BLACK WIDOW's Place In The MCU Timeline May Have Been Revealed And It's Definitely A Surprise

BLACK WIDOW's Place In The MCU Timeline May Have Been Revealed And It's Definitely A Surprise

Up until now, we've been under the assumption that Black Widow will take place long before the events of The Avengers but some new details point to the story playing out in a very different era of the MCU.

It's been widely reported that Black Widow will be an origin story following Natasha Romanoff as she battles to stop the Y2K virus and leaves behind Russia to join S.H.I.E.L.D. Well, while there's a chance we'll still see some of that play out in the movie, Avengers: Endgame star Sebastian Stan has now dropped a bombshell which may change... well, everything. 

MCU Exchange claims that, during a recent convention appearance in Italy, Stan told fans that Black Widow takes place shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War

This is interesting for a lot of reasons, as we'd get to see Black Widow on the run before she becomes a member of Captain America's Secret Avengers (bear in mind that her fate at the end of the movie was left unclear, so there is room to explore what happened next). 

Considering the fact that Black Widow is now dead, it makes sense for Marvel Studios to pick up with her before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, especially if the movie is going to jump between the past and "present." This should be taken as just a rumour for now, but it leaves us with a lot to think about and it's easy to imagine Stan's Winter Soldier making some sort of appearance in any flashbacks.

Directed by Cate Shortland with a script by Ned Benson, Black Widow is expected to be released next May. What are your thoughts on this rumour? Let us know that in the comments section below. 

Hit the "View List" button below for comments from the writers
of Avengers: Endgame on fan theories, scrapped scenes, and more!

Was That Really A Namor The Submariner Reference?


There have been rumblings for a long time now that Namor the Submariner may be on his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (despite some distribution rights issues with Universal Pictures) and Avengers: Endgame seemingly featured an Easter Egg pointing to his existence when Okoye mentioned an earthquake beneath the sea.

Unfortunately, that wasn't what the writers had planned with that mention. 

"I wish we were that smart," Markus said, confirming that it was a throwaway line and not Marvel Studios' way of quietly introducing Namor to this shared world. 

Did The Snap Create Mutants?


In the new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, Nick Fury mentioned the Snap tearing a hole in the MCU's reality. So, could the ramifications of Thanos and Iron Man's actions have led to the emergence of the mutant gene? "Anything is possible, but I don't whether you'd need that. Genetic mutation is genetic mutation. It just happens. Maybe they are already out there," Markus said.
"I do think that whenever Kevin decides to do X-Men or Fantastic Four, it won't be how you think it's going to happen," added McFeely. "I think he's going to have a real clever version of it." What that will be remains to be seen but The Eternals may be the most likely place to create the heroes.

Did Steve Rogers Offer Bucky The Mantle Of Captain America?


When Steve Rogers returns to the present day as an old man, he decides to pass the mantle to The Falcon rather than Bucky. However, it seems like the former Winter Soldier was well-aware of the hero's plans as he even motions for Sam to go and speak to him. So, did Bucky turn down the opportunity during a secret conversation with Steve?

Not exactly. 

"That's not our intent, no. It's just honoring their relationship," said McFeely. "Steve, clearly, before he stepped on that platform … told Bucky what he was going to do. Whether he knew he was going to appear on that bench, I don't think so. Why would Bucky say, 'I'm going to miss you pal,' if it was only going to be five seconds?"

Was There Really Only One Future Where Thanos Would Lose?


In Avengers: Infinity War, Benedict Cumberbatch makes it clear that there's only one possible future where Earth's Mightiest Heroes can defeat Thanos out of a possible fourteen million. 

Was that entirely accurate, though? Fans have theorised that Strange simply chose the scenario where the Infinity Stones would be destroyed, thereby ensuring they could never be used for evil again and have pointed out that Iron Man didn't have to die. Well, it seems that's wishful thinking. 

"The only way this works is if Tony dies," they reveal. "If you go back and watch Infinity War, when [Strange] says 'one,' Benedict … is just choked on emotion. Now that you know the end, go back and watch that moment. He means, 'You're going to have to die, Tony.'"

