Natasha Romanoff’s first appearance was in Tales of Suspense number 52, in 1964. More than fifty years later, she continues to be one of Marvel’s reference characters. The creation of Stan Lee , supported by the screenwriter Don Rico and the artist Don Heck, was followed by his participation in various teams within the comics and his replica in film format, with the interpretation of Scarlett Johansson . Beyond the note, there is something symbolic: the character prevails because the Black Widow is a contemporary pop icon.
However, although immediate memory associates Natasha Romanoff’s name with the “Black Widow”, she is not the only one. Within the comics, the role of Black Wodiw has been occupied by different characters. Although there is no direct relationship in this first case, Claire Voyant is often mentioned as one of the first female characters endowed with multiple abilities in Marvel. It appeared in 1940, in number four of Mystic Comics . But when it comes to Yelena Belova, the relationship is different.
Why is it convenient to know this? Because in the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe about Black Widow (next release on July 9, in theaters and Disney Plus) this transition of power, of cloak, of roles, is much more evident. Characters will appear in the production that will give meaning to Natasha Romanoff’s story and perhaps suggest things about the future of Phase 4.
About Melina Vostokoff, played by Rachel Weisz , little is known. But there is more information about the role that she occupies within Marvel. She is in charge of wearing the Iron Maiden cloak , covering her face with an iron mask, among other details to protect her identity. Why? Because, like Natasha Romanoff , she is also an agent who fulfills various secret roles.
That professional coincidence leads them to intersect on various planes. Melina Vostokoff, at least during Marvel Fanfare number 11 (1982), chases Natasha Romanoff. She does so driven by a mission assigned to her and by the resentment she feels towards it. Within the Marvel Universe, it is common for recognition to fall on Romanoff while Vostokoff remains in the shadows. That explains the tension.
Apparently in the trailer for Black Widow , the role of Melina Vostokoff can change or be located after what was said before. It should be remembered that movies and series are film and television adaptations, not replicas. Vostokoff’s phrase to Romanoff when they are talking in what appears to be a house, may provide clues: “I’m sorry. We had our orders, we played our roles ”. Are they making up?
The trailer did provide more information about Yelena Belova , played by Florence Pugh . One of the first scenes shows us Belova fighting Romanoff. The parity during the fight suggests that both have had the same training. This is possible because the two passed through the “Red Room”, a murky place within the Marvel Universe. To that is added another detail: a fragment suggests that they are family. The dialogues between the two, during which Romanoff seems to act as an older sister, could validate that idea.
Yelena Belova first appeared in issue 5 of Inhumans , released in 1999. This character was conceptualized by Devin Grayson and JG Jones . Although initially it was presented as a rival to Romanoff, apparently in the trailer the adaptation will present a twist in this regard.
This alteration, plus the family relationship that is sensed, can facilitate the transition in roles. Yelena Belova could inherit, at the end of Black Widow , the mantle of the “Black Widow”. This makes both narrative and production sense: Marvel is progressively renewing characters and incorporating young figures into its projects.
If Captain America is a symbol that has different political readings, Red Guardian is that but in a Russian key. Beyond the difference in the colors of the costumes (the Red Guardian’s is red, white and gold), there are different parallels. The most obvious? A star on the chest. This character was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema for number 43 of Avengers (1967).
The man who wore that suit in the comics was Alexei Shostakov . His role in Black Widow will be played by David Harbor , remembered for his role in Stranger Things . What is curious, beyond the political wink? That Shostakov was the husband of Natasha Romanoff. The relationship is broken when Romanoff takes over as “Black Widow” and the KGB simulates the death of the Red Guardian.
Her presence in the trailer is part of the narrative sense of Black Widow : rebuilding part of Natasha Romanoff’s life. Through the different films she had a secondary role, with little hints about her history and little else. That is why each of these characters will have a key role in the next Marvel and Disney Plus production.