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"Black Widow (2021)" breakdown: Easter eggs, Ending explained, "Thunderbolts" and Yelena Belova - Hawkeye theories

Natasha and Yelena in "Black Widow (2021)." (Image via Marvel Studios)
Natasha and Yelena in "Black Widow (2021)." (Image via Marvel Studios)

Warning: This article contains massive spoilers for "Black Widow (2021)."


"Black Widow" finally got her standalone film in the MCU over a decade after her debut in "Iron Man 2 (2010)." The Avenger's latest film was long-awaited by fans, especially after the pandemic caused it to be delayed for over a year from its original date in May 2020.

The movie gave us a much-needed backstory to the beloved character who saved the MCU universe with her sacrifice alongside Tony Stark (Iron Man).

"Black Widow (2021)" gave us a glimpse into Natasha Romanoff's past in the "Red Room" program, which trained and controlled more "Widows," like her.

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The movie rode the hype train with the introduction of Yelena Belova (Natasha's foster-sister) and one of the most popular Marvel villains, Taskmaster. "Black Widow (2021)" also made the revelation to the famed "Budapest" reference, first used in "The Avengers (2012)".


Here's a list of Easter eggs and theories from "Black Widow (2021)."

"Black Widow (2021)" character poster. (Image via: Marvel Studios)
"Black Widow (2021)" character poster. (Image via: Marvel Studios)

The movie had a plethora of easter eggs, callbacks and spawned off several theories about how the events of "Black Widow" will affect the present-day MCU.

North Institute:

North Institute refrence in Black Widow (Vol. 3) #4 comic. (Image via: Marvel Comics)
North Institute refrence in Black Widow (Vol. 3) #4 comic. (Image via: Marvel Comics)

In "Black Widow (2021)," it was established that the Shostakov family (including Natasha, Yelena, Melina, and Alexei) were embedded in the U.S.A. as undercover Soviet agents to steal a floppy disk from the North Institute.

In the comics, the North Institute has ties to the "Red Room" program, which targeted Natasha and other black widows. The organization was first seen in "Black Widow (Vol. 3) #1 (2004)" comics.


SHIELD:

Image via: Marvel Studios
Image via: Marvel Studios

The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) makes an early appearance in the "1995 opening scene." S.H.I.E.L.D. Vehicles were seen pursuing the plane that Natasha and her "family" were escaping in.


Crimson Dynamo:

Crimson Dynamo in the comics. (Image via: Marvel Comics)
Crimson Dynamo in the comics. (Image via: Marvel Comics)

In the movie, while confronting Alexei,Yelena says:

"The only thing you care about is your stupid glory days as the Crimson Dynamo, and no one wants to hear about it."

Alexei then clarifies to Yelena that his alias was "Red Guardian" and not "Crimson Dynamo."

In the comics, there have been several versions of the Crimson Dynamo. This character is the Soviet Iron Man equivalent with a similar suit (albeit a crude replica of the Iron Man armor).


Red Guardian - Winter Soldier Program?

Winter Soldier and Red Guardian. (Image via: Marvel Studios)
Winter Soldier and Red Guardian. (Image via: Marvel Studios)

Throughout the movie, Red Guardian shows his "super-soldier" strength. The movie's opening scene was set in 1995, and it also establishes that the "family" had been in Ohio for three years.

The timeline hints at the version of the "super-soldier" serum that Winter Soldier stole on December 16, 1991 (as shown in the Civil War), which could potentially be the version that Alexei's serum is based on.

Furthermore, the Winter Soldier program by Hydra is verbally referenced by Melina, as she points out the North Institute's association with it.


Moonraker :

Roger Moore in "Moonraker (1979)" skydiving scene. (Image via: Marvel Studios)
Roger Moore in "Moonraker (1979)" skydiving scene. (Image via: Marvel Studios)

While in-hiding for violating the "Sokovia Accords," Natasha is seen watching James Bond's "Moonraker (1979)." This is a foreshadowing of the third act's end. Both "Black Widow (2021)" and "Moonraker" have a similar ending based on freefall-based action.


Iron Maiden:

Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, and Iron Maiden. (Image via: Marvel)
Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, and Iron Maiden. (Image via: Marvel)

Melina Vostokoff (played by Rachel Weisz) is Iron Maiden in comics, she was a Russian assassin and mercenary. She was shoehorned into shadowing Natasha Romanoff and "developed a deep hatred for her."


