"Black Widow" was Marvel Studios' return to the big screen in two years and usher in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's movies.
Set directly after "Captain America: Civil War" and before "Avengers: Infinity War," according to The Holywood Reporter, this final tribute to the epic hero who sacrificed herself in "Avengers: Endgame" shapes up to be a perfect jumping-off point for what is to come in the new phase.
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) confronts her shadowy past and reunites with people from her old life.
The movie was released on July 9 in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access, and fans cannot get enough of Nat's sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and the rest of her mismatched spy family from her youth.
'Black Widow' End Credits Explained
Before we dive into the post-credits scene that takes place at a more recent point in the MCU timeline, be warned that there will be spoilers.
Yelena takes her dog Fanny to visit Nat's grave. This would mean the end credits scene must take place after "Avengers: Endgame." The grave is presumably in Ohio where the sisters grew up, under a cherry blossom tree just like the one Natasha's biological mother was buried beside, Cnet said.
The headstone reads: "Daughter, Sister, Avenger."
Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who fans may know from the last two episodes of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," breaks the quiet moment with a blow of her nose saying she's allergic to the Midwest.
It appears that Yelena started working for Val some time after "Black Widow" or "Avengers: Endgame." Val has Yelena's next target: Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. "Maybe you'd like a shot at the man responsible for your sister's death," Val tells Yelena and shows her Clint's photo. "Kind of a cutie, don't you think?"
Val's presence in the MCU is still a big mystery as we don't really know yet how she fits in the big picture.
The "Hawkeye" series already has one of its villains known to the public, so we don't quite know what Val's reasoning for targeting Clint just yet. The series is scheduled to debut in Disney Plus later in the year.
Easter Eggs and Hints at a "Black Widow 2"?
"Black Widow" will not be an MCU movie if it didn't have easter eggs referencing past and possibly future MCU projects, as well as some respectful nods to the comic books that inspired the film.
At the beginning of the film, Nat and her "family" is on the run from SHIELD because Alexei (David Harbour) was working undercover at the North Institute.
This was a nod to the comics. In the comic books, the North Institute targeted Nat and other Red Room subjects. In the movie, however, it's a SHIELD facility Dreykox sent Nat and Yelena's father figure to steal their tech, Digital Spy explained.
'Thunderbolt' Ross, Taskmaster, and Nat's 'Family'
"Thunderbolt" Ross may be familiar to fans as the agent hot on Nat's heels after she defied the Sokovia Accords in "Captain America: Civil War" so Cap and Bucky can escape. This time around, it looks like Nat and Ross end on good terms. Perhaps she offered him Red Room information in exchange for her freedom?
The Taskmaster in the movie bears little resemblance to the comics, but the twist is fresh and Antonia, Dreykov's daughter, is a subtle nod to the comic book Taskmaster Anthony "Tony" masters.
Natasha's family are all nods to the comic book, but only by name. The MCU took the liberty to give them a different origin story. Yelena, in the comics, was from the Red Room that started off as Nat's enemy. Melina was a former agent of the Russian government known as the Iron Maiden and hated Nat, and Alexei in the comics was a celebrated pilot that the KGB trained to be the Red Guardian, Digital Spy said.
A few weeks after Nat and her family went out and saved the day, Nat is now sporting her short, blonde "Avengers: Infinity War" hair and tells Mason she's going to use the new getaway plane to "break a few of them out of prison."
"Them" being the Avengers left in the Raft after "Civil War." So it looks like Cap had a bit of help from Nat to get to the Raft.
Long-time fans finally get to know what actually happened in Budapest. The long-running inside "joke" between Clint and Nat turns out to be the mission to kill Dreykov as the last step of her defection to SHIELD. She willingly sacrificed the life of Dreykov's daughter, which Loki taunted her about in "The Avengers."
When Yelena meets Nat in Budapest, she shows off her new green vest, the first thing she has ever bought for herself.
Fans with sharp memory remember Nat wearing the same jacket in "Avengers: Infinity War." Yelena gifts Nat the jacket at the end of the movie which means she was wearing the vest in "Infinity War" to remind her of her sister.
"Thank You for Your Cooperation"
Fans would remember this exact line being thrown to Loki after Nat tricks him to confess his plan in "The Avengers."
Nat does a similar trick to Dreykov as she riled him up to get all the information she needs about the Widows program and how to access it. A sly nod by the MCU but one that just makes Natasha all the more an amazing super spy.
Although the movie is MCU's final goodbye to Natasha Romanoff, this may not be the last fans will see of Yelena. She might be making an appearance in "Hawkeye" as the end credits suggest.
Director Cate Shortland is also expressing interest in a "Black Widow" sequel where Yelena will take up the mantle of Black Widow, The Hollywood Reporter said. Yelena could also be taking up a new identity altogether, given her newfound freedom.
Though this was the final tribute to Johansson's Black Widow, it looks like the MCU has more up their sleeves for her family.