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Fan Theories About How 'Black Widow' Fits Into The MCU

List RulesVote up the theories that you think predict the movie's impact on the MCU.

Following the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 and the departure of Thanos as the franchise’s big bad, the future for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is as murky as it's ever been. While several films have been announced for Phase 4 of the MCU, little is known about the overall shape that the next arc will take; but one thing is perfectly clear - it’s going to start with 2020’s Black Widow.

Natasha Romanoff’s posthumous solo debut marks the dawn of a new era in the MCU post-Endgame, and that’s got fans scouring every second of every trailer for clues about the film’s potential plot - and what it all could mean for the franchise as a whole. The Black Widow may be gone, but her influence on the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be felt for years to come. 

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    ‘Black Widow’ Will Give Greater Context To Natasha’s ‘Endgame’ Sacrifice

    2020’s Black Widow will undoubtedly have an impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward, but Kevin Feige has also insinuated that it will retroactively affect previous films in the franchise in some way. A likely way it will accomplish that is by giving greater context to Natasha Romanoff’s sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame, as Redditor /u/Wico90 and others have theorized.

    According to their thoughts, learning about Romanoff’s previously unknown “family” will give greater context to the choices she made in Endgame, and at the very least, make it clear that she had more of a personal stake in returning the snapped than she let on. Perhaps Black Widow will conclude with Yelena Belova being dusted, furthering Natasha’s determination to thwart Thanos.

    This could also set a precedent of future Marvel films adding to the continuity of past ones.

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    ‘Black Widow’ Will Set Up The ‘Dark Avengers’ As The Next Phase Of The MCU

    There have long been whispers that the next era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will resemble Dark Reign from Marvel Comics - in which Norman Osborn and his team of Dark Avengers briefly held sway over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. According to a theory by Redditor /u/theincredibleshaq, that arc could be set up as early as 2020’s Black Widow.

    The film is known to feature at least three characters that have been associated with either the Dark Avengers or the similar Thunderbolts - a group of questionably reformed villains playing hero. This list includes Yelena Belova, General Thunderbolt Ross, and Taskmaster, any of whom could move on to bigger and better things following this movie.

    The theorist even goes as far as to predict that the Dark Avengers will closely mirror the original six Avengers, with Yelena Belova covering for Natasha Romanoff and Taskmaster filling in for Clint Barton.

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    Thunderbolt Ross Will Become The Red Hulk

    One of the oldest characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross appears in the trailer for 2020’s Black Widow, but several fans noticed something peculiar about him - he doesn’t look all that old. In fact, Ross appears younger in the trailer than he has in any of his recent MCU appearances, which has led some to speculate that his scenes are set even further in the past than the main plot of the film. Redditor /u/Rhishab, however, has another idea.

    In the pages of Marvel Comics, Thunderbolt Ross eventually becomes the Red Hulk after becoming so desperate to finally defeat Bruce Banner that he starts to experiment on himself. As the theory points out, Ross might not actually be any younger in the Black Widow trailer - he might just be “juicing” on another knockoff form of the Super Soldier Serum. As /u/Rhishab explains:

    It's basically like the time Emil Blonsky was using small doses of the [Super Soldier Serum]. Maybe he made the new batch of the same serum with altered effects. He's got access and motive.

    Ross’s days as the Red Hulk could theoretically start and end within the plot of the film, explaining why he’s back to being a regular old man by the time Endgame rolls around - though he could always revisit the concept in the future.

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    The Graduates Of The Red Room Will Be Revealed As Knockoff Super Soldiers

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Black Widow has always been an ostensibly non-powered character, despite all appearances to the contrary. Given that Alexei Shostakov is being presented as a sort of knockoff Captain America, it could be that he and other Soviet heroes - including Natasha Romanoff - are revealed to be using some variation of the Super Soldier Serum, as theorized by Tea-ory on Youtube.

    Such a revelation would go a long way toward explaining Black Widow’s near-superhuman agility and durability, and it’s not like it would be out of character for her to be keeping such a big secret - it’s kind of her thing. It would also leave the MCU with a few extra super-strong heroes to play around with in Phase 4 and beyond. 

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