Now that Avengers: Endgame has officially arrived in theaters, fans are analyzing the wide-ranging impacts that the film has on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And for one of the franchise's founding Avengers, that means a pretty interesting reveal.
Obviously, spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below! Only look if you want to know!
The film sees the remaining Avengers doing "whatever it takes" to reverse the effects of Thanos snapping half the universe to dust. As the team eventually learns, the best chance they have at doing so involves plucking the Infinity Stones out of different points in time, and then returning them after the Snap was undone.
For Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), this meant a trip to retrieve the Soul Stone from Vormir, a task that quickly ended up being more complicated than they'd thought. When they arrived, they were greeted by Red Skull (Ross Marquand) serving as Stonekeeper, as he proceeded to say the same spiel he did to Thanos and Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War. The bit began with Stonekeeper reciting their names and heritages, and saying that Natasha was the "daughter of Ivan".
After learning that one of them would have to sacrifice the other to leave with the Stone, Clint began to question whether or not those rules were legit. He suggested that anyone could find out Natasha's father's name, to which Natasha replied that even she hadn't known it before.
This opens up a pretty massive can of worms, especially considering the relationship that Natasha and "Ivan" have in the comics. In most versions of her origin, Natasha is rescued as a baby by Ivan Petrovich, who quickly becomes her father figure. He eventually enlists her in the "Black Widow" program, and continues to be her ally and chauffeur even as she travels the world as a superspy and superhero.
The Black Widow: Deadly Origin miniseries complicated things even more, as it revealed that Ivan had unrequited romantic feelings for Natasha. This led Ivan to go insane, and transform himself into a deadly cyborg monster. Eventually, Natasha had to kill him in order to stop him from destroying the world in a nuclear blast.
With all of that in mind, the notion that Natasha is dubbed "daughter of Ivan" isn't that surprising (especially since the Soul Stone appears to recognize non-biological parents, as evident by Gamora being called "daughter of Thanos"). But what's really interesting is the fact that Natasha didn't actually know Ivan's name, and what that could actually say about the MCU version of their relationship in the process.
There's a chance that the MCU could put a twist on Natasha's family tree, and have Ivan either serve as her real father that she never knew, or as a surrogate father who just went by an alias. Or, there's a chance that Natasha and Ivan's storyline played out essentially as it does in the comics, but was erased or repressed from her memory due to the brainwashing she suffered as a Black Widow. While there's no telling exactly what the answer is, the upcoming Black Widow solo movie thankfully provides an avenue to further explore it.
What do you think about this revelation around Black Widow's backstory? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame are in theaters now. Spider-Man: Far From Home will land in theaters on July 2nd.