If there’s one thing Marvel fans have come to expect from the franchise, it’s their keen ability to incorporate hints and connections throughout their films. Whether they’re referencing the comics or connecting current films to past ones, it’s clear that everything Marvel does is intentional. Their latest cinematic release Black Widow is no different, with numerous Easter eggs strategically planted throughout the film.
We’ve picked 11 of our favorites that connect this spy thriller to its MCU counterparts while also hinting at things to come.
This isn’t the first time Dreykov’s daughter has been mentioned
Black Widow isn’t the first time Dreykov’s daughter is mentioned in the MCU. As avid fans may recall, Loki mentions her during the first Avengers film while berating Natasha Romanoff about the red on her ledger. At the time, only those familiar with the comics may have understood the reference. Now that we’ve had a glimpse at Natasha’s past, we can watch that scene with new knowledge of an early Easter egg.
“American Pie” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were intentional tracks
Sure, Marvel could have thrown just about any track they wanted into the opening scene of the film, but if there’s one thing we know about Marvel, nothing is accidental. Yelena Belova’s favorite song, “American Pie,” plays over images of the “death” of Natasha’s American dream. It’s pretty fitting considering the track was written in the wake of JFK’s death. “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” an anthem of self-expression and defiance, plays during the opening credits. It showcases everything being conditioned out of the Widows during their time in the Red Room.
“The great bear” (X-Men)
Remember that prisoner the Red Guardian was arm-wrestling and he ended up breaking his arm? You may recall that Alexei Shostakov calls the prisoner “Ursa” and refers to him as “the great bear.” The actor playing this prisoner confirmed that he is indeed Ursa Major—a mutant with the ability to turn into a bear. Could this be a hint that the X-Men will play a future part in the MCU?
Yelena’s knife trick looks awfully familiar
Eagle-eyed fans quickly took note that Yelena’s knife trick looked familiar—and it should. During Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we see Bucky Barnes (aka Winter Soldier) do the exact same knife trick. This could suggest that the comics hold true in which the Winter Soldier was brought in to train the Widows in the Red Room.
The white suits
In true Marvel fashion, there were several comic nods placed throughout the film, one of those being the first appearance of the white Black Widow suits. The suits first made their appearance in the comic Black Widow: Deadly Origin, where many of her fights took place in Russia—and snow. The suits were designed to camouflage the Widows in the snow much easier than their typical black ones. The first time we see Natasha and Yelena in these suits is during the prison-break scene, where they’re surrounded by snow.
Iron Maiden’s mask
Marvel superfans were quick to spot this subtle Easter egg that first appeared in one of the film’s trailers when Melina says, “You won’t win.” Melina is indeed a character in the comics, but her moniker is Iron Maiden, who becomes a foe of Black Widow. During one of the scenes with Natasha and Melina, a mask can be seen on the wall behind them. It’s one that looks awfully similar to that of Iron Maiden. Is this just a subtle nod to the comics or a hint at twists to come?
WHiH World News
During the opening credits, we see a news broadcast from WHiH25—what we can assume is an affiliate of WHiH World News. This news channel was created by Marvel and has appeared in numerous MCU films and TV shows. They’ve “reported” on the devastation in Sokovia, Tony Stark’s reveal as Iron Man, the crater left by Thor’s arrival on Earth and more.
Setup for Red Hulk and the Thunderbolts
During Captain America: Civil War, we learn that Thaddeus Ross suffered a heart attack that required surgery. When we see him again in Black Widow, it looks like he’s still recovering while walking with a cane. Many fans believe the theory that his condition could get worse, forcing him to seek out experimental measures that may eventually turn him into the Red Hulk—just like in the comics. This fan theory also coincides with the idea that Marvel may be setting up the Thunderbolts, which has included Red Hulk, Yelena, Hawkeye, Taskmaster, Ghost, Baron Zemo and John Walker.
“Thank you for your cooperation”
During the showdown with Dreykov in the movie’s final act, we see Nat using a similar tactic she once used against Loki to get Dreykov to tell her everything she needs to know about the Black Widow Program. Acting on that Avengers callback, Nat uses the same tagline she said to the God of Mischief: “Thank you for your cooperation.”
One of Nat’s aliases given to her by Mason includes the name “Fanny Longbottom.” While it made viewers chuckle at the time, those laughs later turned to tears as we realize that Yelena’s dog is named Fanny in the post-credits scene.
During a night off, Natasha watches the James Bond film Moonraker, one that she’s evidently seen enough to be able to recite it line for line. While the obvious spy connection is there, it also foreshadows the Red Room being hidden high in the sky. Bond also jumps from a plane without a parachute in the film, something that Nat ends up doing in Black Widow.