No, Steve Rogers Can't Wield The Infinity Stones


Only Thanos and The Hulk have unleashed the power of the Infinity Stones without dying and considering the fact Steve Rogers was able to both wield Mjolnir and hold the Mad Titan at bay in Avengers: Infinity War, there's a belief that he may have been strong enough to don the Infinity Gauntlet.


"I think Steve would be toast," said Markus. "I think in that moment, Thanos is impressed by Steve's will. He's like, 'I can't believe this guy who apparently has no powers is trying this.' He's almost like, 'Really? Really?'"

Why Can't The Infinity Gauntlet Bring Back The Dead?


The Hulk mentions that he tried and failed to bring back Black Widow when he used the Infinity Gauntlet and while that didn't work due to the complicated nature of the Soul Stone, was there really no way to undo Iron Man's sacrifice? "The Gauntlet, as of yet, has not brought back anybody to life that wasn't removed by the Gauntlet. Tony was physically killed," Markus explains. 

Was Talos In Peter Parker's High School?


One of the more bizarre fan theories about Avengers: Endgame is that Talos (in human form) could be seen in Peter Parker's high school when the wall-crawler reunites with Ned Leeds. 

"There are things people have told me about these movies, which we have worked on for nearly five years, that I've never seen, so I should probably watch it again," Markus jokes, reminding fans that this and Avengers: Infinity War were shot before cameras started rolling on Captain Marvel

How Do They Plan Out Which Easter Eggs To Include?


The Hulk holding up that structure as the Avengers Compound collapses around him is a clear nod to many comic book covers featuring the Jade Giant so how do the writers come up with those?

"They come from all around," Markus says. "I remember at one point, we were all in Atlanta already in pre-production and Kevin came down for one of his periodic site visits. He had a bunch of comic panels with him on his computer. That may well have been one of them, that cover. I think he had a few of Thanos."
"Mephisto," McFeely adds. "Could we make sure Ebony Maw is more Mephisto-y?" Because that's a whole kettle of fish. Mephisto is the devil."

Was There An Alternate Plan For Captain America 3?


This isn't necessarily Avengers: Endgame but still of interest. There was a time when Robert Downey Jr. wasn't slated to star in Captain America: Civil War so did the writers have another plan for the movie if Iron Man had indeed ended up sitting the critically acclaimed adventure out? 

"There were outlines where we had the Zemo [Daniel Brühl] plotline based around Bucky. We had that whole structure. But it wasn't so much about pitting Steve and Tony together. When Civil War rose to the surface, it fit in really nicely into that," said Markus.
Added McFeely: "It wasn't a great enough A-plot. It became an excellent B-plot."

Is The Marvel Multiverse Real?


The Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer appeared to confirm the existence of the Marvel Multiverse but when the writers were asked about that, they played coy. When it was put to them that Mysterio could be lying, McFeely responded: "That's the thing, consider your source." If he isn't telling the truth, that's a twist which should be even more controversial than The Mandarin...

Plans For Nova's Debut In Avengers: Infinity War


We know that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn doesn't have a great deal of interest in Nova and so the character very nearly arrived in Avengers: Infinity War instead. Revealing that they have a 60-page document they crafted full of ideas before writing both Avengers movies, the scribes shed some light on what that included and we nearly got a House of M inspired film!
"House of M. I remember going through several scenarios of Nova. Thanos could come and kill all the Nova Corps, except one guy. Richard Rider, who then becomes … I think in that scenario he became the herald, kind of like the Hulk was [in Infinity War when he crashed into the Sanctum Sanctorum]. Someone who could come out and tell people. We had everything. Literally every variation we could think of or that was sitting there in the comics untapped. With absolutely no value placed next to them."
Continue reading below for even more big reveals from the writers of Avengers: Endgame!

Were They Tempted To Get Thor Back In Shape For The Final Battle?

The God of Thunder obviously spends the majority of Avengers: Endgame drunk and overweight but after learning that he's still worthy, Thor's attitude changes and he later uses the power of Stormbreaker to don his classic armour (albeit with a slightly new Viking-inspired appearance).

However, the writers reveal that there was a temptation to return him to his usual ripped self.

