Here’s When ‘Black Widow’ Takes Place In The MCU — And Why

After making her big Marvel Cinematic Universe over a decade ago, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff is finally getting her first (and final) break-out film this weekend in the highly-anticipated Black Widow. However, this movie is so long overdue, Natasha isn’t even around in the current MCU, which might have you wondering just where Black Widow takes place within the MCU timeline. Thankfully, we have some answers.

Contrary to what was expected when the film was announced, Black Widow is not an origin film. According to Johansson, the idea was actually never even on the table because both her and the studio didn’t want to go back that far. Instead, the movie takes place directly after the events of Captain America: Civil War. In an interview with Screen Rant, Johansson explained why:

“It felt like a good time because Natasha has always worked for [someone], she’s always been a part of some operation. She’s always had some safety net – I don’t know that safety net is the best way to put it, but she’s always been an operative and she’s never really had to, for better or worse, make any decisions for herself. She’s made decisions, but she’s part of this greater whole, and whether it was the Red Room or SHIELD or the Avengers, she’s had this kind of family, for better or worse. Then after Civil War, it’s all gone. Everything is gone and she’s, for the first time ever really just on her own. She could totally disappear into the ether and that would be that. She doesn’t have to return to anything, which is a pretty terrifying place to be, when you’ve been attached to something so long and now you’re suddenly floating. And obviously she’s very self-sufficient and she has connections everywhere, but she’s on the lam and she’s feeling like a fugitive. It gave us a really interesting place to start, like all the pieces are everywhere and how do we connect everything back together. When you find her in the beginning of the film, she’s just broken and by the end of the film, the goal is to put her back together, but different than before.”

If you’re still feeling a bit bummed by the lack of a true origin story for Black Widow, rest assured the upcoming movie takes dives deep into her upbringing and introduces her to much of her former found family. In addition, choosing to set the Black Widow as many of the biggest MCU events are starting to unfold allows us to take a more intimate look at the Natasha we know and love in Endgame, and better appreciate the major choice she made.

Here’s hoping Black Widow gives the character the send-off she deserves when it hits theaters tonight.