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Black Widow's Post-Credits Scene Is Seriously Revealing

Contains spoilers for "Black Widow"

Marvel's "Black Widow" fills in Natasha Romanoff's (Scarlett Johansson) backstory — and along the way, it sets up lots of juicy possibilities when it comes to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The post-credits sequence in particular ties together the stories of "Black Widow," "Avengers: Endgame," "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," and the upcoming "Hawkeye" series, paving the way for a seriously involved small-screen situation within the MCU.

"Black Widow" is set after the events of 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" and prior to those of 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War," but the film's post-credits scene takes viewers to an entirely different section of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's timeline. After the credits roll, the extra scene of the new film jumps forward in time to the world after "Avengers: Endgame," focusing on Nat's sister figure Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) in Ohio, the shared childhood locale of her and Natasha. She's mourning Nat, who gave her life to secure the Soul Stone on Vormir during the time heist event in "Endgame." While Yelena is standing in front of Nat's grave, a woman approaches her. It's Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), also known as Madame Hydra, also also known as the woman who recruited John Walker (Wyatt Russell) to her cause in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldiier." Val is looking to set Yelena on an ill-advised roaring rampage of revenge, which could shake the MCU.

How does Yelena factor in to the Hawkeye series?

Variety confirmed back in December 2020 that Florence Pugh is set to reprise her "Black Widow" role in the upcoming "Hawkeye" TV show, starring Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton and MCU newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, Clint's protégé. Based on what Val says to Yelena in the post-credits sequence of "Black Widow," it seems likely that she won't be showing up to help our heroes.

After Yelena chides Val for interrupting her during her vacation, Val gets straight to the point. "Maybe you'd like a shot at the man responsible for your sister's death," the Contessa says, before handing Yelena a tablet showing a photo of Clint Barton. "Kind of a cutie, don't you think?" It's certainly a bit of a stretch to call Clint "responsible" for Natasha's death — despite the fact that they were both on Vormir and in having Nat sacrifice herself, Clint got to live — but the triple agent Madame Hydra isn't known for being a straight-shooter.

We can infer from this interaction that Yelena has come to work for the Contessa, much like John Walker did at the end of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." It seems Val is amassing a team of killers much like General Dreykov's (Ray Winstone) Black Widows. A new power player is already taking his place in the MCU espionage world, and she might even have something to do with the Secret Invasion.

The Contessa was supposed to make her MCU premiere much earlier

Julia Louis-Dreyfus' appearance in the "Black Widow" post-credits scene was definitely unexpected, but it wasn't quite as surprising as it was originally supposed to be; though Louis-Dreyfus' turn in the first MCU film since 2019 was a shock to many fans, MCU viewers already knew her as the Contessa from the Disney+ Marvel series "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Louis-Dreyfus, fresh off of her Emmy-winning turn as Vice President turned President Selina Meyer in HBO's "Veep," was set to join the MCU during the post-credits scene of "Black Widow," but thanks to the global health crisis, movie theaters shuttered en masse across the globe as social distancing and quarantines became the norm. After months of delays, "Black Widow" finally hit theaters and Disney+, but by that time, MCU fans had already seen Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa in multiple episodes of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."

In the series focused on Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Louis-Dreyfus appears to entice the newly minted — and newly disgraced — Captain America, John Walker — into an entirely new career after his title is stripped away in the aftermath of a seriously traumatic event. Clearly, Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa is positioned as a powerful force in the MCU, no matter where fans saw her first.

You can watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus in both "Black Widow," which is available to stream for $29.99 on Disney+, or in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," which is available as part of the original collection on the streamer.