- “You won't put me in a cage. Because you need me. Yes, the world's a dangerous place. Yes, S.H.I.E.L.D. helped make it that way. But, we're also the ones most qualified to defend it. So, you wanna arrest me, arrest me. You'll know where to find me,”
- ―Black Widow
Black Widow is the alias of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, and is Nick Fury's top spy. She first appeared in Marvel's 2010 film Iron Man 2 and is a major character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Black Widow was created by Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck.
Born Natalia Alianova Romanova, she was taken into the KGB, were she was trained in the Red Room, a Soviet training program to create brainwashed assassins. Natalia was exceptionally gifted in the arts of spycraft and soon became one of the most ruthless students there. With her reputation, she became the master assassin the Black Widow. After years of acting as a Soviet assassin, she made herself a known threat to S.H.I.E.L.D., prompting Nick Fury to dispatch Clint Barton/Hawkeye to kill her. However, Barton decided against killer her, and recommended her for recruitment, which Fury approved. Thus, Natalia defected from Russia and became a prominent S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, developing a lasting partnership and friendship with Hawkeye. While employed by S.H.I.E.L.D., she changed her name to Natasha Romanoff and became a Level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. operative.
Out of all the Avengers, Natasha appears to be the one with the smallest ego. She is usually very calm and collected, as evident in Iron Man 2. She is able to keep her emotions in check. As described by Stark, she is something of a mystery. Before her time at S.H.I.E.L.D. she was regarded as extremely versatile, mysterious, and ferociously dangerous, to such an extent that they sent the likes of Clint Barton to deal with her
She is certainly extremely fearless, as well as stoic, efficient, cunning, intelligent, and unpredictable. She does not normally show any fear whatsoever in the face of any danger, even if it is an immortal being from another dimension. She appears to adopt multiple personalities to keep her true colours invisible, making her incredibly hard to read. However, in The Avengers, she is shown to get emotional, being wary and perhaps afraid of Dr. Banner and what he is capable of doing. When Dr. Banner transformed into the Hulk, she showed fear for the first time. Luckily, Thor intervened in time to prevent the Hulk from attacking her. Natasha quickly put her fear aside to stop a mind-controlled Barton, whom she seems to deeply care about.
Her fear appears a second time when she battles the Winter Soldier - she tries to fight the assassin, but when she is beaten, she tries to retreat (She actually runs from a fight), and when the Winter Soldier critically shoots her, there is a visible look of terror on her face that has never been seen before, shows that her previous encounter with the Winter Soldier - and the injuries she sustained as a result - have marred her somewhat. In spite of this, when she recovered, she returned to the mission without hesitation
Loki suspected that she harbored a romantic interest in Barton, which she dismissed. The two of them appear to have a close friendship, as she helped him realize that his actions under Loki's control were not his fault. Most importantly, she is haunted by her past and tries to make amends with that past, one day at a time, or as she puts it, she has "red in her ledger" and would like to wipe it out. Her personality becomes increasingly more detailed with every film she appears in. Her past is hinted at in very minute portions, and it is extremely hard to tell if anything she says is genuine.
Natasha, because she does not tell much about herself and does not react emotionally to narrowly anything, is also extremely difficult to trust because her loyalty is always ambiguous to an extreme. She is very pragmatic, shown when she calmly explains to a press conference, after the events involving the Winter Soldier, that she and her friends will not be incarcerated by the authorities because, chaotic and unpredictable or not, the Avengers will always be needed. Also, she is extremely goal-oriented, sacrificing her opinion for her efficiency when it came to completing a mission, making an effort not to make things too personal if she can avoid it and preferring to observe, calculate and deal with the facts of the mission, so that she doesn't become dissuaded by her own opinion.
Natasha's relationship with the other Avengers varies with each individual. She is seen in Iron Man 2 to be Nick Fury's second-in-command and the person who reports back to him on Tony Stark, and she is visibly shocked when he apparently dies. With Tony, she acts in a very aloof and stoic manner, immune and indifferent to his (Constant) attempts at flirting with her. She even described him to display 'textbook narcissism', however she might have warmed up to him a bit the more she worked with him. Natasha and Thor do not explicitly get time together, so their relationship is uncertain.
