If you’re a superhero living in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s safe to say you’d have to go out of your way to miss meeting the Black Widow. After all, next to Nick Fury, Captain America, and Iron Man, Natasha Romanoff has appeared in the most number of MCU movies — and all of them involved her teaming up with her fellow costumed do-gooders to fight off gods, stop an AI robot from wiping out humanity, prevent a genocidal alien from killing half the universe, or simply hang out and eat some shawarma.
Surprisingly, a number of heroes never got the on-screen opportunity to meet Natasha. Since the Black Widow isn’t really a space-faring Avenger, it makes sense that most of the ones she didn’t get to meet spent most of their existence away from Earth. However, a few cases are truly baffling and rather unfortunate, as they actually fought alongside the super-spy on the same battlefield, but didn’t even get the chance to introduce themselves or even trade quips with her.
Here are some of the heroes that Black Widow never met in the MCU. (Exempted from this list are heroes like Yondu who died before they could get the chance to meet her, as well as Shang-Chi, the Eternals, and the other Marvel heroes who made or are making their debuts after Black Widow’s death in “Avengers: Endgame.”)
Despite the fact that they both appeared in “Avengers: Infinity War,” Mantis (Pom Klementieff) didn’t share any screen time with Black Widow. They didn’t even get to showcase their skills on the same planet: Natasha’s missions with Captain America’s crew were strictly Earthbound, while Mantis joined Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy teammates Star-Lord, Nebula, and Drax on Titan in their attempt to take the Infinity Gauntlet away from Thanos. Unfortunately, the empathic adoptive daughter of Ego was among the casualties of the Snap, which meant she was dead during the five years that Natasha was coordinating with the remaining heroes in maintaining peace on Earth and in space.
Given Mantis’ unique ability to read a person’s emotions by merely touching them, an encounter with Black Widow would have been interesting to observe. Would Mantis be able to sense Natasha’s regret for all the red in her ledger, or feel how hard the Avenger is striving to erase the sins of her past? At this point, it’s a long shot that future MCU movies would ever show this happening, since Black Widow’s death in “Avengers: Endgame” is unlikely to ever be undone (via Comic Book Resources).
Interestingly, the comic book versions of Mantis and Black Widow both became members of the Avengers at certain points in their respective heroic careers. The cinematic versions of these two characters hardly share anything in common, though — except maybe that.
Had the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy found an opportunity to join forces before Thanos finished collecting the Infinity Stones, a team-up between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Black Widow would have been a no-brainer. After all, the adoptive daughter of Thanos shares quite a few things in common with the orphan trained by the Red Room: They’re both highly skilled, incredibly focused assassins whose fearsome reputations are legendary in their respective circles. In fact, Comic Book Resources went so far as to describe Gamora as “the Black Widow of the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Unfortunately, these two femme fatales share one more thing in common. They both died so that someone could acquire the Soul Stone on Vormir. Gamora was sacrificed by Thanos, while Black Widow sacrificed herself in Hawkeye‘s place. The final battle against Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame” featured a past version of Gamora fighting alongside the surviving heroes. This would have been the perfect opportunity for her to meet Natasha — except the latter’s death, according to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, was irreversible. Additionally, the writers felt that bringing back Black Widow via time travel just for that battle “would’ve been a weirdly selfish decision” (via Vulture).
In the comics, Black Widow and Gamora don’t have much of a connection, save for the occasional crossover. Still, it would have been a treat to see two of the MCU’s most dangerous women working together (or even against each other).
Another cosmic hero that Black Widow never got to meet in the films is Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). A Kylosian criminal hell-bent on making both Thanos and Ronan the Accuser pay for the deaths of his wife and child, Drax formally joins the Guardians of the Galaxy after Star-Lord and the rest of the crew help him defeat the Kree warlord. His quest to also vanquish Thanos would have aligned his goals with Black Widow’s, had they gotten the chance to work together in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
But since Natasha and Drax were fighting two different battles on two different planets, meeting each other was out of the question. Drax was among the trillions across the universe wiped out by Thanos’ snap. Natasha was already dead by the time Drax came back to life — a return made possible by the Avenger’s demise on Vormir — so the tattooed warrior never had the opportunity to bedazzle Natasha with his talent for “standing so incredibly still” (or amuse her with his inability to grasp metaphors).
