Black Widow: 20 Easter Eggs And References You May Have Missed
The latest MCU movie is finally here as Phase 4 continues.
After over a year of delays, Black Widow is finally here--and it's the first MCU movie released directly on Disney+ so you can watch from the comfort of your own home. While the timing may be a bit awkward, given Natasha's foregone conclusion as a dead superhero thanks to Avengers: Endgame, the movie itself is still exactly what you've come to expect from Marvel Studios. There's plenty of bombastic action, humor, and, of course, details crammed into every nook and cranny to help flesh out this massive shared universe.
Black Widow works to flesh out Natasha's backstory by adding a slew of new characters who, unlike Nat, will definitely go on to exist in future MCU projects--though what those projects will amount to is still a mystery. The best we can do now is take this information and start trying to sort out the pieces of the Phase 4 puzzle--and to do that, we'll need to take a look at some of the details hidden away in this movie in the form of Easter Eggs, references, and nods to the MCU at large.
So, without further ado, here is your (spoiler filled) breakdown of things you'll want to look out for as you watch Black Widow.
1. Yelena Belova
While the MCU may have invented Yelena's backstory as an Ohioan raised by two super spies and her adoptive big sister Natasha, she's still a character from Marvel Comics--and, unsurprisingly, a Black Widow agent.
2. Sokovia accords
Our good friend, the Sokovia Accords, keep coming up--and it's no wonder. Given where this movie is set in the MCU timeline, this is the most pressing issue right now. I bet Ross and his team feel pretty silly being worried about this once Thanos rolls into town.
3. King of Wakanda
This is a bit of a two-for-one reference--the king Natasha literally fought was of course T'Challa, but lets not forget that Civil War kicked off with the assassination of a different Wakandan king, T'Challa's father, T'Chaka.
4. Incredible shrinking convict
Ant-Man's codename apparently isn't common knowledge yet.
5. Moonraker and box dye
While Natasha is in hiding, she spends her time watching old James Bond movies--Moonraker in this specific case--and contemplating dying her hair. We know she ultimately goes through with this, thanks to her blonde look in Infinity War.
The frequently referenced Budapest incident is a focal point in this movie--at least we finally know what Natasha and Clint have been offhandedly quipping about since Avengers.
Dreykov isn't actually a character in Marvel comics, but he was mentioned in the MCU prior to this movie--by Loki, in fact, back in The Avengers. Attempting to intimidate Natasha, Loki brings up, specifically, "Dreykov's daughter," who we learn more about here.
The aforementioned Dreykov's daughter is, of course, Taskmaster--though this origin story for the villain is completely new and invented for the MCU. In the comics, Taskmaster is a man named Tony Masters (seriously) who is a super learner able to mimic the fighting style of anyone he observes. Despite being wildly powerful, Masters is frequently a hired gun for bigger, badder villains and occasionally even a chaotic neutral force who uses his abilities to train and side with heroes.
9. The hair whip
Apparently the absurdity of Natasha's action poses have become a meme even within the MCU--Yelena certainly seems to think so. The first time we saw Natasha do her own version of the superhero landing was back in her introduction in Iron Man 2.
10. Red Guardian
Of the new characters introduced in this movie, Alexei most closely resembles his comic book counterpart--sort of. Red Guardian was indeed a Captain America analog produced by the Soviet Union. A whole bunch of them, in fact--there were a total of seven different people assigned that codename over time with Alexei being the second of the bunch, introduced in 1967. He wasn't a feel-good father figure for Natasha, though--he was actually her husband for a time.
The man Alexei arm wrestles is called "the big bear" and "Ursa" at different points, nods to Ursa Major--a literal bear in the comics and one of Russia's superheroes.
12. Melina Vostokoff
Melina is also a Marvel Comics character, though the version played by Rachel Weiss bears little to no resemblance to the one published in the books. In the comics, Melina was a super villain with the codename Iron Maiden and a member of a villain team called--and this isn't a joke--the "Femizons." This all happened in the 1980s, and since then Comics Melina has pretty much become your average C or D list villain. All of which is to say it's completely up in the air what will happen to her in the MCU, since the source material holds little to no clues.
13. Red Guardian vs Cap
In the context of the movie and the MCU's timeline, it's obvious that Red Guardian's stories about fighting against Steve Rogers are totally made up--Steve was still frozen in the 80s and missed the entirety of the Cold War. This isn't the case in the comics, however. Red Guardian fought (and lost to) Captain America during Avengers comics published in the late 1960s, shortly after Steve was thawed out and made part of the team.
14. The Gulag
While Red Guardian's dramatic Gulag escape never happened to him in the comics, it did happen to another Marvel character in a similar fashion--Bucky Barnes was sent to a Gulag not long after his stint as Captain America, after it was publicly revealed that he was the Winter Soldier. Natasha also had a hand in rescuing him--though Yelena wasn't there to assist.
15. The Winter Soldier project
Speaking of Bucky Barnes, while he's not mentioned by name in this movie the Winter Soldier project is--and it bears a striking resemblance to the Taskmaster project here in the MCU. In Marvel comics, Bucky was actually initially brainwashed and trained by the Red Room before he fell into the hands of HYDRA. That was changed for the movies, however, and HYDRA was the one to work on Bucky's transformation from the start.
16. Crimson Dynamo
Yelena teases Red Guardian by calling him Crimson Dynamo, which isn't just a random name she made up. The real Crimson Dynamo was a different Soviet villain-slash-anti-hero who typically squared off against Iron Man back in the '60s. Crimson Dynamo has never officially appeared in the MCU, but he did appear in the Iron Man 2 video game adaptation.
17. Those face masks
Forget the hair whip and the pose, those super high tech face masks might be Black Widow's favorite thing in the MCU. First seen in The Winter Soldier and then used time and time again for bits of fancy espionage, it's only fitting to let Natasha get one more big disguise in before the end of her solo movie. Honestly at this point she may as well be an honorary Skrull.
18. The vest
It turns out Natasha's Infinity War costume was actually given to her by Yelena--a vest with a lot of handy pockets.
19. The jet
It also turns out that Steve and company's quinjet, used during Infinity War while they were still wanted convicts, came from one of Natasha's contacts.
20. Valentina Allegra De La Fontaine
Julia Louis Dreyfus reprises her role in the post-credits as Val, the person who saw to recruiting John Walker back in Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Apparently she and Yelena have been working together in some capacity and now she's got another mission--one to kill Clint Barton, who Val claims is "responsible for Natasha's death."