12 Biggest Ways Black Widow Changed Since Phase 1

Spoiler Warning For The Black Widow Movie

Though she doesn’t have the same stunning superpowers and abilities as her fellow heroes, Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, still manages to become one of the most significant and popular Avengers in the MCU. Debuting in Iron Man 2, Black Widow has been a huge part of the franchise since the beginning and Phase 4 of the MCU will kick off with her long-awaited solo film.

RELATED: 9 Ways The Black Widows Storyline Can Continue In The MCU

Even without a solo film, Black Widow has been a fascinating character who has managed to be intense, funny, intimidating, and heartbreaking. The character went through a lot leading up to her death in Avengers: Endgame and it will be exciting to see how else the character will grow in Black Widow.

Updated on July 30th, 2021 by Colin McCormick: After being introduced in Phase 1 of the MCU, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow finally received her own solo movie. It would appear that Black Widow will be the character’s final movie in the cinematic universe and it adds to her incredible transformation over the years. While there are some aspects of the character that have remained consistent, she has grown in many interesting ways, making her journey from Iron Man 2 all the way to Black Widow a powerful one.

12 Her Hair

All the heroes in the MCU have undergone some sort of external transformation over the years. For Natasha, her costume has remained pretty consistent since Phase 1, but her hair has been an ever-changing aspect.

While it might seem like an inconsequential change, it has been an interesting indicator of the character as well. After going on the run, Natasha’s trademark red hair was made blonde to be more inconspicuous. However, in Avengers: Endgame, she has let her hair return to red, signaling her return as an Avenger.

11 Her Weapons

Whether it’s fighting Hydra agents or aliens from space, Natasha has done surprisingly well without having superpowers. Her biggest asset in combat is her highly skilled fighting style, but she does use the occasional weapon from time to time.

While Phase 1 shows Natasha mostly just using guns in a fight, her arsenal gets gradually upgraded with more spy weapons. With their electroshock blasts, her stingers can be quite effective. In later movies, like Black Widow, she is seen wielding batons which add to her impressive arsenal.

10 Her Allegiances

Natasha is first introduced as one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s top agents and a loyal member of the spy organization. However, as time goes on, she realizes that such organizations are problematic and it’s best to be a hero on her own terms.

RELATED: Black Widow’s 10 Best Allies, Ranked

She becomes a close ally to Captain America, serving as his right hand in running the Avengers. Those loyalties also get tested during Captain America: Civil War when she chooses to side with Tony Stark in a bit of a surprising move. However, she ends up switching sides again, helping Cap free his comrades from prison before going on the run with them.

9 Her Skills As A Super Spy

Natasha is introduced as an incredibly skilled secret agent who has fooled some pretty impressive targets. She infiltrated Tony Stark’s inner circle, making him think she is just a pretty assistant. Then she actually manipulates Loki in an interrogation.

Those impressive spy skills get used less as the universe grows bigger. Her sleuth ways are not as useful when they are battling robots and Thanos, so she just becomes a badass fighter. However, they do make a reappearance as she uses a similar technique on Dreykov in Black Widow.

8 Her Relationship With Hawkeye

Black Widow and Hawkeye on Vormir in Avengers Endgame

Though she is close with other members of the team, Natasha shares the strongest bond with Hawkeye. Their relationship goes back further than their story in the MCU and they genuinely care for each other. However, the nature of that relationship changed over time.

At first, it seemed to be that a romance was hinted at between these two. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha is even seen wearing an arrow necklace. However, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it is shown that Hawkeye is married and Natasha is a close family friend.

7 Her Romances

Bruce Banner and Black Widow

The MCU has never handled romances flawlessly, and Natasha seems like a good example of when these kinds of relationships seem forced. After hinting at a romance between Natasha and Hawkeye, there is a little bit more of a hint that she and Steve Rogers might be an item. The two even share a kiss, albeit a strategic one.

Finally, she has a legitimate romance with Bruce Banner. However, all of this seems very unnecessary and like the filmmakers were thinking the only female Avenger must have a boyfriend. Thankfully, any future romances were abandoned.

6 Black Widow As A Tragic Character


Natasha started out as one of the heroes who seemed to ground the team. There were a lot of big egos clashing in the Avengers and she was the one who kept a level head without ever exposing too much of her true self.

RELATED: 8 Ways Black Widow Is A Worthy Send-Off For Natasha Romanoff

Eventually, that hard exterior is chipped away and it is revealed that she is one of the more tragic heroes in the MCU. When trained to become a Soviet spy, Natasha was sterilized and forced to murder. Despite her cool demeanor, she has suffered greatly. Black Widow dives deeper into this trauma while also allowing her to face those demons of her past.

5 Her Redemption

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow Natasha Romanoff in Captain America Civil War

In The Avengers, Natasha remarks that “I have red in my ledger,” referring to her dark past. Though she is a proven hero many times in the MCU, she is always looking for that redemption.

The things she has done in the past still haunt her and she seems like she will never rest until she is able to make up for those crimes. Black Widow directly speaks to these past sins, specifically the truth about Dreykov’s daughter. It gives Natasha the opportunity to own up to her sins and try to make them better.

4 Her Life In The Shadows

Black Widow with longer hair in Avengers Endgame

Natasha is first seen as someone who operates in the shadows. Anonymity is important for her job and no one really knows who she is. It is an interesting juxtaposition to the more dramatic, flashy superheroes she shares the screen with.

Eventually, that stealth aspect of her personality fades away. She exposes herself to the world in order to defeat Hydra, another example of how she will sacrifice her own well-being to do the right thing.

3 Her Relationship With The Avengers

Again, Natasha can be a hard person to read. Her days of being a super spy have led her to guard a lot of herself. But as time goes on, the truth about what she is looking for and what the Avengers mean to her becomes clear.

She becomes the Avenger who is trying her best to put the pieces back together when Steve and Tony have their falling out. And when “The Blip” happens, Natasha really shows how much she cares about these people and how she would do anything to protect them.

2 Her Backstory

Black Widow in a field at the end of the movie.

Without her own solo movie, Natasha’s backstory was never fully explored in the previous MCU movies. There were small details scattered around until Avengers: Age of Ultron revealed more of her dark past in the Red Room.

However, Black Widow dives right into her past and answers many of those lingering questions, including her mission in Budapest and the truth about Dreykov’s daughter. Most importantly, it reveals Natasha’s first family and mends those broken bonds between them.

1 Her Legacy As Black Widow

A group of Black Widows poinining guns

While she wore the title of Black Widow as an Avengers, Natasha is hardly the only Black Widow out there. In many ways, the term felt villainous as these agents were used to carry out deadly missions all over the world.

However, in Black Widow, Natasha helps to change the perception of that name. By bringing down Dreykov and the Red Room, she freed the other Black Widows. This also helped set up her “little sister” Yelena to become Black Widow now that Natasha is gone.

NEXT: 10 Places Yelena Could Appear Next In The MCU After Black Widow

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