Could Black Widow Lead The Avengers Heading Into Avengers: Infinity War?


(Note: This article contains fairly hefty spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, including discussion about the very last scene before the credits. If you still haven’t seen it and need a spoiler-free review, you can find one here. Otherwise, read on, but be forewarned!)

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At the conclusion of The Avengers, all of the team members go their separate ways. Nick Fury reassures Maria Hill that if necessary, they will assemble again, because “we’ll need them to.”

It’s a different story in the final scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron, because while Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye all depart again — not to mention the Hulk, who has attempted to strand himself as far away from the rest of humanity as possible — Captain America and Black Widow remain. They’re the two heroes who don’t seem to have any purpose outside of their work in costume, a theme that was hammered home especially hard for Steve Rogers during the movie.

Their next task is to make a team out of a new group of Avengers, one that features Vision, Scarlet Witch (sorry, I’m still calling her that), War Machine and Falcon. It’s a powerful bunch, though one definitely in need of molding, as in Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity, all of them are relative neophytes.

One would assume that these Avengers, should they be called into action, will be led by Captain America. Steve is a natural leader, someone around whom others naturally rally, as well as a skilled tactician and the team’s moral compass. You have to figure Natasha will do her part to train up the newbies, but that she’d be just fine with Steve calling the shots.

Ah, but what if Steve isn’t around? That’s more than just a hypothetical question, as it’s widely assumed that Rogers might be out of action by the end of Captain America: Civil War. There’s both a practical reason for it to happen (namely, to give Chris Evans a chance to do something else for a bit), and a storyline goal, which would be to make the return of the original six Avengers that much more meaningful when it happens in Avengers: Infinity War Pt. II.

If Steve is written out for a bit, someone else will no doubt carry the shield for him, just as Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have in the comics. But neither man has a ton of experience in the MCU, as we’ve noted, and any other heroes the team might pick up between now and the next Avengers flick, like Black Panther or Ant-Man, would be logical choices to lead Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

(Sidebar: yes, Black Panther is king of Wakanda, but there’s a difference between ruling a kingdom and ordering super heroes into battle.)

That leaves Black Widow as the natural choice to give the orders once we get to Avengers: Infinity War Pt. I. She’s battle tested, having been through both the Battle of New York and the showdown with Ultron. She’s also got a great tactical mind, and there’s even precedent for her as leader of the Avengers, as Natasha’s comics counterpart served as chairperson of the Avengers and the head of the Champions as well.

There are still plenty of moving parts in the MCU, and it’s possible all of the theories about what will happen to Steve will turn out to be incorrect. I could also see Civil War leading to a situation where Iron Man ends up in charge of the Avengers, though I think it’s more likely he, too, will be off the board until Infinity War Pt. II.

Still, for all the fans who would love to see a Black Widow solo movie, this might be the next best thing. Natasha leading the Avengers? I think that would be a pretty popular move, and one we just might see take shape.

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