Black Widow ending explained: your biggest questions answered

Black Widow
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Warning: major spoilers ahead for Black Widow! Turn back now if you haven't seen the latest Marvel movie in theaters or on Disney Plus Premier Access!

Black Widow is finally here, and naturally it had an explosive ending that might have left you with more questions than answers. While Natasha and her family – consisting of Yelena, Red Guardian, and Melina – brought down the Red Room, there were so many revelations that it might have been hard to keep track of exactly what was going on.

There are also some key links to other Marvel projects which might have you mystified, but we've got your back. We combed through Black Widow's ending to explain everything that might be puzzling you, from how the film sets up the Hawkeye Disney Plus series to what happened with Taskmaster in the end. Scroll on to have your biggest head-scratching Black Widow questions answered…

How did Black Widow defeat Dreykov?

Dreykov in Black Widow

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

When Natasha tries to kill Ray Winstone's Dreykov in his office in the Red Room, she gets a nasty surprise. Thanks to a pheromone he emits, all Widows are unable to hurt him. Natasha then goads him into attacking her, but the hits aren't enough for her plan to work. 

Melina explained to Natasha back at her house that a certain nerve in the brain has to be severed before the Avenger will be immune to Dreykov's power over her. So, Natasha slams her head into his desk, destroying the nerve, which then leaves her free to attack him.

Unfortunately, he gets away after setting the other Widows on Natasha, but Yelena catches up to him and jams her batons into the propellor of his plane, blowing the whole thing up and killing Dreykov once and for all. 

Who is Taskmaster and what happened to her?

Taskmaster in Black Widow

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

The moment we'd been waiting for finally arrived when Taskmaster removed their helmet, to reveal the scarred face of... Dreykov's daughter, Antonia. It turns out she'd been equipped with a chip, and spent her days watching footage of other fighters, able to totally mimic their movements and fighting technique.

But how did she end up that way? Natasha was partly responsible. In a flashback, we find out that Black Widow accepted the death of Antonia as collateral damage when her and Hawkeye tried to kill Dreykov by blowing him up in Budapest. That left Antonia with a scarred face and a new identity.

Ultimately, Natasha was able to use the mind control antidote on Antonia, which meant she was freed from the Red Room – and her father's influence. We last see Antonia leaving with the other Widows.

What happened to the Red Room?

black widow

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Red Room's location was shrouded in secrecy, and it turned out that it wasn't in any particular country at all – it was airborne. To literally bring it down, Melina sabotaged the engine to send the whole thing crashing back to Earth. Before it did, though, Natasha was able to swipe all the information relating to the many Widows scattered across the globe.

Where did the other Black Widows go?

still from Black Widow

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Once all the Black Widows were freed from the Red Room's mind control, thanks to the antidote Yelena administered, the women were free. However, Natasha has downloaded the information from the Red Room, revealing there are still Widows all over the world, and now it's up to Yelena and the team to go free the other women. They, along with Taskmaster, leave to presumably go do just that. 

What happened to Melina and Red Guardian?

still from Black Widow

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Like the Widows, Melina and Red Guardian leave, along with Yelena – yes, they do all survive this movie, though it's unknown whether they were blipped by Thanos. It's unclear what they're headed off to do, but it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine they'll be aiding in rescuing the Black Widows still spread throughout the world. They left behind Natasha, who wanted to deal with General Ross alone.

How did Black Widow escape from General Ross?

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

While Melina, Red Guardian, Yelena, Taskmaster, and the freed Widows all leave, Natasha stays behind to face down General Ross. The movie cuts to black, then picks up again two weeks later, leaving us in the dark as to how Black Widow escaped. 

General Ross had been intent on hunting Natasha down for breaking the Sokovia Accords earlier in the film (Black Widow picks up partway through Captain America: Civil War, after Natasha defects from Team Iron Man), so it's unlikely the government official would let Natasha go without either a struggle, or at least Natasha giving him a convincing reason as to why she should walk free. The details of what happened, though, remains unknown.

However, the next time we see her, she's blonde, suggesting she still needs to remain under the radar. When Natasha next sees General Ross in Avengers: Infinity War, he addresses Team Cap with, "You've got some nerve, I'll give you that," and Natasha replies, "You could use some of that right now." There's no mention of what went down between them after the Black Widow ending.  

Why does Black Widow have blonde hair?

Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

After escaping General Ross's clutches, Natasha reappears with a platinum blonde bob. Earlier in the movie, she had a box of blonde hair dye, which she didn't get a chance to use. We can assume that she dyed her trademark red locks to have an easier time of going incognito. This is also the haircut she has in Infinity War, her next chronological appearance.

How else does the movie set up Infinity War?

Black Widow and Captain America in Avengers: Infinity War

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Natasha sported her blonde bob and Yelena's vest in Infinity War, and that's what she's wearing the last time we see her in Black Widow. She mentions going to help break some of her teammates out of jail, which presumably links to the final scene of Civil War, which saw Steve Rogers free Team Cap from the Raft supermax prison. After that, the heroes were on the run again, though with Wakanda as their ally.     

What's next for Yelena and why is she hunting Hawkeye?

Black Widow

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

In the Black Widow post-credits scene, we learn that Yelena and Julia-Louis Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine are working together. It's unclear what exactly their business together is, or who they work for (if they work for anyone), but what is clear is that Hawkeye is in Yelena's crosshairs. The Contessa tells Yelena that her next target is Clint Barton, who she says is responsible for the death of Yelena's sister (that's Natasha).

In Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow and Hawkeye went to the planet Vormir together, and one of them had to die to obtain the Soul Stone. The duo fought with each other because both of them wanted to be the one to perform the sacrifice – and Natasha outwitted Clint and went over the cliff herself, despite his efforts to save her. It's not really fair that Val blames Hawkeye for Black Widow's death, then, but it seems highly likely she's manipulating Yelena on purpose. Why the Contessa wants Hawkeye taken down is a mystery, but we can expect to find out more in the Hawkeye Disney Plus series, which has Florence Pugh on its cast list.

Have we seen Val before?

The Contessa in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Val debuted in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which saw her recruit US Agent to her mysterious cause. She was actually supposed to show up in Black Widow first, but the pandemic ended up shuffling the Marvel Phase 4 release slate.

The Contessa is set to have a major impact on the MCU moving forward. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier producer Nate Moore explained: "Having a character like Valentina in the show, and actually in the MCU, is really interesting because I think she'll be making more waves sooner rather than later." Expect to see Val post-Black Widow too – maybe in Hawkeye, though that's unconfirmed.

What happened in Budapest?

Black Widow in The Avengers

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

A quickfire joke in The Avengers between Natasha and Hawkeye ("Just like Budapest all over again!" "You and I remember Budapest very differently") turned out to be potentially the darkest scene in the Black Widow movie. 

We learned that, for Natasha to be recruited to SHIELD, she had to kill Dreykov. She saw Dreykov's young daughter through the window, but gave the okay to blow up the room anyway. She thought she'd killed both Dreykov and his daughter, and was fine with Antonia becoming collateral damage. Dark.

That's everything you need to know about the Black Widow ending. For more, be sure to check out our extended feature on the making of the Marvel movie, also featuring interviews with Pugh, Scarlett Johansson, and Rachel Weisz. And if you're all caught up on Black Widow, check out how to watch Marvel movies in order for the ultimate movie marathon, and find the best Disney Plus prices and deals.

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.