With Bruce Banner, she initially acts with incredible caution because she is actually afraid of him, acting as if she is on a knife's edge. His transformation into the Hulk is the first time she shows fear, but she becomes more easygoing with him later on. She even develops strong feelings for him and is the only one who is able to properly tame his Hulk form. She develops romantic feelings for him during the course of their time on the team. Her relationship with Clint Barton is that of best friends. They first met when Clint was sent to hunt her down, but instead he spared her and they became friends. Natasha first met Steve Rogers on the Helicarrier when he was recruited to S.H.I.E.L.D. and she appeared to respect his authority. They also worked fiercely together against the Chitauri.
Their relationship developed later on when they were outlawed by their own bosses and hunted by the Winter Soldier, and Natasha appeared to see him as a genuine friend. However, he found it painfully hard to trust her because he didn't know where her loyalty lay, and she always seemed to be working for a second party whilst deceiving him. She also flirted with him subtly throughout this particular adventure, and the two made an incredible team. After the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., she learned that he was planning on going after Bucky, and warned him to be careful as he might not like what he found, and even kissed him, showing that she is developing less aloofness towards at least one Avenger.
While one of the members of the Avengers that is completely human and without superpowers, (other than Barton and Stark, however, his armor makes the difference between the three), she is shown to be just as formidable as any of the other members, as she is a gifted spy, trained in combat, weapons, and various other skills.
Natasha is very tall and strikingly attractive, beautiful, with a finely-curved athletic figure. She has dark red hair, which frequently changes style and length with every film she appears in, along with steely blue eyes and a stoic expression of confidence and self-assurance. She normally wears black, figure-hugging suits which may or may not show the prominence of her cleavage, and she is fitted normally with her Widow's Bite in mission situations. Tony Stark has commented dryly that she is hugely attractive.
- Master Martial Artist: Natasha is an expert in the field of martial arts. She is proficient in karate, judo, aikido, savate, boxing, and multiple styles of kung fu.
- Expert Acrobat: She is an Olympic class athlete, gymnast, acrobat, and aerialist capable of numerous complex maneuvers and feats.
- Expert Marksman: Natasha is a very accurate marksman skilled in sharpshooting and knife throwing.
- Multilingual: She is fluent in Russian, English, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and various other languages.
- Gifted Intellect: According to Marvel, Natasha's intellect is at level 3, putting her on par with Steve Rogers. She possesses the ability to quickly process multiple information streams (e.g., threat assessment) and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations.
- Graceful Dancer: Natasha is a profound ballet dancer.
- Expert Tactician: She is a very effective strategist, tactician, and field commander. She has led the Avengers and even S.H.I.E.L.D. on one occasion.
- Talented Hacker: Natasha can hack into all computer systems without tripping any firewalls or security with ease.
- Master Seductress: She is an expert in the field of seduction. Natasha has been infamously known to bend many different men to her will and sometimes even get them to do her bidding for her. She sometimes continues deceiving certain men through means of acting if she still has a further use for them.
- Expert Spy: Natasha is a dangerous secret agent trained in espionage, stealth, disguise, infiltration, and demolitions. She displays an uncanny affinity for psychological manipulation and can mask her real emotions perfectly. Her talents and years of experience have enabled her to reach a high ranking as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Conditioning: Being a master shield agent, Natasha is far stronger, faster, and more agile than most ordinary humans. Capable of out-preforming even the finest Olympic athletes:
- Speed: Natasha is capable of running on-par with the finest Olympic athletes. She was able to out-pace the Winter Soldier's henchmen, run under a overpass within seconds, and even blaze through H.A.M.M.E.R Tech guards.
- Agility: Natasha can preform flips, rolls, and jumps beyond typical humans.
- Reflexes: Her reflexes are at such a degree, she can dodge point blank gun-fire (if there's enough distance).
- Stamina: She was able to fight alongside the likes of Captain America, Iron-Man, and the Hulk for long periods of time during the invasion.
