If the overwhelmingly positive buzz on social media and promise of huge box office numbers are any indication, then Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are more than happy now that the wait for Black Widow is finally over. Of course, it comes tinged with sadness given that Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff is dead in the main timeline, but at least the actress got to bow out by finally getting that solo movie.
Black Widow is set directly after the events of Captain America: Civil War and prior to Avengers: Infinity War, with Natasha still a rogue member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the run from the government, headed up by William Hurt’s General Ross. While there are plenty of references to her time spent as part of the superhero group peppered throughout the film, it doesn’t really impact the narrative at all.
In a new interview, Kevin Feige outlined the reasons why Black Widow had to take place in the specific time frame that the story unfolds, and it’s all to do with the title heroine reconciling with her old family before taking the plunge to reunite with her new one.
When we were developing this movie, which we knew was still gonna come out after Endgame, we talked about a few possibilities and a few different ideas. It was always envisioned after the Infinity Saga. There’s a very specific moment in Civil War where Natasha has a conversation with Tony Stark and then leaves frame, and then a very specific in Infinity War where she returns in Edinburgh with Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers.
Because Black Widow takes place post-Civil War and pre-Infinity War, this film sort of fills in that gap in a way that doesn’t just fill in what she literally did during that time, but fills in this other aspect to her life that was very important in her formation and ideas about family, and why she was very skeptical about family and why the Avengers became something that filled the ideal family for her.”
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One of the few minor criticisms aimed at Black Widow is that it fills in the gaps in the backstory of a character that’s no longer going to factor into the modern day proceedings, making it somewhat creatively redundant as a result. However, Feige’s explanation paints things in a much different light, and reinforces just how important the events of the prequel are to illuminating Natasha’s eleven-year arc, not just the two blockbusters that came directly afterwards chronologically. As always, the Marvel Studios chief is looking at the bigger picture above all else.