Welcome back to our first-ever Women’s Month Series! Throughout the month of March, we will be highlighting different women in pop culture — fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — who we think exemplify accurate and honest portrayals of women in the mainstream media and use their voices to empower and uplift.
One of the original six Avengers, Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, was introduced to the MCU in the third MCU film, Iron Man 2, and was the third of the six to be introduced. Cunning and formidable from the start, Natasha’s arc was about redemption and the power of found family.
A former Russian spy turned Avenger, Natasha always held her own amongst the superhumans and Gods, typically saving one or all of them at one point or another. She kept her cool, pieced together the puzzle pieces of some of the biggest roadblocks the Avengers faced, and was always the voice of reason for the team. She also had no issues in fessing up to her mistakes, including signing the Sokovia Accords and ultimately helping Steve and Bucky escape, even though it meant becoming a war criminal herself.
When the fate of the world was in the balance, without hesitation Natasha made her sacrificial choice. While it’s a hotly debated subject — Natasha or Clint — in the end, Natasha’s decision was based around both her unhindered sense of responsibility to utilize her second chance at life to keep others safe, but also the deep love she had for her friends. Likely considering the family that Clint Barton was so vehemently praying to be reunited with, Natasha made the decision that if one of them had to die to save the world, it had to be her — a decision fans and Clint Barton himself are still angry about.
Natasha’s story proved that our past doesn’t have to define us, no matter how unsavory it may be. She will be sorely missed as the MCU continues without her, but the threads she wove each and every hero and person she met alike will continue her story.
You can watch all of Natasha’s MCU appearances on Disney+, and see the aftermath of her death prominently in Hawkeye, which featured both her best friend, Clint and her sister, Yelena, having to come to terms with Natasha’s Endgame decision.