- Costume Specifications: Synthetic stretch fabric which has been augmented to be highly resistant to damage even small arms fire and high temperatures. Microscopic suction cups on her costume allow her to scale walls and cling to ceilings, just as her namesake.
- Personal Weaponry: The Black Widow's Gauntlets are wrist cartridges containing various tools of the spy trade: tear-gas pellets, a radio transmitter, and spring-loaded cable.
- Special Weaponry: Various automatic weapons and firearms, combat knives, and explosives as needed. She also uses a device often referred to as the Widow's Bite that is capable of emitting highly potent electric shocks with a maximum of about 30,000 volts.
- Source of Paraphernalia: Formerly Soviet Union, S.H.I.E.L.D., Avengers.
Iron Man 2
When Fury caught wind of Tony Stark's palladium-induced sickness due to his chest-embedded Arc Reactor requiring palladium cores to power it, he sent Natasha to keep an eye on him at Stark Industries. She went undercover as Natalie Rushman, a secretary to Tony's girlfriend Pepper Potts, whom he had appointed as new CEO of his company. She later reveals her true nature to Tony at a donut shop with Nick Fury, providing a shot of lithium oxide to abate his poisoning to give him time to develop an alternative power source for the reactor. She and Happy Hogan later infiltrate Hammer Industries to apprehend Ivan Vanko, only to realize he had retreated to fight Iron Man and War Machine as Whiplash. She later reboots the War Machine armor to allow Rhodey to control his suit.
While on assignment, Natasha was tied to a chair by Georgi Luchkov and appeared to be interrogated when, in fact, she was the one interrogating him. Phil Coulson calls and tells her that Agent Barton has been compromised, so she broke free from her restraints and knocked out Luchkov's henchmen, before being sent to collect Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk. Natasha pays a child to act like her father is sick and leads Banner to a shack on the outskirts of the town of Calcutta. Natasha approaches Bruce and tells him that he needs to help them in locating the Tesseract, a dangerous object that had fallen into the wrong hands by Loki. Bruce asks her, "What if I say no?". She responds, saying, "I'll persuade you", this was her way of saying that she had several agents outside who were ready to take on the Hulk at any given moment. After Bruce agreed, she introduced him to Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America. Though the thought of Banner's immensely powerful alter ego terrified her, Romanoff carries out the assignment with aplomb and soon had Banner on board.
She later travels to Stuttgart, Germany along with Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, and Captain America to apprehend Loki, who, with the aid of a mind-controlled Barton, is stealing iridium needed to stabilize the Tesseract. The mission was successful but took the combined skills of Steve Rogers, Tony Stark in his Iron Man armor, and herself at the gun controls of Quinjet to subdue him. On the return trip they also encountered Loki's brother Thor who had designs on Loki's capture of his own.
Once Loki is captured and taken into custody, Natasha talks to him in his holding cell and he taunts her claiming that he will make Clint kill her. His taunt was after she revealed to Loki that she and Clint had a history with each other. He lets slip that the "monster" is already on board of the Helicarrier and she works out that he plans to use the Hulk so Romanoff warns Director Fury. Loki summons some guards, including Hawkeye, to the Helicarrier. Hawkeye then uses an explosive arrow to destroy one of the four engines. Natasha and Bruce are thrown through a window by an explosion and Bruce loses control and changes into the Hulk despite Natasha's attempts to keep him focused. She manages to get her leg free from the debris that was on top of her and begins to run for it, because the Hulk is attacking her. He easily catches her and knocks into a wall. However, she was saved by Thor before the Hulk could kill her. Fury asks someone to stop Hawkeye and she swallows her terror and volunteers, finding him and knocking him unconscious. She then visits him in the recovery room where he is free from Loki's spell, wanting to take action against the God of Mischief. Clint admitted to her his disbelief of the Avengers being able to stop Loki and his remorse about the people he killed.
