During Captain America: The Winter Soldier a number of details about Black Widow are disclosed.

Firstly, that she was born in 1984, making her 30 years old during the events of CA:TWS

Secondly, that she was indeed born in Stalingrad, and worked for The KGB.

We know that Natalia/Natasha was trained as a child soldier: but if, as she states, her 'red ledger' was built whilst she was working for the KGB, she could only have been working for the Russians until she was 7 years old, 1991 being the year the KGB was disbanded.

She specifically mentions the KGB as being the organization she worked for, when she discusses her 'Clean Start'. If there were another, more malevolent organisation she served under, wouldn't she have referred to them instead? If she had continued working for the Russians, wouldn't the majority of her career have occurred under the FSB: and as such why wouldn't she have named them? Does this mean she worked for someone else?

Is it possible that Black Widow is referring only to her actions during the first 7 years of her life (which, lets face it, could only have plausibly seen a very very short period of active service)?

Does the MCU/Earth-199999 continuity provide any details on who she worked for between the fall of the KGB and SHIELD? is it possible she was recruited straight to SHIELD by Barton, at age 7?

I'm aware that the wider Marvel Universes, whilst operating different continuities, provide supportive commentary on each other to create a unified ballast across brand... do any of the other Marvel continuities make reference to Black Widow's past in a way that corroborates, or is reference by the MCU?

I don't need answers that link to the Marvel Wiki: its frequently inaccurate and constantly being updated. I'm trying to find if someone can find a precedent for this continuity in other work: whether it be Cinematic or otherwise...

  • Hadn't she said all this (especially the 84 stuff and the KGB stuff) in a single movie, this could even have made for an answer to this question. But this way it seems there has to be a valid in-universe explanation.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jul 8, 2014 at 12:18
  • 5
    I would bet an intentional anachronism on the part of the director, or perhaps writers. Almost everyone knows what the KGB "was". Meaning they were the CIA of cold-war Soviet Union. It doesn't matter what the initials stood for, nor what they 'really' were. The letters KGB mean Soviet spymasters to everyone over a certain age, and most everyone else. Had the film more correctly named FSB, due to BW's age, IMO a large percentage of the moviegoers would have said "FS who?"
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 8, 2014 at 15:51
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    Do we know for certain that the USSR fell in the same way, at the same time, as the real world? Maybe the Winter Soldier made some key assassinations in the late 80s early 90s.
    – Random832
    Apr 24, 2015 at 3:32
  • Maybe the KGB simply didn't disband in 1991 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but later on, allowing her to have the career referenced? We have nothing that says that particular real life fact is a part of the MCU continuity
    – Dave
    Sep 8, 2017 at 10:32

2 Answers 2


They had to keep some of her comic backstory relevant, or the fanboys would have cried foul. In the comics, she was actually born in the late 20's/early 30's. If you recall the scene in The Avengers, when she lures Banner out, she uses a very young girl and remarks something like, "I was about her age when I started." So the MCU already has her working at an extremely young age for the KGB, and her comic backstory involves her working for the KGB, as it was initially written in the 60's.


Just for those interested, I found a Non-MCU confirmed bit of trivia that explains some of this 'Marvel-time' craziness...

enter image description here

  • 1
    The image has a watermark for Comicfacts.tumblr.com, which is a fan site (as most Tumblrs are). This claim needs a far more reliable source. Besides, it doesn't answer the question because it's not about the MCU. Oct 24, 2016 at 19:36
  • The answer states it's non-MCU confirmed, but the MCU often ghosts other canon as narrative shorthand, so it's indicative of an answer rather than providing explicit proof. Also, this has been validated here Oct 25, 2016 at 8:45
  • Even if we confirmed that the backstory did apply to the MCU (which I'm not sure it does) I still think that the answer needs a better source than a fan Tumblr. Oct 25, 2016 at 13:54
  • ...how about the validated stack source mentioned in the link? Oct 25, 2016 at 14:03

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