‘Black Widow’: What Is Natasha Romanoff’s Real Name?

Black Widow, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in several MCU films, is set to appear in a standalone flick in May 2020. The beloved comic book character seemingly met her end in Avengers: Endgame, but there was apparently always a plan to bring Black Widow back to the big screen in her own film. And her background is going to be important. In fact, It looks like MCU aficionados will learn a lot about Black Widow’s history in the upcoming movie, but ahead of its release, let’s figure out what her real name actually is.

When did Black Widow first show up in the MCU?

Black Widow has become a fan favorite in recent years, but the character showed up pretty early on in the MCU. In fact, she made her debut in Iron Man 2. Screenrant reminds fans that Black Widow first appeared as an undercover spy masquerading as Tony Stark’s assistant. Eventually, Tony and fans were let in on a little secret; the assistant known as Natalie Rushman was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D agent.

Johansson reprised the role in 2012 in The Avengers, and then again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Black Widow was particularly crucial in several MCU films, and in Avengers: Endgame she pays the ultimate price to save the universe. The death scene allows Black Widow’s story to come full circle, argues the crew and her death shows just how much she developed as a hero.  

Picking a character to make the ultimate sacrifice apparently wasn’t easy, but Black Widow’s decision to save the universe felt fitting. Now, her story will continue on in a standalone flick. While she’ll no longer appear in other MCU tales, the independent movie is much anticipated. There is still one nagging question; what is her real name?

Black Widow’s real name is complicated

Black Widow was first introduced into the MCU as Natalie Rushman. Rushman was an alias as she was masquerading as an assistant. She later revealed herself as Natasha Romanoff, a former KGB operative who was recruited to be a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Her full name, however, in the comic book world is Natalia Alianovna Romanova.  

Black Widow’s comic book origin story is markedly different than the storyline that is followed in the cinematic universe. Black Widow was actually involved in an arranged marriage. According to Screenrant, the KGB connected Romanoff to Alexei Shostakov. The marriage later ended when Shostakov was assigned to a secret operative program.

So, why does she go by Natasha Romanoff instead of her birth name, Natalia Romanova? The answer is simple. As an operative, she has to evade those who wish her harm. The name change was a way to escape her dark and dangerous past.

What time period will Black Widow cover?

Set for a May 1 release date, the full plot for Black Widow is not yet known, but a few trailers have revealed some details, like the timeline of the film. It looks as though the film will take place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity Wars.

NME notes that David Harbour admitted the events of Captain America: Civil War will play a significant role in Black Widow. The film will be set directly after Captain America: Civil War, so it’s assumed that everything that happened in that movie will still factor into Black Widow’s storyline. Johansson also noted that she wants fans to see the more flawed side of Black Widow, so the film looks like to include a lot of her darker backstory.