This list contains Avengers: Endgame spoilers.
Black Widow has been a mysterious figure since her introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2. We don’t know much about her past, besides that she has a substantial amount of red in her ledger. Almost certainly a prequel after the events of Endgame, the upcoming Black Widow solo film could definitely shed some light on Natasha’s backstory.
As a notorious spy for both the good and bad guys, Natasha has come across plenty of fascinating characters throughout the MCU and the comics - each with tons of storytelling opportunities. Here are nine we'd like to see in her upcoming solo film.
Probably the most obvious choice on the list is Hawkeye, Natasha’s closest friend in the MCU. Their friendship comes to its tragic end in one of the most heart breaking scenes in Endgame, but we've yet to see how the pair met.
Hawkeye was instrumental to Natasha defecting to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the MCU, so his inclusion could show us the beginning of Black Widow’s journey to redemption. It would also retroactively lay the groundwork for one of the MCU's strongest relationships, which could add new and deeper meanings to their existing scenes together.
8 IVAN PETROVICH BEZUKHOV
Ivan is the only family Natasha ever knew as a child, but he plays a dark role in her past. After rescuing her from the wreckage of her home, Ivan took on the role of Natasha’s surrogate father. Through him, Natasha ends up in the Red Room - home of the Black Widow Ops Programme. Ivan stayed in Natasha's life for a long while, but ultimately became another foe for her to face.
Ivan has already been mentioned in Endgame as Natasha’s father, which Natasha claims not to have known - his appearance in this film could give us a massive insight into Natasha's early life and the reasons behind her lack of knowledge about her childhood, as well as her time in the hands of the Red Room.
7 NICK FURY
Nick Fury was by Natasha’s side in her first appearance in Iron Man 2, and in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we saw how close the pair are when Natasha was devastated by Fury’s apparent death.
Fury could act as a more positive father figure in the film, replacing Ivan - he could guide Natasha’s introduction to S.H.I.E.L.D., or her first few missions. It also helps that Fury is mostly a secretive character, something he and Natasha could definitely bond over.
6 NADIA PYM
The MCU is famed for being interconnected, and introducing Nadia Pym would tie another major character into this film. In the comics, Nadia is Hank Pym’s daughter – raised in the Red Room, she has no memory of her parents. She eventually manages to escape, going on to become the Wasp.
Though Hope van Dyne is currently the MCU's Wasp, it's still possible to introduce Nadia as another version of the superhero. Plus, a scene revealing Nadia's existence would be the perfect end credits scene for this film, especially if Ant Man 3 is releasing any time soon.
5 THE WINTER SOLDIER
So far in the MCU, Natasha is known to have encountered Bucky Barnes only once before fighting him in The Winter Soldier. But, in the comics, Bucky meets Natasha in the Red Room as her trainer - and the two eventually begin a relationship.
Even if the MCU shows only their mentioned shootout, any conflict between these two highly skilled fighters would be incredible to watch – and if the film shows their past from the comics, it could add a poignant note to their existing appearances together in the MCU.
Since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, the likelihood of mutants making their way to the MCU has massively increased. The inclusion of Darkstar in the Black Widow film could act as a mini introduction to the X-Men.
Laynia Petrovna was tasked with bringing Natasha back from the US to the Soviets in the comics. With the power to use the Darkforce, as well as fighting skills developed from KGB training, Darkstar would pose a significant threat to Natasha. She also defected to Natasha's side, which would neatly parallel Natasha’s own arc in the MCU.
3 MADAME HYDRA (VIPER)
HYDRA play a huge role in the MCU as the ultimate evil organisation. Natasha is devastated to find out she’s been inadvertently furthering their agenda in The Winter Soldier – Madame Hydra featuring as a villain in her solo film could link Natasha to HYDRA even further, as well as deepen the HYDRA mythos. There are also interesting similarities between Natasha's time in the Red Room and how Ophelia Sarkissian gained the title of Viper, which the film could explore.
Though a version of Viper has already featured in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s still the opportunity to introduce a previous incarnation of the character in this film.
2 RED GUARDIAN
Created as the Soviet’s answer to Captain America, Red Guardian is a formidable fighter. He also has a significant personal connection to Natasha - Alexei Shostakov was once married to her, until his death was faked in order for him to become Red Guardian. Any showdown between Alexei and Natasha would be both a spectacle and tough for Natasha to handle emotionally.
Alexi was also trained by Vasily Karpov, who was involved with the creation of the Winter Soldier, so his inclusion could tie into establishing the Red Room in the MCU.
1 YELENA BELOVA
Yelena was also trained in the Red Room and views Natasha as her rival. She became the second Black Widow, claiming to exceed Natasha's marks in the Red Room's tests. While Natasha proves herself to be the better spy of the two, Yelena learns to accept her own identity as a result of their clash.
Yelena could feature massively as part of Natasha’s redemption arc, especially as Natasha goes to great lengths to convince Yelena that the super spy life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If Yelena is introduced after Natasha has switched sides to S.H.I.E.L.D., she could act as a reminder to Natasha of what she has lost - as well as everything she has gained.