The Ultimate “Black Widow” MCU Watch Order

Black Widow Watch Order

We’re back with even more of our Phase Four watch orders with our ultimate Black Widow guide.  Thankfully, unlike our extremely complex options for Spider-Man: No Way Home, this one is much more straight forward.

The long awaited Black Widow film did not have an easy journey making it to our screens.  She and Hawkeye were the only two original Avengers that didn’t have establishing solo films in Phase One.  This felt like a major disservice to both characters, but especially Black Widow as she was the only woman on the original team.  Then when the film was finally given the green light, a combination of controversy from the lead of the film and extreme delays due the pandemic made the atmosphere surrounding it rather strange.  Still, despite this it remained highly anticipated regardless and the film’s release became a rallying point for MCU fans longing to get back together.

 

This was the first MCU film to hit screens after the pandemic shutdown of movie theaters was lifted (though the pandemic is still ongoing at the time of this writing).  In the long run, it felt right to have our first film back in theaters be something that tied in so closely with how the MCU started so many years ago.  It felt like a farewell, but also a welcome home.  It was a transition into a new world both in our real lives and the lives of these characters.

 

While some of the transition from the Infinity Saga into Phase Four may be lost on new fans, it’s still a great place to begin the journey into the MCU.  You focus on one of the main characters and launch into new content through some of the new content introduced in the film.  So jump in and have fun!

An Intro to Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff is first introduced as an assistant in the second Iron Man film.  At the time, she operates under the name “Natalie Rushman.”  It’s soon revealed that she’s actually an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D working undercover, and she soon becomes a crucial founding member of the newly forming Avengers team.  Her backstory is told in pieces throughout all four phases of the MCU, with her titular film coming last and filling in many gaps about her early life.

Romanoff is one of the world’s most talented assassins, having trained in the infamous ‘Red Room,’ and is drafted into S.H.I.E.L.D. by Clint Barton, who was sent to eliminate her.  These two characters remain incredibly close during their tenure with the Avengers.  They are paired up on numerous missions throughout the course of the franchise.  She’s shown to be close with his family as well.

As her story is told out of order in the series and given to us in pieces, it’s difficult to avoid spoilers for her story when watching it sequentially.  That said, it is a very intriguing story regardless of this issue.  When taken as a whole, her story is incredibly compelling.

Beyond Black Widow:
MCU Complete Watch Order

This article is part of an ongoing Phase 4 series that will highlight each property in a way that makes it accessible to newbies, and also provide a fun rewatch orders for long-time fans.  We’ll be posting articles for all the Phase 4 content thus far, as well as suggested rewatch orders for upcoming properties.  We also have the complete rewatch order, which will be updated throughout the year.

So stay tuned, because there’s a lot more coming after this one!

Short Watch Order

Who Should Watch: Long-time fans who need a quick refresher.

If you’ve ever read my other recommendations before you know I’m not a big fan of recommending the Legends episodes to newbies. I usually preface it by saying you can if you want to just have the basics.  But goodness, this time around I want to scream “DON’T DO IT!”  The episode is only 8 minutes long and it’s just the one, so it leaves a lot out.  You will absolutely lose the impact of her story if this is all you watch.

That said, this certainly exists.  You can watch it if you want to.  But you probably won’t find her story nearly as compelling if this is all you watch before jumping into her film.

Long Watch Order – Release Order

Who Should Watch: Newbies and long-time fans who want to understand Natasha Romanoff as a character.

This is a very basic watch order that follows the release order.  I’ll make note of places where you can add other films as you see fit, but it’s really difficult to skip any of the main films and understand Natasha’s character arc.  Each film shows a different aspect of her character as she interacts with various others and completes different missions, so removing one will leave a hole in her story.

Watch Order

  • Iron Man 2

This is Black Widow’s first appearance in the MCU, though we don’t get her full title at the time.  If you want more context specifically for the film, you can watch the first Iron Man as well, though Natasha doesn’t appear in that one. 

  • The Avengers

The first Avengers film will throw a bunch new characters at you, but it’s designed to be watched for fans who may have skipped some of the other films, so you shouldn’t have any problems keeping up.  In fact, if the film did its job you may want to go back and watch some of the other origin films you missed.  Feel free to do that! before continuing on! Especially the first Captain America film, as the next film after this one is one of his.

  • Captain America: The Winter SoldierBlack Widow Movie SDCC

Black Widow is a major supporting character in Captain America’s second film.  If you went back and watched his first film for context for this one, it’ll be helpful.  But it’s still possible to enjoy the film without it.

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron

This is always a tricky one to add to any watch list because it has an abnormally high number of problematic elements.  Feel free to read about them here.  But it is crucial to the ongoing story and marks a major turning point in the Infinity Saga.

  • Avengers: Infinity War

This film is the culmination of all the Infinity Saga films that came before it, so you’re going to see a lot of characters you don’t know here.  But that’s the down side of doing a mini watch.  You’ll still be able to understand and appreciate the larger ongoing story, at least, so it’s not all lost.

  • Avengers: Endgame

You’ve made it to the highest grossing film of all time (most of the time… when Avatar isn’t re-releasing to steal that spot back, anyway).

  • Black Widow

You made it!

Long Watch Order – Timeline Order

Who Should Watch: Newbies and long-time fans who want to understand Natasha Romanoff as a character.  Be warned that you should NOT watch the end credit scene for Black Widow if you are a newbie until after you’ve seen Endgame.

The chronological order of this one is basically the same except for the Black Widow film itself.  But please do NOT watch the end credit scene for Black Widow until you’ve seen Endgame.  Yes, I warned for this in the “Who Should Watch” section, but I just want it to be clear because it’s a major spoiler.  I know people have a habit of skimming articles, so if I repeat myself, hopefully you skimmers will see it at least once.

Watch Order

  • Iron Man 2

 

  • The Avengers

 

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron

 

  • Black Widow

I’m going to warn for a third time about the end credit scene.  Don’t watch it yet.  Stop at the credits.

  • Avengers: Infinity War

 

  • Avengers: Endgame

 

  • Black Widow End Credit Scene

Okay, NOW you may watch the end credit scene.  You’ve made it!

Black Widow Extended Watch – The Yelena Continuation

  • Hawkeye

If you’re like the rest of us, you fell in love with Yelena Belova.  She is basically the new Black Widow, so if you want to continue this watch, you can continue with her content going forward.  She’s very likely to be a major component of Phase Four and beyond, so this is a great segue into that content.

As mentioned previously, Hawkeye is also central to Black Widow’s story, so if you’ve enjoyed them together so far, jumping into his solo series is a logical next step.  I’ll be making a Hawkeye watch order at some point so keep an eye on the masterpost for the watch orders here.  It’ll be a little more complicated than this one, however, as it dips into the Netflix content a bit.

Now You’re Ready for Black Widow

Welcome to the MCU.  You’ve chosen Black Widow as your gateway into the larger franchise and we’re happy to have you! If you want to see what else we have to offer, check out our MCU Watch Order masterlist and dive right in!

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.


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