Black Widow has been a key character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a long time now, and this spring she will finally get her very own solo movie. Set just after the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, the film is expected to deliver key insights about the hero that we never knew before; however, in cases like these, it’s always best to go back and remember what has been revealed so far.
In aid of that effort, we have done all of the hard work for you, as we’ve taken a look back at the last decade of Black Widow on the big screen, and detailed all of her past exploits below.
Iron Man 2
It is in IRON MAN 2 that we meet Natasha Romanoff for the first time… though that isn’t the name given when she is actually introduced. Operating on orders from S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury to keep a close eye on Iron Man, she gets a job as Tony Stark’s personal assistant under the name Natalie Rushman. Of course, it’s a ruse that ultimately doesn’t last all that long, and the titular hero gets a first-hand lesson in how deceitful Black Widow can be. By the end of the film, she becomes a key asset in stopping Ivan Vanko’s terrorist attack bu helping James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine regain control of his suit during the final battle.
After starting THE AVENGERS on a mission in Russia, gaining information about an arms dealing operation, Black Widow becomes a key component in bringing the eponymous team together. She is the one who is able to bring Bruce Banner aka Hulk on board, and also figures out that the Green Monster is Loki’s primary target after letting himself be captured — though things get a bit dicey when Hulk winds up losing control and nearly killing her. She is the one who is able to get Clint Barton aka Hawkeye back on Team Human, successfully curing him of Loki’s mind control, and she is also the one who is able to successfully close the alien portal above New York by using the God of Mischief’s staff.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Following their adventure together as Avengers during the Battle of New York, Black Widow and Captain America begin working side by side as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents — though they don’t exactly create the strongest partnership given her duplicitousness and his black-and-white morality. Still, they are able to count on one another when things get serious, and things definitely get serious in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER as it’s discovered that the evil organization Hydra has infiltrated and taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. By the end of the film, Natasha is a key player in neutralizing senior official Alexander Pierce, and she lets all of the secrets of her past become part of the public record.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON begins not only with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes successfully dismantling Hydra’s operations, but also with Black Widow and Hulk pursuing a romance. This serves to raise certain emotional stakes during the adventure, which sees the Avengers doing battle with the out-of-control artificial intelligence known as Ultron. It’s a tricky fight, particularly because Ultron has gained allies in Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, the former able to use her mental manipulation skills to mess with the minds of the heroes. Natasha specifically has flashbacks to her horrific adolescence being raised to become a Russian spy in the Black Widow program. At one point, Natasha is kidnapped, but the Avengers successfully lead a rescue mission that also results in Ultron’s defeat… though Hulk winds up abandoning the team, believing that he is too dangerous to exist on Earth.
Captain America: Civil War
In CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Black Widow finds herself facing a serious moral quandary in the form of the Sokovia Accords, an international treaty that serves as an agreement between the most powerful nations in the world to take firmer control over the actions of the Avengers. Having personally seen much of the collateral damage caused by her team, Black Widow initially agrees to the terms of the Accords (making her "Team Iron Man"), but she winds up having a major change of heart motivated by her trust in the actions of Captain America, who she lets escape during a crucial moment in battle. It’s a choice that winds up having serious consequences, as Black Widow is made an international fugitive on the run.
Avengers: Infinity War
The events of the BLACK WIDOW solo movie will tell us what happened to the hero immediately following the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, but when we catch up with her in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, she has been working alongside Captain America and Falcon, together saving Scarlet Witch and Vision from an attack by Thanos’ Black Order. While Iron Man, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange go for a trip in outer space, Black Widow and the rest of the Earth-based heroes first meet up at the Avengers' compound in New York, and then make their way to Wakanda. It’s there that the team makes their stand against Thanos’ invading army, working to protect Vision and the Mind Stone he possesses… but it’s a mission that winds up being a failure. Thanos collects all of the Infinity Stones and snaps away half of all life in existence, and all Black Widow can do is stand and watch her friends fade away into dust.
After being part of a mission to kill Thanos and learning that the Infinity Stones have all been destroyed, Black Widow is forced to adjust to life in a post-snap world, and does so by becoming the team leader of the remaining and operating Avengers. Five years after what is later dubbed "the Blip," Natasha works out of the Avengers' compound in New York, coordinating with heroes like Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, Okoye and Rocket, working to keep order around the universe. Then, everything changes when Scott Lang aka Ant-Man makes his surprising return from the Quantum Realm. Learning that time travel is possible, a "Time Heist" is coordinated that sees the heroes traveling into the past to try and collect the Infinity Stones that could save billions of lives. Unfortunately, Black Widow’s journey ends before the final act of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, as she sacrifices herself on the planet Vormir so that Hawkeye can take the Soul Stone back to Earth.
That’s everything we’ve seen from Black Widow on the big screen thus far… but there’s so much more to come!