Black Widow Finally Reveals What Happened On The Budapest Mission

Natasha and Clint have frequently joked about a mission in Budapest, so what really happened?


The MCU is no stranger to in-universe memes. After over a decade of interconnected movies, the characters are able to wink at each other with shared knowledge just as much as they're able to wink at the audience. Of these little gags and references shared between Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye's mysterious Budapest trip is one that's lingered around, if only because it was never actually clarified what actually happened or why that particular trip became so memorable.

That is, until now. 9 years after that first Budapest shout-out in The Avengers, Black Widow has finally elaborated exactly what the Budapest mission was, what happened, and why it stuck out so much for both Natasha and Clint Barton.

Spoilers for Black Widow from this point out, so consider yourself warned.

It turns out that the Budapest situation wasn't just a random fun-filled mission that Clint and Natasha participated in--it was the last step in Natasha's defection to SHIELD, and it involved Natasha assassinating (or attempting to assassinate) the head honcho of the Red Room, General Dreykov.

The fact that Natasha defected from the Red Room isn't new information--this has been a central part of her character from the start, but how the process actually happened has been left vague. In fact, most details about the Red Room at large have been kept undefined until now. We had some flashbacks and references to processes like the forced sterilization that Red Room agents were forced to undergo and the ballet lessons that were given, but that's about it.

Even given the lack of concrete context for the MCU's Red Room, it probably comes as no surprise that going rogue from a top secret spy organization wasn't an easy process. Natasha was partnered with Clint Barton and sent after Dreykov as a final demonstration of loyalty, a mission that left them (presumably) undercover in Budapest for a while--so long that they even had a specific hideout in the vents of a subway station where they could lay low.

During the mission, Natasha somehow managed to set up a secret explosive trap for Dreykov--but had to accept that his young daughter would be collateral damage when she set it off.

Naturally, that decision comes back to haunt her.

But accidental villain origins aside, it's easy to see why Budapest became a memorable incident for both Clint and Natasha, especially if it really was the last piece of Natasha's deal with SHIELD in her emancipation from the Red Room. Though, the added context of intentional child murder does make some of those funny quips a little (or a lot) darker in retrospect.

Black Widow is currently in theaters and available to stream on Disney+ with Premier Access.

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