Red Guardian - Fatherly Tattoos

David Harbour as Alexei Vostokoff, AKA Red Guardian. (Image via: Marvel Studios)
David Harbour as Alexei Vostokoff, AKA Red Guardian. (Image via: Marvel Studios)

In "Black Widow (2021)," Alexei's arm tattoos were visible in an "arm wrestling" scene while he was in "Seventh Circle Prison." The tattoos included two roses with the words "Наташа" and "Елена" accompanying them.

These two words are the names "Natasha" and "Yelena."

This showcases the "fatherly" love for his "daughters."


Black Widow - Infinity War outfit

Black Widow Outfit in Infinity War. (Image via: Marvel Studios)
Black Widow Outfit in Infinity War. (Image via: Marvel Studios)

In the movie, Natasha is seen wearing Melina's black "widow" costume. Furthermore, near the end, Yelena gives Natasha her vest "with many pockets."

It comprised Black Widow's "Infinity War outfit" in the 2018 Avengers film.


Rick Mason:

Rick Mason in Black Widow and in comics. (Image via: Marvel)
Rick Mason in Black Widow and in comics. (Image via: Marvel)

O. T. Fagbenle portrayed "Rick Mason," Natasha's supplier, in the movie. In the comics, Rick is a mercenary known as "The Agent." He is the son of Phineas Mason (A.K.A. Tinkerer).

However, this makes it weird as Phineas Mason already exists in the MCU, last seen in 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Thus, the theory of Rick being the son of Phineas is debunked as they are in a similar age range in the MCU.


Mutants!

Olivier Richters as Ursa in Black Widow. Ursa Major in comics. (Image via: Marvel)
Olivier Richters as Ursa in Black Widow. Ursa Major in comics. (Image via: Marvel)

Marvel Studios Head Kevin Feige did not make any official announcements about when we could see "X-Men" in the MCU. However, MCU shows have been making multiple references to "mutants" in recent shows like "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" and "WandaVision."

In the 24th MCU film, Alexei is seen arm-wrestling "Ursa." This is an apparent reference to "Ursa Majors" from primarily the "Hulk" comics.

Ursa was a Russian mutant who could turn into a bear.

Alexei is also seen referring to him as "the big bear" in the movie.


Dreykov's Daughter?

Image via: Disney+/Marvel
Image via: Disney+/Marvel

In "The Avengers (2012)," Loki is showcased taunting Natasha. The "god of mischief" says,

"Dreykov's daughter. Sao Paulo. The hospital fire. Barton told me everything. Your ledger is dripping. It's gushing red..."

This directly references General Dreykov's daughter Antonia's fate in Budapest, as established in the movie.


Avengers Quinjet:

The Quinjet in Infinity War. (Image via: Marvel Studios)
The Quinjet in Infinity War. (Image via: Marvel Studios)

The Scarlett Johansson starrer also showed a "Quinjet" at the end of the movie. This was sourced by Rick Mason for Natasha and could potentially be the same one used by Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon in "Avengers: Infinity War."


Thunderbolts and Madame Hydra

Yelena Belova, Helmut Zemo, and John Walker, most likely to be in MCU Thunderbolts. (Image via: Disney+/Marvel)
Yelena Belova, Helmut Zemo, and John Walker, most likely to be in MCU Thunderbolts. (Image via: Disney+/Marvel)

"Black Widow (2021)" was slated to be released in 2020, a year before the Disney+ series "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." The show introduced Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (or Val), who also shows up in the post-credit scene of "Black Widow (2021)."

She is seen handing out an "assignment" to Yelena for killing Clint Barton (A.K.A. Hawkeye). This could be hinting at Yelena showing up in the upcoming Disney+ "Hawkeye" series.

The movie also suggests that Yelena (played by Florence Pugh) already knows Valentina, making it plausible that Yelena is already a part of "Thunderbolts."

In the comics, Valentina is expected to assemble a team of supervillains, anti-heroes and heroes, known collectively as "The Thunderbolts."

Image via: Disney+/Marvel
Image via: Disney+/Marvel

In "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," Valentina was seen recruiting John Walker (U.S. Agent).

Valentina (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is expected to be "Madame Hydra" from the comics.


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Though "Black Widow" was set after "Civil War" but before the "Raft prison-breakout" of Civil War, the movie gives a surplus of Easter eggs.

Furthermore, it spawns several theories about Yelena Belova's future in the MCU and hints at "Thunderbolts," too.

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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