Natasha, Clint, and Steve seek Loki in Manhattan, who releases his Chitauri army, forcing the Avengers to assemble and battle the onslaught of alien invaders. To serve as Private First-Class of the team, she fights alongside Steve and Clint. When the others arrive she takes one of the Chitauri's aircraft and heads to the top of Stark Tower where the portal is open. She talks to Erik Selvig and uses Loki's staff to close the portal. The team regroup and send Loki back to Asgard with Thor and then they go their separate ways, though Natasha and Barton return to S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sometime later, Natasha and the rest of the Avengers go to eat silently in a shawarma restaurant.
After the Battle of New York, she and Steve were frequently assigned to different missions for SHIELD. On a mission, Romanoff was sent by Fury to get valuable information from the Lemurian Star. The information was very valuable because after get it Fury was the target of a legendary assassin. When Romanoff learned that Fury was attacked; she inmediately went to the hospital to keep vigil. As Fury was declared dead, she mourned the death of her superior because he was only one who trusted her. Based on Steve's description of the shooter, she identified the killer as the Winter Soldier.
Natasha decided to help Rogers after Steve became a fugitive of S.H.I.E.L.D. under the orders of Alexander Pierce after hiding details of Fury's death. Natasha tried to hack the protected files but could only discover the location from where they were created, Camp Lehigh. At Camp Lehigh, Natasha and Steve discovered that it was here SHIELD began and the Nazi scientist Arnim Zola still alive. Zola told them that he had been recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D., and that he and other German scientists had furthered Hydra's plans for world domination through numerous projects, including the infiltration and influence of S.H.I.E.L.D. Romanoff interrupts him and informs Steve that a missile was approaching to the facility. She and Rogers miraculously escape before SHIELD forces caught them.
The next day, they went to the apartment of Sam Wilson asking for shelter. As they needed help, Wilson gave them his "curriculum"; she was impressed because Wilson participated in the Khalid Khandil mission. With the team made, they captured and interrogated agent Jasper Sitwell, who despite his displeasure reveals his true alliance that was HYDRA. They were ambushed by mercenaries led by Winter Soldier on their way to Triskelion. After an arduous battle, the trio was captured by Rumlow and his men. However, the trio was rescued by Maria Hill, who brought them to the hideout where Nick Fury was alive.
Nick Fury and the group devised a plan to prevent Alexander Pierce launch Project Insight. Natasha disguised as Councilwoman Hawley infiltrated the meeting between Pierce and the other councilors. She decides to reveals her identity to prevent Pierce kill Councilman Rockwell. After revealing her identity, Romanoff revealed that Fury was still alive and Pierce to help Fury release the secrets of S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA to the world. As the files were being uploaded, Pierce activated devices in the security badges of the rest of the Security Council, which killed them. He attempted to use Natasha as hostage to escape, but she used a micro-device on herself, disabling the badge, allowing Fury to shoot Pierce, killing him.
Fury and Romanoff escaped the Triskelion in a helicopter to rescue, also rescuing Sam when a helicarrier crashed into the building. Days later, Romanoff was called to a hearing with the Senate after revealing the secrets of SHIELD and HYDRA to the world. When asked by a Committee as to why they shouldn't imprison her for the newly-revealed crimes that she had committed against the U.S., she responded that people like her were needed to defend the world.
As she released the secrets of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA to the whole world, Romanoff had to get a new identity to protect herself from the authorities. Later, she went to say "goodbye" to Fury and deliver to Steve related files of Bucky from Ukraine. She also encouraged him to romantically pursue Agent 13, whom she identifies as Sharon.
After the destruction of Project Insight and HYDRA left exposed, the Avengers were officially reassembled with Iron Man's financing and Captain America's leadership. Being fed information and debriefs by Phil Coulson and his team, the Avengers were able to storm and take down multiple HYDRA bases. The Avengers arrived in Sokovia to take down the last known base of HYDRA and retrieve Loki's scepter, apprehending the current leader Baron Strucker. Black Widow witnessed when Hawkeye was attacked by HYDRA soldiers, she then asked someone to destroy a bunker, which quickly destroyed by Hulk. With the battle won, she used a lullaby method to calm down Hulk and so he reverted back into Bruce Banner. In Quinjet, she told Banner the lullaby worked better than ever and thanked him for saving Hawkeye. Despite the gratitude, Banner felt guilty for hurt other people even if they were HYDRA soldiers. Back at Avengers Tower, Romanoff accompanied Barton while Doctor Helen Cho rebuilt its damaged tissues.
