Black Widow Character Posters May Reveal A Major Secret

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) came to a thundering crescendo in April 2019 when Avengers: Endgame was released. With the biggest crossover in cinematic history behind it, one might think the studio would need a break — but one would be wrong, as a huge slate of movies and TV series have been announced for 2020 and beyond.

First on that list is a long-awaited project from Mighty Marvel. In May 2020, fans will finally get a solo vehicle for the original female Avenger, as Black Widow (which takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and AVengers: Infinity War) will hit the big screen. Scarlett Johansson will reprise her role as the Russian assassin turned superhero Natasha Romanoff, and for the first time, we'll also get a glimpse into her past via appearances by her "family," which includes Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and the Red Guardian (David Harbour).

Marvel fans will remember the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which it was revealed that the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. organization had been infiltrated up to the highest levels by HYDRA agents. Thought to have been destroyed by Cap (Chris Evans) during his first film when he took down the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), HYDRA kept operating in the shadows, using the cover of S.H.I.E.L.D. to carry out covert operations in direct opposition to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s agenda. At the end of The Winter Soldier, Natasha dumped all the S.H.I.E.L.D. files online, exposing the involvement of HYDRA within the organization; however, it now appears as though perhaps they weren't completely wiped out — as apparently revealed by Black Widow's recently released character posters.

Is an old enemy coming back to life?

A keen Redditor spotted some scintillating evidence in the Black Widow character posters that could not only herald the return of the evil organization, but could also ruin the family relationship between Natasha and her sisters. User Pretend-Wedding posted on Reddit that the posters of Yelena Belova and Melina Vostokoff contain some words that could potentially turn out to be a worry for Natasha during the happy family reunion the Black Widow trailer seems to show her enjoying.

The user pointed out that Belova and Vostokoff's posters contain Russian phrases which translate to "From the darkness" and "Towards the light" — phrases which were used to activate sleeper HYDRA agents in the TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.The intrepid Reddtor then spelled out the obvious connotation: that Romanoff's supposed allies are actually HYDRA agents.

Not everyone on the subreddit was convinced. Some fans feel it's a complete stretch to think that Black Widow will directly lift one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plot points, as the series has become increasingly separated from the films of the MCU; others were skeptical due to the fact that the HYDRA storyline is pretty much done at this point. Still, it is a storyline that Natasha herself was a major part of, as she worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. long before the Avengers existed, and she hasn't yet had her own story told onscreen. She was also instrumental in taking HYDRA down at the end of The Winter Soldier, working with Captain America to uncover the truth and ultimately sacrificing the secrets of her own past in revealing the information publicly.

How likely is the return of HYDRA?

With Natasha's "family" all trained as spies and assassins, it wouldn't be that much of a reach to think that they could have been in cahoots with HYDRA — and that somehow, they were able to avoid the fallout of The Winter Soldier and remain undercover. Given that their Red Room conditioning is likely to be stronger than any family bond (real or fabricated) would be, we wouldn't be surprised to discover that this happy family reunion might have some rather unhappy twists and turns in the road before the credits roll on Black Widow.

While some fans may be a little skeptical about the possibility of HYDRA returning to the MCU, the trailer for the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier contains hints that the organization may be back in action. Given that HYDRA has already come back from the dead once before, there's a real possibility that Natasha seeking refuge with her family after the somewhat unpleasant events of Captain America: Civil War could turn very ugly very quickly.

With the sudden appearance of an iconic Marvel comics villain in the form of Taskmaster, will Nat be up against him alone? Will she have her sisters fighting alongside her? Or will Yelena and Melina join forces with the enemy? Is this perhaps just another false trail laid by Marvel to capture the attention of the most detail oriented among us? Only time will tell, and fans are just going to have to wait until May to find out.