In the comics, Drax the Destroyer starts out as Arthur Douglas, an Earthling mutated into a powerful warrior whose only mission in life is to slay Thanos. While Drax and Black Widow never really had a reason to work together in the comics or the films, it would have been fun to watch a team-up involving a stealthy spy and a guy who thinks he can turn invisible.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) spent most of his life away from Earth, abducted by the Ravagers under the order of his Celestial father, Ego. Growing up alongside Yondu and his crew as an intergalactic thief, the half-human, half-Celestial developed his criminal reputation, branding himself “Star-Lord” (and overestimating his own notoriety). After meeting Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax while doing prison time, Star-Lord’s life took a heroic turn. The quintet formed the Guardians of the Galaxy, eventually running afoul of Thanos in his quest to obtain all the Infinity Stones.
In “Avengers: Infinity War,” the Guardians split up, with Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, and Nebula ending up in a hilarious confrontation with Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man on Titan. However, Star-Lord and his crew swiftly get Snapped away by Thanos in the aftermath. This robs them of the chance to touch base with the other heroes from Star-Lord’s home planet, including Black Widow.
Had a younger version of Star-Lord been in the position to meet Natasha, it’s likely that he would have been smitten by the super-spy. After all, she’s clearly his type, judging from his subsequent relationship with the similarly deadly female assassin Gamora. Sadly, due to the fact that Natasha essentially died a permanent death in “Avengers: Endgame” so that Star-Lord and the rest of the universe could live, it’s unlikely that the mainstream movie versions of these two human superheroes would ever meet on the silver screen.
Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) first suits up as the wondrous Wasp in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” joining Scott Lang aka Ant-Man in his journey through the Quantum Realm. Unfortunately, Hope, as well as her parents Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, were among the casualties when Thanos snapped half of the universe out of existence. The heroes successfully brought Hope back to life in “Avengers: Endgame,” where she joined Ant-Man and the rest of the surviving MCU heroes in a last-ditch effort to stop the Mad Titan from ending all life with the Infinity Gauntlet. Sadly, one hero that Hope didn’t get to meet was Black Widow, as it was the latter’s death that made it possible for the former to be resurrected.
The Wasp of the MCU has no direct counterparts in the comics. However, she shares strong connections with three characters. The original comic book Wasp, Janet van Dyne, was a founding member of the Avengers who would eventually find herself working with Black Widow. The character that MCU’s Hope was loosely based on is Hope Pym, the villainous daughter of Hank and Janet in an alternate future. About a year after Hope’s cinematic debut, the comics followed suit by introducing Nadia, Hank’s daughter with his first wife Maria. Like Black Widow, Nadia was trained by the Red Room to be an assassin, but escaped and became a superhero. Interestingly, Nadia’s name has Russian roots, and translates to “hope” in English.
Black Widow and Thor are founding members of the Avengers in the MCU, but have very little interaction when they’re not working together on the team. That’s likely why Natasha never met most of Thor’s fellow Asgardians (save for Loki, who was the reason why the Avengers formed in the first place). An opportunity presented itself in “Avengers: Endgame,” when the Asgardians who survived the Snap established New Asgard on Earth, under the leadership of Brunnhilde a.k.a. Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).
However, considering how Natasha and the other surviving heroes lost contact with Thor after he beheaded Thanos five years earlier, it’s not surprising that Black Widow was never shown meeting Valkyrie. In fact, MCU fans never got to see if Natasha ever interacted with any of Thor’s allies. And of course, because Natasha was no longer alive during the final battle, Valkyrie never had the chance to ride valiantly into battle with the deadly former spy by her side.
