What the ‘Black Widow’ post-credits scene hints about the future of the MCU
Warning: This article discusses the plot and final scenes of Marvel’s “Black Widow.”
“Black Widow” takes place between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the film’s post-credits scene brings us back to present day with a heart-wrenching visit to Natasha Romanoff’s grave.
Natasha’s “sister” Yelena (accompanied by her dog Fanny) barely has a moment to grieve before she’s joined by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who — due to the pandemic’s reshuffling of Marvel’s release schedule — previously made her debut in the penultimate episode of the Disney+ series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
The Contessa is a Nick Fury-esque figure shrouded in mystery who appears to be collecting skilled fighters with ties to former Avengers, including former Captain America, U.S. Agent John Walker (Wyatt Russell) on the Disney+ series.
The character’s comic appearances date back to the 1960s when she was first introduced in Marvel Comics’ “Strange Tales” No. 159. A spy skilled in combat, the Contessa was a top S.H.I.E.L.D. operative with some (romantic) history with Fury. Over the years, her storylines have seen her leading an all-female S.H.I.E.L.D. team and being replaced by shape-shifting Skrulls. Eventually she was revealed to be a double agent working for the villainous organization HYDRA and even assumes the mantle of Madame Hydra.
Not quite an origin story, Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ is a solo venture for the character more than 10 years in the making. Director Cate Shortland and stars Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh on why this movie couldn’t exist earlier than now.
Yelena reminds the Contessa that she is on vacation and tells her she needs a raise, implying that unlike Walker, the two are previously acquainted. “You and me both,” De Fontaine replies before offering Yelena a chance to seek retribution on “the man responsible” for her sister’s death. She shows her a photo of Clint Barton and informs her that he is her next target.
With the new post-"Endgame” phase of the Marvel Universe now in full effect, De Fontaine’s appearance seems to presage a team of antiheroes, perhaps an Avengers-offshoot, much like Fury’s initial introduction in the post-credits scene of “Iron Man” (2008).
It’s also a perfect segue into the upcoming “Hawkeye” Disney+ series, which will also introduce the character Kate Bishop, a wealthy teenager who learns archery after she is brutally attacked. Florence Pugh is confirmed to reprise her role as Yelena for the series.
The as-yet undated show is expected to arrive on Disney+ later this year with Jeremy Renner reprising his role as the titular archer. The series is the first stand-alone venture for Barton, the only one of the original Avengers who has not yet had a solo outing, and may see Renner pass on the title to Bishop.
Times digital editor Tracy Brown contributed to this report.
The complete guide to home viewing
Get Screen Gab for weekly recommendations, analysis, interviews and irreverent discussion of the TV and streaming movies everyone’s talking about.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.