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    All The "Black Widow" Characters That You Need To Know Before Watching The Movie

    Get to know them before you see the movie.

    After waiting for more than a year, fans shall now be able to dive into the past of Black Widow, which has been teased in some MCU movies.

    NBC / youtube.com

    What was first launched as a spoof shall now be a reality soon. SNL first came up with a Black Widow movie "trailer" in 2016, and apparently someone at Marvel thought, Hey! Let's do this

    So, ahead of the film's release, we are going to equip you with all the information that you need to understand and enjoy the Black Widow movie. Here's what you should know:

    1. Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow

    Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    Played by Scarlett Johansson, our titular protagonist, Natalia Alianovna Romanova aka Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, has donned many mantles from time to time. Before she died in Endgame, she had already been a founding member of the Avengers (first female Avenger), a S.H.I.E.L.D. spy, and a KGB spy and assassin. Famed for her mental toughness, grit, manipulation and sublime combat skills, she can hold her own against most of the superheroes and supervillains.

    She was born in the former USSR.

    Ever Anderson as an adolescent Natasha
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    The childhood of Natalia is a higgledy-piggledy glop. According to one version, her mother died in the Battle of Stalingrad, making her an orphan. A man called Ivan Petrovitch rescued her during the battle and took her under his care. He became a father figure to her and personally trained her to be a loyal soldier of the USSR. In another version, she was kidnapped in 1941 by The Hand, who wanted to turn her into an accomplished assassin. But guess who rescued her? Logan (Wolverine) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) along with Ivan Petrovitch. In yet another version, she was enrolled into the Black Widow program as a child by Stalin himself and got her training in the infamous Red Room (where she first met the Winter Soldier).  

    Red Room training

    Black Widow about to use her Widow's Bite in Captain America: Civil War
    Marvel Studios

    In the Red Room, Natasha received exemplary training in martial arts, espionage, firearms, and gymnastics. The KGB had her marry a glorious Soviet Air Force pilot, Alexei Shostakov, who died sometime later. His death made her totally cold-blooded, and she went on to graduate from the Red Room as their best-ever Black Widow. As a part of her graduation ceremony, she was sterilized. The KGB later dressed her in her trademark black outfit and also gave her Widow's Bite, a bracelet-like weapon that she wears on her wrists. 

    Turnaround and defection

    Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawk Eye (Jeremy Renner) on the planet Voromir in the movie Avengers: Endgame
    Marvel Studios

    Natalia Romanova's Black Widow debuted in Tales of Suspense #52 in April 1964 as an antagonist of the Iron Man. She manipulates Hawkeye to ally with her, and they both take on Iron Man, but things go haywire, and they go on the run. She falls in love with Hawkeye, who helps her defect to the US, and she joins the Avengers. Though they break up later, they remain very good and close friends. In several MCU movies, it is hinted that Black Widow and Hawkeye have a history together, and sometimes they talk of Budapest, which is where some of the story of Black Widow is set. Another one of her former lovers is Daredevil.

    2. Yelena Belova aka Black Widow

    Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    Played by Florence Pugh, Yelena Belova stepped into the shoes of Natasha Romanoff after she defected to the US and became the second Black Widow. She was trained in the same ruthless spy academy, Red Room, as Natasha and broke the records set by Natasha. It is the murder of her mentor,  Pyotr Vasilievich Starkovsky, that compels her to don the mantle of Black Widow.  

    She was first introduced as a minor character in Inhumans #5 in March 1999. Though she refers to Natasha as "sis" in one of the trailers, their relation in the comics is hardly sisterly. Yelena sees Natasha as a traitor who must be eliminated, and this leads to fierce rivalry between the two. They have allied sometimes but are usually at each other's throat. Natasha tries to persuade her to leave the dirty business of assassination and espionage and finally achieves a breakthrough. Yelena is later recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and then by Hydra, and she undergoes lots of transformation, physical as well as mental. In the movies, both the characters seem to have a sisterly bond, so it will be quite intriguing to see how this plays out. Maybe Yelena will be the new Black Widow, just like Sam Wilson is the new Captain America.