In the comics, Black Widow and Valkyrie have appeared together on a few occasions. One of the most noteworthy examples was in “Avengers” Vol. 1 #83, when “Valkyrie” — who was really the Enchantress in disguise — tricks Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, the Wasp, and Medusa into forming the Lady Liberators. Many years later, Natasha and Brunnhilde would find themselves joining the Secret Avengers, a stealth-ops version of the famous team working under the leadership of commander Steve Rogers.
In “Avengers: Infinity War,” Groot (a teenager, following the death of the full-grown original in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1”) and Rocket accompany Thor to Nidavellir in his attempt to forge a new weapon to replace his broken hammer. Groot ends up sacrificing a piece of himself to form Stormbreaker’s handle, and the Asgardian god takes the two Guardians with him to Earth to participate in the Battle of Wakanda. The sentient alien tree fights alongside Captain America’s forces, which include Black Widow. But despite being in the same warzone, the two characters never get a chance to interact with each other. The battle ends with Thanos snapping Groot into nonexistence, a state that Groot would stay in for the next five years. As with the other Guardians who died during the Blip, Groot was only able to come back to life after Natasha’s death on Vormir.
Similarly, Groot and Black Widow don’t have a very strong connection in the comics. Since the talking tree operates in outer space alongside his fellow Guardians, there are very few opportunities (or reasons) for Groot and the Earthbound Black Widow to interact. Still, given how the MCU version of Natasha is a master of multiple languages, it would have been fascinating to watch her crack the secrets of Groot’s infamous “I am Groot” line and add it to her extensive vocabulary.
“Ear/nose/throat meets rabbit-from-hat” is just about the full extent of Natasha’s familiarity with Doctor Strange, courtesy of Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame.” The man under the Iron Man suit provides one of his patented custom nicknames to the Sorcerer Supreme (who was one of the casualties of the Snap) during a meeting revolving around how they can gather all the Infinity Stones via time travel. Information about Doctor Strange’s New York headquarters leads Natasha to figure out how to get three Stones at once, which helps the team with their time-hopping heist planning. Sadly, Natasha never gets the opportunity to meet the Master of the Mystic Arts (nor tell him about his amusing Stark-made moniker) during the final battle with Thanos, due to the small matter of her death-by-Soul-Stone-sacrifice.
The two Marvel characters have both been members of the Avengers in the comics, and have worked together on certain occasions. In the 2018 story “Infinity Wars,” Doctor Strange and Black Widow gained possession of the Time Stone and Space Stone, respectively. In an effort to protect the Infinity Stones from being misused, Doctor Strange calls upon their caretakers and reassembles the Infinity Watch, enlisting Black Widow’s aid in safeguarding her Stone. It’s a shame that such a moment will probably never come to pass in the MCU, and that audiences will never see how Natasha reacts to Strange casting magic spells.
It may sound weird, but it’s true: Despite the fact that they both appeared in “Captain America: Civil War” (and even stood a couple of feet from each other during the airport battle scene), the two spider-themed heroes of the MCU never had the chance to interact.
As far as what’s been shown on screen, Peter Parker didn’t even get to participate in any strategic meetings with team Iron Man (composed of Black Widow, War Machine, Vision, and Black Panther). He spends most of his time in Berlin vlogging or staying at the hotel, and only arrives at Leipzig-Halle Airport after the two warring factions were already standing face to face. From the moment Tony Stark finally calls in Spider-Man (“Underoos!”) to join the fray until the all-out slugfest ends, Spider-Man and Black Widow never really talk. The relatively inexperienced superhero ends up being injured after subduing Giant-Man, while Natasha betrays the team, helps Team Captain America to escape, and runs away herself. In “Avengers: Infinity War,” Peter joins Iron Man and Doctor Strange in space, while Black Widow stays by Captain America’s side on Earth. By the time Peter comes back from getting Snapped in “Avengers: Endgame,” Natasha’s no longer around.
This failed opportunity at a Marvelous team-up is truly a shame. Their matching codenames notwithstanding, Spider-Man and Black Widow have had many adventures together in the comics; it’s unfortunate that they’re unlikely to ever happen on screen.