Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Black Widow.
Crafting the Black Widow post-credits scene was no easy task. The film is not only a prequel, but it takes place before the world-changing events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, so whatever gets teased at the end of Black Widow has to be something that wouldn’t feel out of place not being addressed in the two biggest Avengers movies so far. Then again, not every credits scene has to set up the future. Iron Man 3’s credits scene simply gave fans more of the “Science Bros” partnership between Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, so sometimes it’s fine to just have something that’s fun for emotional.
But when it comes to the Black Widow credits scene, why not both? The tag flashes forward quite a bit into the future after the events of Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansson) solo outing to some time following her death, and finds her sister Yelena Bolova (Florence Pugh) grieving at her grave side. It’s an emotional and poignant moment, as Natasha’s death lingers in the background of the entire proceedings of Black Widow, but is not made explicit until this precise moment. And then Julia Louis-Dreyfus shows up and literally blows snot all over Pugh’s quiet beat with her dead sister.
Indeed, Louis-Dreyfus reprises her role as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine from The Falcon in the Winter Soldier here to reveal that she’s been working with Yelena and giving her assignments. She gives her a new assignment in this moment – a target, one who was “responsible for the death of your sister,” she tells Yelena. And the camera reveals a photograph of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye before fading to black.
In the Marvel Comics, Valentina is deeply embedded in the spy world and has personal history with Nick Fury, so clearly Marvel Studios is setting up some sort of storyline for her in the MCU. But since Black Widow was originally supposed to come out before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, was this Valentina credits scene always planned this way, or was it added after Julia Louis-Dreyfus showed up in the Marvel Disney+ show Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
I asked Black Widow writer Eric Pearson when I spoke to him during a press day for the film, and he revealed this scene was indeed written and shot before Louis-Dreyfus filmed her role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which paints it in a bit of a different light.
But in talking about the Black Widow credits scene, Pearson made clear that Marvel has big plans for Valentina, and he had a blast writing the character:
“I just know that they told me we have plans to introduce this character Valentina, and it’s going to be played by Julia Louis Dreyfus. And I couldn’t get to the computer fast enough. That tag scene was probably like five pages long because I was just so greedy. I was like, I want Yelena and Valentina just back and forth, bouncing dialogue off of each other. And ultimately that’s never going to happen. You’re not going to have a full scene as a stinger at the end. So we went with the smaller version, but I was just so excited to get those two actors together, to get those two character dynamics together. And I also love taking an emotional moment, like Yelena at the grave, and then flushing it down the toilet with Valentina blowing her nose.”
Pugh had been previously announced as being part of the cast of the upcoming Marvel Disney+ series Hawkeye, and we know that Valentina also recruited Wyatt Russell’s John Walker from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’ll be interesting to see who else she assembles for her team, and to what end. Does she have some grand plan in mind? What does she have against Hawkeye? And where is Nick Fury in all of this? Like any good Marvel credits scene this one leaves us with more questions than answers, and we’re all eager to see where it’s leading.
But hearing it from the writer of Black Widow himself, this one was hatched internally at Marvel as a way to further their grand plans for Valentina and Yelena.
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