (2019 - movie)
Endgame sees Natasha die so that her closest friend Clint Barton doesn’t have to sacrifice himself. While that’s what most people remember about Black Widow in Endgame, the film shows her character come full circle, too, as she’s now the leader of the Avengers trying to reestablish some type of order following Thano’s snap. We don’t fully know what happens to someone when they sacrifice themselves for the Soul Stone, but maybe we’ll find out in Black Widow.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (2021 - Disney+ series)
Natasha doesn’t appear in this series, but it wouldn’t shock us to see a common thread between this series and the upcoming film in the form of the super-soldier serum. The series isn’t finished yet, but early on, Bucky and Sam are investigating the appearance of individuals with super-strength. The serum that gave them strength may have some connections to the old Soviet Union.
We don’t know about you all, but the upcoming villain in Black Widow, Taskmaster, does seem pretty strong to us.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019 - movie)
The second Spider-Man film doesn’t feature Natasha, but the post-credit scene reveals that Nick Fury is actually in space, and the person we thought was Fury is the shape-shifting Skrull known as Talos. This has us hoping for more answers in the upcoming Black Widow film. It might not be likely, but depending on when Talos and Fury switched places, Black Widow might be the one character who would pick up on it.
Spoiler-free version: What to watch before Black Widow
This is the same guide as above, only bulleted in list form and free of spoilers:
- Iron Man 2 (2010 - movie)
- The Avengers (2012 - movie)
- Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014 - movie)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015 - movie)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016 - movie)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018 - movie)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019 - movie)
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (2021 - Disney+ series)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019 - movie)