Stark later hosted a party in honor of the victory over HYDRA, which she attended. During the party, Romanoff and Banner flirted, which Rogers noticed and advised Banner to not wait too long to show his feeling for Romanoff. Trying to lift Mjolnir was the game that The Avengers played when the party ended, while her teammates unsuccessfully tried, she did not even try. Suddenly, a scrap robot broke into the party and described the Avengers as all killers. When Ultron sent the Iron Legion to attack them, she defended herself using a gun. The next day, the group met and discussed the events of the night before. Later, when Thor returned from pursuing a drone and informed the group that the robot is heading to the north towards an unknown location, Romanoff said that Ultron was the new threat and that they should to stop him.
The Avengers went to Salvage Yard to investigate why Ultron needed the Vibranium. Here, they encountered with Ultron and the Maximoff twins, this encounter led to a fight between the two teams. During the battle, Scarlet Witch used her powers in Black Widow, causing her to remember her sad past. Shortly afterwards, Stark asked her to use the lullaby in Hulk, however Hawkeye replied that she could not help since she had been attacked by the Maximoff girl. With the team affected by the defeat, Hawkeye decided to take them to his farm, where he and his family lived. Although most of the team was surprised by the revelation, Black Widow not, as she and Barton were best friends. The next day, Romanoff confessed Banner what she had spent in the Red Room. Later, the team went to Seoul, South Korea to stop Ultron. During this mission, Romanoff was captured by Ultron after she had stolen the cradle where Ultron's new body was.
Upon awakening, she realized that he was in the HYDRA Research Base and saw Ultron working on his new body. Ultron revealed that kept her with life just because he no longer had anyone to talk. The next day, she was rescued by Bruce Banner, who suggested flee because their fight was over. However, Romanoff kisses and pushes Banner into the abyss as they needed Hulk for the final fight. Later, she fought bravely against Ultron Sentries and protect the key from Ultron. When the battle seemed lost, Romanoff and Rogers discussed the possibility that this was the last mission of the Avengers. Suddenly, Nick Fury arrived with the Helicarrier in order to help to evacuate the people who were still in Sokovia. With Ultron nearly defeated, she decided it was time of lullaby and make Hulk transformed into Banner. But suddenly, Ultron began to shoot civilians, which made Hulk took Black Widow to safety, while he attacked Ultron. After saving Earth from Ultron, she wanted Hulk back with them but he decided it was better to be alone and without hurting anyone.
With Ultron defeated, Black Widow and Captain America were the only founding members who remained in the team, after Thor and Iron Man leave the Avengers and Hulk's demise. Fury informed her that S.H.I.E.L.D. found the Quinjet where Huk went, but there was no sign of him. Shortly afterwards, she and Captain America led the training of new Avengers which consisted of: Falcon, War Machine, Vision, and Scarlet Witch.
Black Widow was led on a mission by Captain America along with fellow Avengers Falcon and Scarlet Witch to apprehend Crossbones in Lagos, Nigeria. He tried to defeat Crossbones but the criminal was too strong for her.
Marvel Animated Universe
Although initially being Hawkeye's partner on S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Widow supposedly betrayed them both and started working for HYDRA. After Hawkeye attacked a HYDRA warehouse to try and track her down, he successfully captured and tried delivering her to the Avengers. However, they were knocked out by The Leader letting out the Gamma energy from The Cube. This freed Widow and had her and Hawkeye holding each other at gun point, until Hawkeye was able to restrain her in his bonds again and leave her where she was to be exposed to the Gamma Radiation.
