'Black Widow' Credits Scene Explained: What Does This Mean For The Future Of The MCU?

Marvel Studios is back on the big screen with the release of Black Widow in theaters this weekend. Though you can also catch the movie on Disney+ Premier Access, it's about time you ushered in your return to movie theaters with some Marvel blockbuster action. Along with everything you love about returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a tease of what's to come in the future, with a Black Widow credits scene that specifically sets the stage for an upcoming Marvel Studios project.

Major spoilers for Black Widow ahead.

Black Widow Credits Scene Explained

Though most of Black Widow takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War (with the exception of the film's opening sequence and credits with a young Natasha Romanoff and her adoptive assassin family), the post-credits scene of the movie flashes forward to some time after the death of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers: Endgame.

Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) pays a visit to Natasha's grave, situated under a cherry blossom tree, likely inspired by where the Red Room mastermind Dreykov (Ray Winstone) said Natasha's biological mother was buried. On the tombstone, it says "Daughter, Sister, Avenger," and Yelena takes a moment of silence as she seemingly visits this grave for the first time.

But that touching scene is interrupted by some sniffling and sarcasm from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who appears as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, a new character who debuted during Marvel's The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series on Disney+. After hypothesizing that she's allergic to the Midwest (I hear ya, Contessa), an annoyed Yelena says she's not supposed to be bothered by Contessa when she's on holiday. At some point between now and the events of Black Widow, the former Red Room agent started working for this mysterious woman.

However, Contessa has some intriguing information that might convince Yelena to give up her holiday. She says, "Maybe you'd like a shot at the man responsible for your sister's death," and she proceeds to hand her a tablet with a photo on it. Pictured is none other than Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. Then Contessa adds her trademark playful banter by saying, "Kind of a cutie, don't you think?"

Who is Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine?

If you're one of the people out there who didn't watch The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (you really should, because it's certainly worth your time), we'll explain who this Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine character is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe now.

During the Marvel Studios Disney+ series, Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine shows up to recruit the recently disgraced John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who was chosen as the new Captain America, but ended up losing his mind and being discharged from service. She acts like a shady version of Nick Fury who suddenly comes along as if she's forming some kind of anti-hero version of The Avengers she can call upon for presumably nefarious activity. Some have speculated that she might be building a version of Thunderbolts. Either way, now that we know she's also recruited Yelena Belova, it's clear she wants some kind of reliable team to do her dirty work.

In Marvel Comics, Contessa has a long history with Nick Fury and SHIELD, including having a romance with the former head of the defunct government agency. In the Secret Invasion comic arc, she's revealed to be a Skrull who was spying on Nick Fury, which may hint at Valentina having a key role in the upcoming Marvel series of the same name that will adapt that comic book storyline for Disney+. There are also several other intriguing possibilities that you can read about over here.

What Does the Black Widow Credits Scene Mean for the MCU?

The Black Widow credits scene is clearly a set-up for Marvel's upcoming Hawkeye series coming to Disney+. Jeremy Renner is reprising his role as the titular Avenger and combat archery master, and we had already heard that Florence Pugh would also be among the cast of that series. What we didn't know was that she would be seeking out Hawkeye on a mission of revenge.

Though fans know that Hawkeye isn't technically responsible for Natasha's death, we're sure Contessa isn't going to give Yelena all of the details. But why does Contessa want Yelena to get rid of Hawkeye? Is he standing in the way of something she's trying to achieve? That's something that may be answered in the Hawkeye series. We're also wondering how Contessa found out what happened on Vormir when only Hawkeye, Black Widow and Red Skull were there? Perhaps that's more evidence that she's a Skrull with ears all over the universe.

This could potentially be disastrous for Hawkeye, especially since the series will find him training Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in the ways of the archer. With Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff all out of commission, could Clint Barton be the next to join them? Tony Stark already has a proxy in the form of Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and there's also the Ironheart series coming up soon. Steve Rogers passed the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), and Natasha Romanoff can easily be replaced by Yelena Bolova. So maybe it's time for Hawkeye to step down (or get taken out) and let Kate Bishop pick up the bow and arrow. After all, she is part of the Young Avengers in Marvel Comics, so maybe it's their time to shine.

Then again, a major Marvel Cinematic Universe event like that may not happen in the Marvel Studios TV shows. Though Marvel's new shows on Disney+ have much more direct ties to the MCU than any previous TV project, the events of these shows probably don't need to be seen in order to keep up with the movies.

After Avengers: Endgame, any casual viewer would be able to understand that Sam Wilson is the new Captain America without seeing The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Wanda Maximoff's new status as the Scarlet Witch can be explained with exposition in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So whatever happens in Hawkeye, it's not likely to have massive ramifications for the rest of the MCU. Though there's the possibility of that changing if the events of Loki end up being rather drastic by the end of the show's finale next week.

For now, we can expect Yelena Bolova to give Hawkeye some trouble, but more than likely they'll end up working together. Fans are expecting Yelena to take on the mantle of Black Widow in the wake of Natasha Romanoff's death, which could make her one of the Young Avengers, if not a full-fledged Avenger when all is said and done. But can these up-and-coming characters maintain the interest of Marvel fans after the incredible run of The Infinity Saga? We'll find out soon enough.

Black Widow is in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access right now, and Hawkeye is expected to arrive this year.