Fans are so invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that even the smallest moments are dissected and analyzed, and if they’re not directly explained by the characters themselves, then it leads to years of online theorizing and speculation. In fact, one throwaway line of dialogue in particular between longtime allies Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff has been a dangling thread that audiences have wanted to see tied up since The Avengers in 2012.
During the final battle against the Chitauri, Black Widow remarks that it reminds her of Budapest, leading Hawkeye to exclaim that she remembers it very differently from him. That was all it took, and for the last eight years, fans have wanted to find out what happened to the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the Hungarian capital, especially when it was mentioned once again in Infinity War.
Jeremy Renner isn’t thought to be part of Black Widow‘s cast, though he’s been rumored for a cameo nonetheless, but in the official tie-in book for the movie, Scarlett Johansson confirms that we’ll finally get an explanation as to what really happened.
“We all agreed that we had to find out what happened in Budapest. That started out as this throwaway line which Joss Whedon threw into The Avengers as a funny moment between Hawkeye and Black Widow. That’s Clint and Natasha talking about their history, and you get a fun little Easter egg for fans to theorize about. We thought that if we don’t go back to Budapest and find out what really happened there, people will feel unsatisfied. I wondered what did happen there? We often talked about what is going on in Natasha’s head. I really think that Natasha is haunted by the fact that she has this past that she feels so guilty about. Unfinished business is that sense of guilt that follows her around, which all stems from what happened in Budapest. Black Widow is not about what happened in Budapest, but it’s a huge jumping-off point for us to understand the heaviness of Natasha’s burden.”
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The MCU isn’t shy when it comes to fan service, and finally paying off the big Budapest question in Johansson’s last appearance in the franchise makes it clear that Black Widow is looking to tie up as many loose ends as possible regarding the history of a character that’s been a key part of the series for over a decade but we still don’t know a great deal about. It sounds like Budapest will be important to deepening Natasha’s backstory, too, and not just an Easter Egg that fans will have waited nine years to see paid off.