Entertainment

When Does 'Black Widow' Take Place in the MCU Timeline?

You're gonna need a team of TVA agents to unravel this time knot.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

This article contains spoilers for Black Widow, the 24th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Fast and Furious series isn’t the only mega-successful cinematic universe with a jumbled sequence of events that takes significant effort to parse with every new installment. In its very belated bid to give fans the first female member of the Avengers her own standalone film-something fans were clamoring for back in 2012, but less so in 2021-Marvel Studios has at last released Black Widow, a Soviet-flavored spy adventure that calls Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) back to her roots in her quest to take down the Red Room, the espionage training facility that created her. More functionally, the movie introduces Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), who will presumably take over the Black Widow persona going forward.

Black Widow is a swan song for a character that, weirdly, we’ve already said goodbye to. If you understandably can’t remember what happened to her in the convoluted, time-travel yarn that was Avengers: Endgame, Natasha traveled with Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, back to 2014 in an attempt to retrieve the Soul Stone from the planet Vormir. In desperation to complete the mission that would help save Earth from suffering the modern day fate at the gauntleted hand of Thanos, she selflessly leaped off a cliff to her demise to fulfill a requirement that the stone seeker, in this case Barton, must sacrifice a loved one.

Thus, for the purposes of the MCU, Natasha is dead for real, over, finito, meaning she’s not one of the billions snapped out of existence by Thanos who later reappeared after the Avengers’ time-travel gambit worked. (Of course, it’s always wise not to count out future appearances of seemingly deceased characters in comic-book-related projects.) So, how did we end up with a Black Widow solo movie two years after we watched her die? As usual, it helps to revisit the increasingly ornate timeline of the MCU.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

If you’ve been following the film’s production at all, you are probably aware that most of the story takes place in the past, specifically between the events in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The plot tracks Natasha Romanoff’s escapades following the soft breakup of the Avengers at the conclusion of Civil War and picks up more or less immediately after that movie, which implies that Black Widow is set in the MCU’s version of 2016. (The best way the movie indicates this: As Natasha drives a truck near the beginning of the movie, you can hear the Sean Paul 2016 remix of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” on the radio.) It also includes appearances by Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt), the US Secretary of State whose job it is to enforce the Sokovia Accords, as he attempts to hunt down Black Widow before she does anything rash. He pops up in these movies every now and again, but never for long, so don’t feel bad if you have absolutely no clue who he is.

The movie also features a sort of Chekhov’s utility vest, an item of clothing purchased by Yelena and gifted to Natasha at the movie’s conclusion-if you’ve lost sleep wondering where Nat got that cool vest she wears during Infinity War, now you may rest. At the very end of the movie, we see her, now with blonde hair to indicate the passage of time, board a Quinjet found for her by her buddy Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle), which she uses to collect Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson for their first fight against the Black Order in Infinity War.

The post-credits scene brings us up to the present day, as Yelena visits Natasha’s gravestone, reminding everyone that Romanoff did indeed die in Avengers: Endgame. It also includes what would have been the first introduction of possible future villain Contessa Valentina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) if this movie had come out when scheduled, before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s premiere. Valentina tempts Yelena into doing some dirty work for her, in the form of hunting down Hawkeye-implying that Yelena will probably show up in the upcoming Disney+ Hawkeye show. And there you have it: A movie that should have come out half a decade ago has finally arrived, giving fans the first and last solo outing for a character who has been long dead.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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