"It came up but we were really adamant about not doing that because I think that would treat it more like a joke," McFeely says. "And the idea is that this is who he is now and he's still a hero. And when he calls down the lightning and gets both hammers, all it does is put a suit on him and twist his beard into a braid, it doesn't magically take 200 pounds off."
Markus adds: "And I think what his mother tells him, 'Don't be who you're supposed to be, be the best version of who you are,' includes that. We didn't want to treat the weight gain like the issue that he needed to get over. Like 'Thor got fat and now he needs to go on a diet.' No, he needs to feel OK about himself no matter who he is."

Where Did The Idea For That Beard Braid Come From?

"I don't know about the braid exactly," McFeely says when asked about Thor's new appearance. "[When he gets the hammer in the first 'Thor'] he's finally worthy and it sort of transforms him into, it puts the armor on him. And we knew that's how the hammer works. It sort of jazzes you up. But I guess I don't know where the braid came from. Hair and makeup, costume? We’re not sure."

As For Thor's new attitude following the events of Thor: Ragnarok, Markus says that came as a blessing. "It turns out Hemsworth is a really good actor. He's not just gorgeous, he's funny. It's [been] such a great second half of the MCU for him. I'm really, really happy that that all came about."

Which Characters Do They Wish Could Have Shared The Screen More?

"Oh, there’s plenty of that, right?" McFeely says. "When everyone comes back, we had a little section in the big action battle set piece we called Team Ups and Reunions. So that was people from different franchises fighting alongside each other. And more importantly, people who hadn't seen each other in five years getting to hug and embrace."

That would have been cool to see, and he went on to name some specific characters who were originally going to interact more in the movie. "Steve and Bucky would've been good. Rocket and Groot could've had another moment. [Black] Panther and Okoye, even Hope and Scott Lang. Lang in many ways is the driving force of this story. He didn't get time to really have a moment with Hope."

Could Agent Carter Return Following Peggy's Avengers: Endgame Cameo?

Agent Carter was one of Marvel Television's first failures as it was cancelled after just two seasons (even though Marvel Studios was reportedly creatively involved). So, with Hayley Atwell reprising the role in Avengers: Endgame, is there a chance the TV show could make its return on Disney+?

"From your lips to Bob Iger’s ears," McFeely explains. "I don’t know. It was an expensive show. You’re doing period as well as you can in Los Angeles. I don’t know how big the fanbase is, but what it is is really dedicated. And we love the character. So I don’t know, I just don’t know."

How Do They Feel About The Mixed Reaction To Black Widow's Death?

Since Avengers: Endgame was released, fans have expressed some disappointment with the decision to kill off Black Widow (despite how well it was handled). Asked about that, Markus offered some insight into why he believes it had to happen and elaborated on the end of her journey. 

"I understand she was a beloved character and none of us want our heroes to die. But that is the natural end of her journey and it is the sort of apotheosis of who she is becoming. She started out as a very dark character. Even before the movies begin, she’s a spy, she’s an assassin. She has red in her ledger and to take her all the way to that sacrifice point is where her character is headed. And to not let her do that seemed a disservice to her as a hero."

McFeely went on to explain why they didn't let any possible backlash hold them back:
"Right. We couldn't be afraid to kill her simply because she was the most important and the first female character. Again, the goal with all these things is just to put these people on a journey or continue or end their journeys. Steve Rogers goes from selfless to slightly more self-interested. Tony goes from selfish to giving himself for the universe. Thor goes from obligated to letting go of that obligation. And Black Widow goes from a woman with red on her ledger to clearly wiping out all that red."


What Deleted Scenes Do They Think Should Have Been Included?

"You never know what’s actually going to make it out into the world," Markus says when quizzed about scenes which didn't make it into that lengthy three-hour runtime. "We did have a scene illustrating more actively what the Hulk had been up to in terms of being a hero, as opposed to just starting it in the diner and explaining things. But it didn’t give you anything that you didn’t get from just sitting in the diner eating pancakes. And it came off more as noise than as content."
"It takes us forever to learn these things," McFeely adds. "But if the scene is not doing more than one thing, it’s probably not worthy of being in the movie."

