Disney dropped so much exciting info during this week’s Investors Day that it was hard to keep up, but in terms of trailers for its upcoming Disney+ Marvel series, it only had three full reels to show – a new trailer for the Scarlet Witch and Vision show, WandaVision, a first proper look at The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and a magnificent, face-melting few minutes of Loki, its highly anticipated and pricey series featuring Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the MCU’s fan-favorite villain over six long episodes coming to streaming next year.
After the Loki trailer arrived, there was a lot for Marvel fans to process, and loads of interesting questions that couldn’t be answered, but one thing that very much stood out was a quick shot of what looked like Black Widow sitting amongst some rubble with her back to the camera, which had people wondering if Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff would indeed make an appearance in the upcoming show.
To address this, we must first ask “where in the MCU timeline is Loki set?”
Well, the God of Mischief was last seen escaping through a portal inside Stark Tower with the Tesseract (the cube-shaped containment vessel for the Space Stone) during the time heist in Avengers: Endgame, so the TV show’s version of the character is not the softer, more amiable cad of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.
Instead, this is the Loki who just tried to lead an invasion of Earth. This is 2012 Loki, who is basically a terrible asshole, and this Loki has only recently found himself unexpectedly manipulated by one Natasha Romanoff while holed up aboard S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier during the midsection of Joss Whedon’s first Marvel team-up movie, The Avengers.
In this part of the timeline, Black Widow is a long way from her deadly fate at the bottom of a Vormir cliff, so she could absolutely appear in Loki and, as we’ve established, the Prince of Asgard would find her very fresh in his memory. But Loki is also about to butt heads with the Mobius M. Mobius-led Time Variance Authority in this spin-off series, so we could certainly be meeting her in an alternate timeline where things have gone very differently for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
In the shot where Black Widow seems to appear, the light shining on her makes it difficult to truly decide which era Natasha we’re about to encounter. We’d definitely lean towards 2012 Widow or Infinity War Widow, though, given the way her shorter hair is styled, and if this is Natasha, she is sitting in the aftermath of a battle, given her surroundings.
Another curiosity in the trailer is the choice to use Vormir’s purple color scheme for the Black Widow scene. The remote barren planet, located at center of the universe’s Celestial existence, is where Natasha and Clint Barton managed to retrieve the Soul Stone in exchange for her life during the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Is Loki running into her there, and if not, what could be the meaning of it? Are they meeting in a place beyond death? When Bruce Banner tried to wish Natasha back using the Avengers’ version of the Infinity Gauntlet during Endgame – an attempt to resurrect her that he thought had failed – could he have succeeded in a way he didn’t anticipate?
Hopefully, all these questions will be answered when Loki arrives on Disney+ in May, 2021.