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What’s next after Black Widow?

7 mins read

This article contains spoilers for “Black Widow.”

With the long-awaited release of Marvel’s latest film, “Black Widow,” it seems Phase Four of the MCU(Marvel Cinematic Universe) has officially kicked off. And it’s now time for the most fun part after an MCU movie: theories and speculation! That’s right, even though the character of Natasha Romanoff has passed on, “Black Widow” opens a lot of doors that can be expanded on. There’s now an entire Black Widow universe to explore, and it looks fantastic. 

After the events of “Black Widow,” we have so much to explore. For example, several Black Widows are now freed from mind control, but there are many afflicted from the indoctrination of the red room still around the globe. 

Photo courtesy of Marvel

The enigma of the narrative standing out in the film as the drastic reveal of Taskmaster being revealed to be Dreykov’s daughter, who is also free from his control, which could be an essential plot point down the line. It’s also refreshing to know Red Guardian and Melina have just scratched the surface of their abilities, and what’s a place that expands on and fleshes out MCU characters? Why Disney+, of course.

The Black Widow universe is screaming out for a Disney+ series. Just imagine: a series where Melina, Taskmaster, Red Guardian, and the freed Black Widows search the globe for other Red Room operatives. Maybe Bucky could even make a cameo. Or the series could be more focused on Taskmaster/Antonia Dreykov finding her way now that she has freedom of choice. Another possibility could be a series about the Thunderbolts, more on that later. And while “Black Widow” portrays Melina as a seasoned agent from the Red Room instead of the supervillain, Iron Maiden, maybe she’ll end up building herself a suit of armor after all.

Now, let’s talk about that end credits scene. In the end credits scene for “Black Widow,” Yelena visits Nat’s grave after clearly taking care of it for a while. Although this starts as a melancholic scene, Val pops in on Yelena’s “vacation time” to give her a new mission, also implying that Val has already recruited Yelena, which is not their first meeting.

Photo courtesy of Marvel

Val first appeared in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus wonderfully portrays her. Val has already recruited Wyatt Russell’s U.S. Agent to her team, and it seems she has Yelena on the docket as well. Because she gives Yelena a new mission, to hunt down “the man who had a hand in her sister’s death,” Clint Barton. 

The Hawkeye name drop did act as a breadcrumb trail, which cemented the confirmation that Yelena will appear in the upcoming “Hawkeye” Disney+ show. At this moment, it seems that Yelena will be going head-to-head against Clint and maybe even Kate Bishop.

Hailee Steinfeld suits up as Kate Bishop, photo courtesy of Marvel

But the looming thought at hand is what team Val is building because “The Falcon and Winter Soldier” revealed Val’s full name to be La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. In the comics, the character has ties to HYDRA. 

However, from what we’ve seen, it doesn’t appear that the MCU is going in that direction because Val, so far, has recruited redeemable, anti-hero characters in U.S. Agent and Yelena. So I think it’s the Thunderbolts.

The Thunderbolts are usually a group of reformed villains, and both Black Widow and even the Winter Soldier have been on the Thunderbolts team. See where that cameo from Bucky comes in? Even Zemo has a history on the Thunderbolts, and that would be an excellent way to bring the beloved Daniel Brühl into the fold. 

Photo courtesy of Marvel

With the U.S. Agent John Walker being introduced and left unhinged from the emotional trauma of being Captain America for a short duration. To Yelena Belova, who is now taking the mantle of Black Widow from the dearly departed Natasha Romanoff and the impact that actress Florence Pugh had on the solo film. It’s clear to see the young actress is here for the long term going forward.

In addition to the crop of new talent in the MCU, we know Zemo is still alive and currently in a Wakandan prison; however, a breakout could be on the horizon. Another candidate could be Bucky, even though now that he’s free from the HYDRA brainwashing that plagued him throughout his arc in the films. It feels like his story is far from over. This team has the makings for a Disney+ series that could easily crossover into the movies.

Photo courtesy of Marvel

Of course, the biggest question remaining, will Yelena get her own movie? After waiting over a decade for Natasha Romanoff to be the star of her own film, some fans still feel that Natasha should have gotten an entire trilogy. Even fans who enjoyed “Black Widow.” Disney cannot make the same mistake with Yelena, but it looks like the docket for Phase Four is already complete. Yet, with Yelena most likely appearing in the Hawkeye Disney+ show, fans don’t have to wait long to see her character again. So, for now, it looks like a solo movie for Yelena is up in the air.

Destiny Ricks

Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, Destiny Ricks doesn’t describe herself as the typical Southern Belle. Growing up, Ricks often lost herself in the various fascinating worlds she found in literature and comic books, particularly with Batman. Her mother, an educator, instilled a love of reading and writing in her and once her brother gifted her a camera, the rest, as they say, is history. On her YouTube channel, Ricks discusses and analyzes films and often geeks out about the latest comic book properties. Ricks is a nerd through and through and you can find her at her most chaotic on her Twitter.

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