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Black Widow Marvel Phase Four

After multiple delays, Black Widow is here at long last, available on both the big screen in theaters and the small one in our own living rooms. As the 23rd movie in the MCU, the Scarlett Johansson vehicle comes with a lot of baggage and, while it is mostly standalone and can definitely be followed by a casual fan, it probably takes someone who knows the franchise backwards and forwards to work out exactly where it fits into the timeline.

So, as we’ve known all along, Black Widow sits in the gap between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The opening flashback to 1995 is followed by a jump to the present day, with the caption clarifying it’s now “21 years later,” confirming it’s set in 2016 amidst the Sokovia Accords conflict that tore the Avengers apart. There have been a few movies retroactively placed in this period, so here’s an updated chronology for this pocket of the MCU:

  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Black Widow
  • Black Panther
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

Alternatively, if you want to follow Natasha’s journey in chronological order, here’s how you’d do it:

  • Black Widow (opening scenes)
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Avengers
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Black Widow (rest of film)
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
Black Widow

If you want to get really specific, Black Widow takes place at the 2:15:15 mark of Civil War. Its final scene sees Natasha, sporting the look she had in Infinity War – complete with Yelena’s vest and short blonde hair – preparing to go help bust her friends out of jail. This means that Natasha did aid Cap in his raid on The Raft at the end of Civil War, she just wasn’t shown on screen.

The Black Widow post-credits sequence, meanwhile, skips ahead five years to 2023, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, as Yelena is shown visiting Natasha’s grave. It’s unclear exactly how long after The Blip this is, but the presence of Contessa Valentina suggests it’s roughly contemporaneous with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s definitely slightly before Hawkeye, as Val sends Yelena to kill Clint. We’ll find out what happens next in the upcoming streaming series.

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