    3. Melina Vostokoff

    Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    The Melina in the comics is a sworn enemy of Natasha Romanoff. She too is a product of the Soviet spy-training program and is an extraordinary espionage agent, master combatant, and assassin. She grew sick of remaining in Natasha's shadow and soon became her foe.

    Melina took on the alter ego of Iron Maiden. She encased herself in a flexible metal costume and became a full-time criminal, a hired killer. She later joined the women-only villainous group called Femizons and faced off against Captain America as well. In the movie, her character has a motherly bond with Natasha, and it would be quite interesting to see her character's development.  

    4. Red Guardian

    David Harbour as Red Guardian
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    Remember Alexei Shostakov? The husband of Natasha who died? Well, he didn't die die. The KGB faked his death because they had a very special role for this Soviet war hero. They wanted him to be the Soviet equivalent of Captain America (minus the super-soldier serum).

    The Red Guardian debuted in Avengers #43 in 1967 as an opponent of the Avengers. Alexei Shostakov was a decorated war hero and ace fighter pilot who was recruited by Soviet officer Vasily Karpov, who later became the head of Department X, the KGB's super-soldier development program. Unlike his American counterpart, he ain't juiced up. Alexei underwent grueling training to hone his reflexes, fighting skills, and strength.

    But he won't be Natasha's husband in this movie. Although revealed to be Natasha's husband (to a flabbergasted Hawkeye) in his origin story, the trailers have made it amply clear that Alexei is going to be a father figure to Natasha and Yelena in the upcoming movie.

    5. Thaddeus Ross

    William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross is one of the well-known supporting characters of Marvel Comics and MCU. He is most famous for his role in the creation of Hulk, his botched attempts at capturing Hulk (for which he created Abomination), and being the father of Hulk's girlfriend. He seems to have climbed up the political ladder and was US Secretary of State in Captain America: Civil War.

    He comes from a military family and was an Air Force general. He was in charge of the Gamma Bomb project that accidently led to the creation of the Hulk. In the comics, he himself got transformed into Red Hulk.

    6. Taskmaster

    Taskmaster
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    One of the lesser-known but iconic supervillains of Marvel Comics makes his big-screen debut as the chief antagonist in Black Widow. Anthony “Tony” Masters, aka Taskmaster, was introduced as an antagonist of the Avengers in 1980. He is a maestro of fighting skills. While growing up in the Bronx, he noticed that he had the unique ability to accurately reproduce the moves of others just by watching them in action. As a result, no learning curve was steep enough for him, and he acquired fighting skills just by window shopping.

    A man of "photographic reflexes."

    Taskmaster studying Natasha's fighting techniques
    Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

    By reviewing television footage of various superheroes, he mastered the fighting techniques of Captain America, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and many others. He also retains the memory of these fighting techniques indefinitely. His "photographic reflexes" also enable him to mimic voices and learn new languages in a jiffy. Taskmaster usually carries a metal shield, bow and arrow, a gun, and a sword as his weapons. Fighting him is like fighting your own mirror image, and thus he is very difficult to defeat.

    7. Dreykov

    Ray Winstone as Dreykov
    Marvel Studios

    Well, this is a character that has the least amount of backstory available because he has been created solely for the movies and doesn't exist in the Marvel Comics except for a few passing mentions. His presence was first teased in the first Avengers movie when Loki calls Natasha as Dreykov's daughter. Apparently Dreykov oversees the Red Room program, but it remains to be seen how he fits in the movie.

    8. Rick Mason

    O-T Fagbenle as Rick Mason
    Marvel Studios

    Rick Mason is a supporting character who works for S.H.I.E.L.D. He is often seen carrying out orders for Nick Fury. He is the son of a villain called Tinkerer, but he decided to stay clear of the path of crime. He specializes in covert operations. His MCU avatar will be slightly different, though.

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