Hawkeye started trying to hunt her down, eventually ending up with him and Mockingbird be captured by HYDRA. After Widow reported to Strucker about HYDRA business, Grim Reaper came in with Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Strucker attempted to execute them, but Viper advised him the advantages of holding an avenger alive and so he had them imprisoned. Widow tried to talk to Hawkeye, but he said she was dead to him and later tried to shoot her and take her on in hand-to-hand, only to fail. When Strucker attempted to kill Hawkeye with the former's satan claw, Widow stopped him by knocked him out, apologising to her former partner before escaping with Strucker.
Later it was revealed that she was in fact working secretly for Nick Fury to uncover the details of the Cosmic Cube that A.I.M. had been developing. She contacted the Avengers for help to keep the cosmic cube out of the hands of Strucker. Since only Fury knew of her undercover status and he was missing from S.H.I.E.L.D., she was still believed to be a traitor to S.H.I.E.L.D. After the Avengers' intervention in the war between HYDRA and A.I.M. over the Cosmic Cube, Hawkeye offered her to join the Avengers for protection from S.H.I.E.L.D., which she refused, fearing that they too will be at risk and danger for harbouring a triple agent from S.H.I.E.L.D. unless her name was cleared by Nick Fury. She then kissed him and disappeared in the alley. She later helped Nick Fury, Quake, and Mockingbird forewarn Iron Man of the Skrull Invasion. She was later knocked out by Queen Veranke, but later recovered.
When Galactus came to devour the planet, Black Widow united with Thor, Vision, Luke Cage, and Falcon. She planted charges on the machine while Thor, Vision, Falcon, and Luke Cage fought Air-Walker. After the Herald's defeat, Black Widow destroyed the machine.
Galactus was sent into the Negative Zone and the Avengers were hailed as Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Black Widow watched on as the Avengers' Quinjet flew towards Red Skull's location, and pursued them in her own vehicle.
Once Black Widow arrived at the destination, she assisted the Avengers in their effort to defeat Red Skull and his HYDRA army. After supposedly defeating Red Skull, Black Widow witnessed as Red Skull managed to steal Iron Man's armor and arc reactor for his own purposes. Black Widow and the Avengers approached Tony, just as he was loosing consciousness.
Black Widow accompanied the Avengers to Avengers Mansion to revive Tony. After Tony Stark was able to recover, Black Widow and the rest of the Avengers were distraught to learn that Tony had no further use for them. Black Widow left the room to talk to Hawkeye. Soon, the pair were infected by M.O.D.O.K.'s mind-control nanobots, and proceeded to fight each other.
After Iron Man was able to rid the team of M.O.D.O.K.'s nanobots, they had encountered the Red Skull and defeated him. Red Skull managed to detonate the mansion's reactor, leading the Avengers to scatter.
Now without a home, Iron Man welcomed the team to the Avengers Tower. Black Widow and the team were called to action after the Great Wall of China came to life, and flew to their next destination in the Aven-Jet Prime.
Black Widow appeared in the Season 3 two-part crossover episode with the rest of the Avengers.
Black Widow, along with Hawkeye, made their first appearances at the Disney Parks in the 2014 Avengers Super Heroes 5K and Half Marathon RunDisney event at Disneyland, which was from November 15 to November 16, 2014. Both Hawkeye and Black Widow currently appear annually at the renamed Super Heroes Half Marathon runDisney event as meet-and-greet characters.
In addition, Hawkeye and Black Widow hosted the Avengers Training Initiative show during the limited-time Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure, which ran from March 27 to September 10, 2017. She also did meet-and-greets in Disney California Adventure during the Summer of Heroes event. There are currently no plans for Black Widow to make further appearances at the Disney Parks since Disney wishes to honor the fact that Universal Studios Florida has the right to the Marvel Comics characters for the Marvel Superhero Island in the Islands of Adventure.
- Emily Blunt was originally cast as Black Widow, but she turned it down.
- Gemma Arterton, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Natalie Portman, Eliza Dushku, and Angelina Jolie were also considered for the role. Natalie Portman would later play Jane Foster in the Marvel films Thor and Thor: The Dark World and Eliza Dushku would later voice She-Hulk in the Marvel animated series, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.and Ultimate Spider-Man.