Earlier this year, Marvel fans were understandably disappointed when Disney had to push back the release date of the highly anticipated Black Widow. However, if there is one silver lining to the delay, it’s that we now have more time to go back and re-familiarize ourselves with the character’s backstory. Ideally, that would mean rewatching all eight Marvel films in which the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has appeared. But we’ve all got a lot on our plate these days, what with the Animal Crossing, and the Tik Toks, and the sourdough bread-baking. So if we only have time to watch one MCU film before seeing Black Widow in November, it should definitely be Captain America: Civil War. Here's why...
WARNING: major MCU spoilers ahead!
In 2018, when word first leaked that Marvel was making a movie about Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow, Marvel fans were pumped. But then everyone was thrown for a major loop when Romanoff died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, sacrificing herself to save her buddy Hawkeye and acquire the soul stone. After all, how could there be a Black Widow movie in the works if the main character is dead?
Of course, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, very few things are ever set in stone. In Avengers: Infinity War, half the universe was wiped out by The Snap. Then, in Avengers: Endgame, the good guys fiddled with space-time and brought them all back. So when Natasha Romanoff traveled back to 2014 and jumped off that cliff on Vormir, it was perfectly reasonable to wonder whether she was really gone for good.
However, one thing we now know for sure is that if Natasha Romanoff does somehow come back from the dead—and there are a lot of interesting theories about that—it won’t be explained in Black Widow. That's because last July, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige officially announced that Black Widow is a prequel that takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. And this past April, Feige provided a few more details about what fans can expect to learn about Natasha Romanoff's backstory.
“She has such a rich backstory,” Feige told Total Film. “We’ve hinted at it throughout all the other films. But [in Black Widow] we approach it in a completely unexpected way. She’s been up to a lot all along—in between when we see her in the other movies—some of which will be surprising to people.”
What exactly was the Black Widow up to? The trailers hint that a great deal of her non-Avengers-related activities involved taking down the notorious Red Room project that turned her into a deadly Russian spy. So you can bet the film will have plenty of flashbacks.
But since Black Widow officially starts right after the events of Captain America: Civil War, you’ll probably want to go back and rewatch that one again so you have the most relevant backstory leading up to the new film.
Black Widow was originally scheduled to hit theaters on May 1, but is now scheduled for release on November 6, 2020. It's the only MCU film slated for release this year, and it stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, and a digitally un-aged William Hurt as Gen. Thaddeus Ross.