Marvel Might Have Given Away a Secret Villain in 'Black Widow'

Prior to the release of MCU midquel Black Widow, which sees Scarlett Johansson’s titular super-spy reuniting with several key figures from her past, Marvel Studios have partnered with Twitter to create a set of special hashtags and emojis for each of the movie’s four central characters.

New character posters and emojis for #BlackWidow #NatashaRomanoff #YelenaBelova #MelinaVostokoff#AlexeiShostakov

The first hashtag, #NatashaRomanoff, refers to ScarJo’s character, one of the core Avengers in the MCU, although this movie follows her after she goes AWOL at the end of Captain America: Civil War. The others relate to the “family” of Russian operatives with whom she reconnects in the movie: Yelena Belova is Florence Pugh’s character, who Natasha sees as a kind of sister, and who some are speculating will take carry on the mantle of Black Widow in the next phase of the MCU. Meanwhile, Alexei Shostakov is David Harbour’s character, also known as Red Guardian, who has been described as the Russian equivalent to Captain America.

But it’s the fourth character name that has piqued fans’ interest. Until now, there’s been some mystery surrounding who exactly Rachel Weisz is playing in the movie. The hashtag reveals her full name to be Melina Vostokoff, known in the comics as Iron Maiden. She has a similar backstory to Black Widow, in that she was an agent for the Russian government, but she was forced to live in Natasha’s shadow, creating a sense of resentment which sends her down the road of villainy.

The primary antagonist in Black Widow has been confirmed as Taskmaster, the highly trained mercenary capable of swiftly mirroring the fighting styles and abilities of others. And while the only footage of Melina in the trailer shows her as an ally to Natasha and the others, it would be in keeping with her character if she were to betray her family at the eleventh hour. Fans will find out when Black Widow is released on May 1.

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