With Disney estimating that the first feature length installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four has already earned in excess of $200 million through box office receipts and Premier Access sales, it’s safe to assume that a whole lot of people have seen Black Widow by now.
While the movie’s status as a prequel to Avengers: Infinity War makes it a relatively self-contained story, Cate Shortland’s blockbuster did deliver the sort of additional world-building and teases of what’s to come in the future that the franchise has become famous for over the last thirteen years.
Several key characters and plot points from Black Widow will either be returning to the fray or getting paid off, some in the very near future, but the narrative’s major MacGuffin may have introduced a supremely powerful weapon into the MCU, one that could realistically factor into the movies and Disney Plus exclusives repeatedly now it’s out there in the open.
Much of Black Widow revolves around a mysterious mind control compound developed by Hydra when they infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., which then found its way into the hands of Ray Winstone’s Red Room chief Dreykov. The villain kept access to the chemical under lock and key, but used it to oversee his army of elite assassins and make sure that they couldn’t physically harm him should they break free from the effects.
Of course, mind control can be a lazy storytelling device if mishandled, as Jeremy Renner would attest after voicing his dissatisfaction at Hawkeye’s arc in The Avengers, but as a way to continue adding elements of the Black Widow mythology into the larger MCU it has any number of applications. At worst, fans should at least start campaigning for Melina Vostokoff’s mind-controlled pigs to get their own hard-boiled revenge thriller spinoff.