How Did Natasha Get Away At the End of 'Black Widow'?

The ending of the movie left us with a pretty big plot hole — a plot hole that was apparently left there on purpose



Marvel Studios

(This article contains spoilers for the literal ending of “Black Widow.” So if you don’t want to know about the end of the movie, then you should not read this article)

At long last, Natasha Romanoff has gotten her own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in theaters and on Disney+, after more than a decade of playing the sidekick. Scarlett Johansson has played a significant role (not cameos) in eight MCU movies, including “Black Widow,” which is a mark that only Robert Downey Jr. can match — and he had the advantage of having three “Iron Man” movies to headline.

Since Natasha died in “Avengers: Endgame,” “Black Widow” of course takes place before that film. It picks up immediately after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” with Natasha on the run after the Avengers wrecked that airport in Germany. She reunites with her old “The Americans”-style former spy family, goes on a big adventure to take down the Red Room, and then escapes General Ross and his army cronies once more and heads out to help Steve Rogers break all the other members of #TeamCap out of prison.

But it’s not a clean escape. “Black Widow” ends with Natasha standing amid the wreckage of the Red Room, her family and the other Widows safely away as black government SUVs approach. Then the movie cuts to black, before giving us a brief “two weeks later” bonus scene in which Natasha’s smuggler pal gifts her a quinjet.

How did she get away? There is not, as far as we know, an answer to this question. Here’s what “Black Widow” director Cate Shortland said when we asked her about that.

“That was intentional, because we wanted to leave the question of how she would get away, rather than allow the audience to get exhausted by another fight,” director Cate Shortland told TheWrap.

“We wanted to leave you guys on a high with the question of how did she use her ingenuity? Because she did. And it was probably, I would say, she bargained her way out of that situation. But I don’t know.”

What we would normally take away from this is that we’ll find out what happened there in a later movie. Perhaps when we catch up with Yelena (Florence Pugh) in the “Hawkeye” show on Disney+. But since the events of “Black Widow” will be very old news in the present narrative — it takes place about seven years before “Avengers: Endgame” — it doesn’t seem like a topic that will have much reason to come up. But it is something that Clint would probably end up knowing about, so if there’s any place where this whole deal might get cleared up, it’s on “Hawkeye.”

Otherwise, our best guess is that Natasha offered that mind control antidote as a trade, though it’s not clear how much use that would have for General Ross and co. since this is the first time in the MCU we’ve seen this specific form of control. Yelena takes great pains to point out that Natasha had undergone mental conditioning rather than chemical mind control — Bucky likewise was controlled by Hydra using mental conditioning, so we wouldn’t think he would benefit from it. But it’s no doubt something that the remnants of SHIELD would want either way.

But we don’t know. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long to find out. But for the time being, it’ll be much more fun to break down the post-credits scene, which features an appearance by a new-ish character who looks to be pretty important to the big picture of the MCU.

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