Was It Important To Address Thor: The Dark World In Avengers: Endgame?

Thor: The Dark World is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most disappointing movies in the eyes of most fans, so it was surprising to see it play such a pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame

Asked if it was important for them to address those criticisms here, McFeely explains that that had nothing to do with it; instead, it was about what was best for the epic superhero ensemble's story.

"No, it wasn't important to address it, it’s just where one of the stones was. That second act [of 'Endgame'] is going back into the other movies and finding the stones. Other than a brief moment where it would've been with Benicio del Toro at his Collector's Museum, it was in Asgard during the movie. And we’d already seen Benicio del Toro in ['Infinity War'].
"I think the bar is set high for Marvel," Markus adds when asked about the reaction to the 2013 sequel. "We share a credit on that movie, we came in to help out, so it’s on our résumé. Listen, there are 22 movies. One’s going to be first and one's going to be last. I think there’s plenty of delightful things in it."

How Did They Decide The Way Iron Man Would Die?

"We always knew we wanted him to bring it on himself as opposed to being killed by Thanos," Markus reveals. "Because it’s really the one thing left for him to do, in a way. The five-year jump allowed him to become this fully realized human: He married Pepper, he had a child, he basically retired from public life and lived a very peaceful existence out there in the country."

"We knew he was going to die but we wanted to put it in his hands as opposed to someone else’s," the writer continued. "We didn’t always know that the Infinity Stones were going to be what caused it, but once we worked out the mechanics of it with the nano particle suit that both the gauntlet and his suit were made out of, it all worked too perfectly not to do."

Where Did "That's America's Ass!" Come From?

In one of Avengers: Endgame's funniest moments, Iron Man pokes fun at how Steve Rogers' ass looks in his 2012 era costume and Ant-Man butts in (no pun intended) to declare it, "America's Ass."

Asked where it came from, McFeely says: "Chris Evans has never been comfortable with that outfit from the first 'Avengers' movie. And so in the rearview mirror, it’s a little way to wink at how that was then and this is now. And then it sort of just built from there. By the time we got to the fight scene where he defeated himself, his butt is on the ground and was just sitting there for a callback."
Why, like most fans, does he not like the costume? "I think it’s the color, but also his ears are covered in that outfit. When he puts on the helmet, he has these little Princess Leia dents over his ears and it throws the whole thing off. You wouldn't normally think that an ear is an important part of an outfit but it balances everything in a way that when they go, you look dorky."

How Did They Come Up With Those Big Lebowski Jokes About Thor?

"We knew we wanted him to kind of get a little schlubby and be hanging around the house," Markus says. "And Lebowski is sort of the world's primary reference for a guy in a bathrobe. So we gave our ideas about it to the costume and art department and they came back with Thor in a bathrobe with sunglasses and suddenly it all clicked." That concept art is going to be fun to see!

Who Did They Most Enjoy Writing A Conclusion For In The Movie?

"We’ve been with Steve Rogers since his first movie and to see him finally get some measure of peace," Markus says. "I mean, as upright and upstanding a character and as relatively positive as he is, he’s had nothing but sacrifice. He has put himself aside at every turn. And to feel that satisfaction of him finally going back and getting with Peggy and experiencing that makes me very happy."

What Would They Like To See From The Next Three Phases?

"It’ll be fascinating to see what Kevin Feige does with the properties he’s now getting from the Fox merger with X-Men and Fantastic Four," Markus teases. "And to see what the MCU version of those things is, because I very much doubt it will be something that resembles what you’ve seen before. So that will be very exciting."
McFeely adds: "And streaming is really interesting [in terms of] longer-form storytelling. The MCU is one big long-form story, but to be able to spend six or eight hours with Falcon and the Winter Soldier getting deeper into that story, I think that is really intriguing."
"They used to make Marvel shorts — two, three, five minutes of a little side story that you could follow — and now you can follow for 10 episodes instead of five minutes, and boy, you can go anywhere," Markus concludes. With any luck, we'll find out what Marvel Studios has planned for the next few years at Comic-Con this July. 

Many thanks to The Los Angeles Times for the quotes used in this article. 
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