(Warning: The following contains possible — albeit entirely speculative — SPOILERS for future movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and in particular the eagerly awaited 'Black Widow' solo movie. Proceed with whatever level of caution your training as a covert operative suggests is wise.)
Now, with the news that Black Widow should soon be finally (finally) getting her own solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe still settling in, you might think that it's far too early to speculate as to just what such a movie will entail. However, with plot elements both practical and romantic already coming under preemptive scrutiny, perhaps it's already time to start examining just what we could see Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff get up to in her long-awaited solo movie.
What that ultimately turns out to be, however, may not be quite what we thought. In fact...
Could Black Widow's Solo Movie See Her Become A Traitor?
Or, at least, be perceived to be one by her closest allies and the US government?
As it turns out, there's a lot more comic book precedent for such a move than you'd think. Now, one the one hand, the mainstream Marvel comic book universe has always been more than happy to have Black Widow play both sides of the Cold War divide, with Natasha originally being a straight-up Russian spy, who eventually defected to the West.
Since then, she has periodically been thrown into situations where she has appeared to have gone rogue once again — never more so than in Marvel's Ultimate universe (an alternate comic book reality upon which the MCU was heavily based), in which it turned out that she actually was working for the Russians all along.
Yup, that's right...
A Comic Book Version Of Black Widow Was A Traitor All Along
Now, the Ultimate version of Black Widow was, in many ways, very different to the hero we know and love today (for one thing, she was set to marry Tony Stark), but her betrayal of that universe's Avengers-equivalent "Ultimates" carried with it a similar level of shock value that it would in the MCU.
The big question that raises, though?
Just How Would A Traitorous Black Widow Work In The MCU, Though?
Well, for one thing, she almost certainly wouldn't actually turn out to be a traitor. Natasha is, after all, a veritable fan-favorite, and having her go fully off the reservation would likely be a step too far, even for the increasingly adventurous MCU. That, though, doesn't mean that we couldn't see her be framed as a double agent, and abandoned by her closest friends and allies — a theme that was gently touched upon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Cap showing some doubts about her loyalty early on.
Could Helmut Zemo return, perhaps, with a cunning plan to once again turn the Avengers against one another, this time one by one? After all, it surely wouldn't be too difficult to doctor one of Black Widow's publicly released files to give the impression that she is in fact a cunningly disguised double agent.
With her actions in the closing moments of Captain America: Civil War seemingly putting her well outside the US government's trust zone as it is, such a move could well lead to Natasha being disavowed and forced to go on the run.
Why Would Marvel Studios Want To Send Black Widow On The Run, Though?
Here's why, in just ten words:
If that doesn't scream "exciting, fan-pleasing, guaranteed box-office success" then I honestly don't know what does.
Plus, it would offer up the perfect way to plausibly introduce a semi-retired Hawkeye to the story, with good ol' Clint Barton either helping Natasha out, or being forced to help bring her in. Either way, you've got dramatic tension up the wazoo, and one hell of a sales pitch to take to marketing. "Black Widow vs. The Marvel Universe" — what's not to love?
The big question now, then?