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Who Are Natasha Black Widow's Real Parents?

We're Wondering If the Black Widow Movie Will Finally Reveal Natasha's Real Parents

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff), 2016.  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

Black Widow is finally getting a standalone film, and we're hoping for answers to several questions, including who Natasha's parents are. The upcoming movie — only the second Marvel film led by a female hero — is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and it might finally give us a deeper look at the famously mysterious background of superspy Natasha Romanoff.

So far, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've had two possible leads on Natasha's father. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the computerized "program" of Armin Zola calls her "Romanoff, Natalia Alianova." Remember, Natasha is Russian, so "Alianova" is not a middle name — it's a patronymic, derived from her father's name. By those conventions, her father's name would have been something along the lines of Alian or Alexei. "Alianova" is not a common patronymic. In Avengers: Endgame, however, when Natasha and Clint arrive on Vormir and are greeted by the Red Skull, he greets her as "Natasha, daughter of Ivan," and she notes that she never even knew her father's name before then. So which is true?

More than likely, the Endgame version is the "official" one, since it is a clear line of dialogue given emotional weight, rather than the throwaway line from Winter Soldier. We also have to consider the reliability of each source. Zola is, most likely, working from Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. files, which could easily have had inaccurate information thanks to misinformation from Natasha herself or as part of her new identity after joining S.H.I.E.L.D. The Red Skull, meanwhile, is functioning as a supernatural guardian of the Soul Stone and is seemingly omniscient in some magical way. It makes much more sense that he's telling the truth, and Natasha's reaction seems to confirm it.

The one piece we still know nothing about is Natasha's mother. She's never been mentioned, and the Red Skull only names Natasha's father on Vormir, not both her parents. We know Natasha was recruited to the infamous Red Room spy school as a child, but we know nothing about how she got there or what role her parents did (or didn't) play. Hopefully, that will be one more mystery solved when Black Widow hits theatres next year!

Image Source: Everett Collection
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