It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie if you didn’t leave the theater wondering what’s next and the studio’s newest film, Black Widow, is no exception. While the bulk of Black Widow takes place prior to Avengers: Endgame — and subsequently leading lady Natasha Romanoff’s heartbreaking exit from Marvel — its final scene sends us to modern-day Marvel and sets some major conflicts in motion.
Following the film’s credits, we see Yelena (now a proud pup parent) drive to Natasha’s grave and mourn her big sister’s death. While the scene is pretty expected, after months of fan outrage following Endgame and its lack of a proper send-off for Black Widow it’s one that is both cathartic and necessary and allows audiences to finally grieve their loss alongside Yelena. However, the emotional moment is soon ruined by none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who you better not call ‘Val’ for short.
For those who watched The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, you might already be familiar with the conniving contessa. If you’re not, first of all, you should give it a watch and secondly, please give this next paragraph a skip until then.
In the Disney+ series, Valentina recruits ex-Captain America John Walker after he’s stripped of the title following his murder of the Flag Smasher Nico. When she approaches him and his wife, she reveals she is a member of an agency interested in working with those possessing superior skills and a lack of enthusiasm for bureaucracy. By the series end, Walker has made the call to join her and is given a new suit and name: U.S. Agent. While this is quite the introduction to someone who is surely going to become a major player during phase four, interestingly enough Black Widow was supposed to be her big reveal before COVID caused a scheduling shuffle — so let’s jump back to it.
In Black Widow, we find out the Contessa is not at Natasha’s grave to mourn the fallen Avenger, but rather to give Yelena her next assignment: eliminating her sister’s “murderer,” Hawkeye. Despite the audience knowing just how things played out on Vormir, Yelena believes Valentina and takes the bait, thus beginning her new quest for revenge. This mission will ultimately take her to the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye, where we’ll get to see Yelena back in action — and there’s no telling where her story will go from there.
Beyond that, there are larger implications for this ending. In the comics, Valentina — after working for SHIELD, Hydra, and spending some time as Nick Fury’s lover — helps form JANUS, a secret organization that helped Norman Osborn (Spider-Man villain Green Goblin) rise to power and eventually took control of the Ravencroft Institute. The Ravencroft Institute is similar to DC’s Arkham Asylum and is a facility used to house super-villains undergoing rehabilitation. This could potentially lead to a Sinister Six in the films, which seems likely based on the roster in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Whether or not we’ll see any other Black Widow characters appear in the MCU is still up in the air, though if David Harbour has his way we might. Either way, we’re very thankful we’ll get even more of Yelena’s sassy quips and appreciation of pockets in Hawkeye this fall.