Why Surrogate Families Are Important To Natasha’s MCU Journey

Natasha Romanov’s story might be over, but there’s more to her cinematic journey than you might realise…

Natasha Romanov’s death in Avengers: Endgame surprised and saddened us all. We also didn’t see it coming. Of all the six original Avengers to survive the movie only four made it to the end with one retiring leaving the other three and their futures as a group unclear. During the five years which served as the Blip era, the former Black Widow sought out a surrogate family when she reassembled the team but with a whole new group of heroes.

Losing her first surrogate family was a stab in the gut, but she soldiered on. However, there’s more to her Marvel Cinematic Universe journey than we realise. Some of this story will continue Nat’s tale of finding her place in the upcoming Black Widow.

Natasha’s Sad Origin

[Credit: Marvel Cinematic Universe Fandom]

We know very little of how Natasha came to be, but from what we do know, she was born to a man named Ivan and an unknown woman in Russia. Her birth name is Natalia Alianovna Romanoff but has always been known as Natasha. To her friends however, she was always known simply as Nat.

According to Nat, she never knew the name of her father as she reveals to her best friend, Clint on Vormir. It can be assumed by this comment that she didn’t know her mother’s name either. However, if you think about it, Red Skull called her ‘Daughter of Ivan’ when the friends approached him.

Apparently, the guardian of the soul stone has to introduce you as the child of the parent you were closest to. For Clint, it was his mother, Edith. For Gamora, it was Thanos, and for the mad titan himself, it was his father A’Lars. However, Nat’s mentioned parent was her father. This is surprising given she didn’t know her parents’ names.

The only life Nat had ever known was the Red Room. We’ll learn more about her time there, hopefully in the Black Widow movie. The film will also introduce us to her original surrogate family, which includes Alexei Shostakov, Melina Vostokoff, and Yelena Belova.

Russian Surrogate Family

surrogate family
[Credit: Marvel Studios]

During her time in Russia, Natasha would become friendly with fellow Black Widows, Melina and Yelena. The trio would become like a mother and sister to Nat while Vostokoff’s then-husband, Alexei would serve as the father figure to Romanov and Belova.

In one trailer for the upcoming film, Melina tells Nat not to slouch and that she will get a back hunch. When she tries to argue with her, Alexei steps in and says “Listen to your mother” to get her to compile. Romanov then drags Yelena into the argument like any big sister would.

This goes to shows that no matter how different you are, you can still create a family with those around you, even if they don’t share the same blood. This is similar to the family unit that is formed with the original Avengers team.

The Romance With Bruce And Bond With The Hulk

[Credit: Youtube]

Natasha’s life story hasn’t played out in full on screen, but we’ve seen parts of her early days in flashbacks. We learn in Avengers: Age of Ultron that Nat is infertile because of the brutality of the Red Room. She explains to Bruce that when all recruits graduate, they’re sterilised to ensure they don’t become emotionally compromised if they were to bear a child.

It’s because of her emotional trauma that Nat deems herself a monster. This lines up with the attraction she and Bruce had to each other. The pair ended up together for a short while because they saw themselves as beasts of burden.

Bruce too was infertile because of the large amounts of gamma radiation that was running through his body. He knew as Natasha did that they couldn’t have a family like they both wanted. After the events in Sokovia, Hulk ended up being sent into space by Nat to keep him safe. This ultimately ended the romance between her and Banner.

It should also be noted, Nat also has a very close bond with Banner’s alter ego, the Hulk. She’s one of the few people who can convince him to let Bruce regain control. When Hulk and Banner ended up on Sakaar, Thor tries the technique Natasha used on Big Green to calm him down, but it doesn’t work, implying it’s something that only works for Black Widow.

“I Use To Have Nothing.”

surrogate family
[Credit: Marvel Studios]

It appears that before joining the Avengers and leaving behind her Russian family, Nat’s life was very lonely. When she joined Tony, Bruce, Steve, Thor, and Clint, Natasha instantly gained a family unit. She maintained close relationships with each of them, but was closest to Barton and Rogers.

They were both like brothers to her but it was Clint, she spent the most time with. She even had a close relationship with his family, which we’ll mention later. When the original Avengers went their separate ways during the Snap, Nat was the only one who kept the team going. She recruited Carol, Nebula, Rocket, Okoye, and Rhodey to the group while Steve checked in on her on occasion.

By keeping a form of the Avengers alive, Nat had a surrogate family either way. At the same time, she was also worried about Clint as he’d gone on a bender after his wife and kids were blipped. He’d been her family for so long that to see him broken, made some of herself break too.

The Bartons

surrogate family
[Credit: Marvel Cinematic Universe Fandom]

Due to her close friendship with Clint, Natasha became an honorary Barton. She was incredibly close to Laura, Clint’s wife and their three children.

When the Avengers are forced into hiding, Clint takes them to his farmhouse where he reveals he’s had a family the whole time. He explains that he wanted his then-pregnant wife and two eldest kids to remain under the radar so Fury helped him set up a safe house for them.

Clint and Laura’s daughter, Lila was the closest to Natasha and refers to her as Auntie Nat. Due to her own inability to have children of her own, Nat found peace in be an honorary aunt to her best friend’s children. However, that wasn’t all.

The third Barton child is named partially after Nat. It was believed by Clint and Laura that they were having another daughter and wanted to name her Natasha. However, their plan went off the rails when they discovered that their little girl was another son so Little Natasha became Nathaniel.

Nat joked with Laura that the baby was a traitor. Upon the baby’s birth, Nathaniel was also named after Pietro Maximoff, Wanda’s twin brother who died protecting Clint.

Conclusion

For Nat, it was vital to have a family unit. Despite the lack of blood ties with her Russian companions, the Avengers, and the Bartons, Natasha didn’t realise how important those people were to her. Upon her death, Steve shed tears for his fallen friend while Bruce picked up a wooden bench and threw it into the Stark lake. Thor said they could go back in time and save her but this resulted in a massive argument with Clint who said her demise couldn’t be undone.

In saying this, we can just imagine the conversation Clint had with his family when they asked about Nat. Her photo also appeared in the video tribute at Peter’s school eight months after the Snap was reversed. Having someone there to be your family is very different to having one pre-made.

For Natasha’s story, it was vital to have her to find people to confide in and for them to not necessarily have the same life experiences as her, but had suffered loss or had difficult childhoods.

cjhawkings

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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