Just out of seeing Black Widow at the Vue Cinema at Leicester Square, and the biggest question I've been getting is if there's a mid-credit or post-credit scene in the movie. Well, yes. Yes, there is. But you'll have to wait until the very end, there is no mid-credit scene to ease the journey. You will get to see credits for everyone from Paul Cornell to JC Lee if you wait long enough though. It is not a spoiler to say that while Black Widow is very much alive for the movie, it is set before the events of Avengers: Endgame in which she died so that Hawkeye could get the Soul Stone to defeat Thanos. Well, the post-credit scene is set after the end of Avengers: Endgame. Time for that big spoiler warning I reckon.
Okay, the scene at the end sees Yelena with her dog Fanny (a reference to secret identities arranged for spies in the film) visiting Natasha's grave, with the inscription Sister, Daughter, Avenger, and the Black Widow logo, covered in tributes from many. As she mourns, you hear someone else's nose blow. Sherlock style, you are waiting for Natasha to emerge. But she does not.
Instead, it's Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played again by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, last seen recruiting John Walker in The Falcon & The Winter Soldier. Spoilers for that too, I guess. And she has a mission for a new Black Widow Yelena who is still continuing to be an assassin. The Contessa is clearly collecting such folk. Yelena complains that she's not supposed to be bothered on her time off. The Contessa asks "Maybe you'd like a shot at the man responsible for your sister's death" and we see a picture of Clint Barton, Hawkeye. Which makes this the first time a post-credit sequence is setting up a TV show, the upcoming Hawkeye on Disney+. One in which Yelena is, basically, now confirmed to be a character. And not a friendly one. But why does Yelena believe Hawkeye is responsible for the death of the Black Widow? You could make a case but it's not a strong one. More machinations from The Countessa? Or self-flagellation from Clint? More to come.
In the comics, The Contessa was created by Jim Steranko for Strange Tales #159 back in 1967, a SHIELD agent and lover of Nick Fury, she was revealed to be a Russian sleeper agent, but more double agent work also saw her pose as Madame Hydra and pit Hydra against Leviathan. Of late she managed to get Norman Osborne in charge of the Ravencroft Institute. Her loyalties have never been well tied down. But as a result of Black Widow and Falcon & The Winter Soldier, it seems like she is doing a similar job to Nick Fury, putting together her own Avengers… or something far worse. Might we see more of that in Hawkeye? As for the film, I'll talk more about that later. But whoever told Ray Winstone he could do an effective Russian accent needs sending to the gulag… Black Widow from Marvel Studios is in cinemas from today and on Disney+ from Friday.