Marvel's Black Widow solo movie will explore the gap of time when Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff went on the run from law enforcement after Captain America: Civil War, and when we caught up with her again (in a very changed state) in Avengers: Infinity War. Along the way of that journey, Black Widow will also open the door on Natasha Romanoff's past, and (hopefully) shed light on key moments that have been teased in previous films (see: the Budapest incident). However, the release of Marvel's Black Widow Prelude tie-in comic has now revealed that something we thought we understood about Widow's past, isn't at all what we thought.
Mild Spoilers for Black Widow Prelude follow!
The Black Widow Prelude comic also begins just after the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Natasha on the run, and General "Thunderbolt" Ross attempting to track her down along with the rest of the superheroes who joined Captain America's Secret Avengers squad. When another government agent comes for a briefing on Romanoff, which allows Ross to function as a walking exposition dump about her origin story.
"At some point, she attracted the attention of one General Dreyko," Ross says. "He oversaw something called The Red Room, which was managed for him by someone known only as Madame B... And Natasha was apparently their star pupil."
That quote above about how Natasha ended up in the Black Widow program known as the Red Room, under the guidance of General Dreykov, seems to raise new questions / issues with a key scene from the first Avengers movie, when Natasha has a verbal chess game with Tom Hiddleston's Loki. Attempting to get in Black Widow's head, Loki tries to flow a lot of the worst things from Natasha's past back her face - including a mention of something terrible Natasha did to Dreyko's daughter:
"...Can you wipe out that much red?" Loki asks. "Drakov's daughter? Sao Paulo? The Hospital Fire? Barton told me everything. Your ledger is dripping, it's gushing red..."
Many Marvel fans assumed that Loki's rant was following the central theme of terrible things Natasha had done in service of the Black Widow program, but the Black Widow Prelude comic re-contextualizes that story, entirely. It's now clear that whatever happened between Natasha, General Dreykov, and his daughter, it was part of Natasha's turbulent and no doubt violent exit from the Red Room Program.1comments
It will be intersting to see if General Dreykov and the past incident with his daughter has anything to do with the forces that come for Natasha when she returns to Russia in Black Widow. If so, the connection between that story and Avengers would be an awesome MCU retcon.
Other upcoming Marvel Studios movies include The Eternals on November 6th, WandaVision in Fall 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022.
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