Where Yelena Belova and Red Guardian Go Next

[This story contains spoilers for Black Widow.]

Marvel Studios is back in cinemas for the first time in two years with the debut of Cate Shortland Black Widow. The movie, which was originally supposed to kick off Phase 4 of the MCU, now instead follows the Disney+ series WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldierand Loki. The decision to kick off a new chapter of the MCU with a character who gave his life in the culmination of the previous three phases in Avengers: Endgame (2019) seems like a curious choice at first. But Black Widowbook directly later Captain America: Civil War (2016) and a few weeks ago Avengers: Infinity War (2018), more than a delayed final tribute to a character Scarlett Johannson has shaped in ten years. It’s also an examination of Natasha Romanoff’s legacy and of the Red Room where she trained. Black Widow It’s not about death, but new life, which unexpectedly makes it a fitting entry to usher in this new phase of the Marvel Studios films.

For a character whose past is largely determined by her death count, Natasha’s solo film doesn’t prioritize body numbers. While there are some fans who fear that Black Widow has missed her big screen window because of the number of other female-centric spy movies over the past few years, Atomic Blonde (2017), Red sparrow (2018), Anna (2019), Rhythm part (2020) and Ava (2020), Shortland’s film follows a different route from its predecessors, focusing on family dynamics and redemption arcs rather than self-sufficiency and dual skirmishes. The film can be compared to James Bond, with Moonraker (1979) received a few nods, but Shortland’s wasn’t out to be Marvel’s Bond. Black Widow is a dysfunctional spy drama that prioritizes discovering who these characters are beyond their shadow missions and beloved genre antics. Lies and denials, tools of the spy trade, give way to truth and reconciliation that unravel Natasha’s past and set her on the path for her. Endgame sacrifice.

While it’s Natasha’s actions that push the film’s thematic priorities forward, it’s the supporting characters that get the most benefit from the act of freeing themselves from the confines of sentences. their origin story in the film’s story. This in turn is a boon for Marvel Studios’ future of storytelling. Surprisingly, all of the characters introduced in the film along with their Marvel Comics counterparts survived the events of the film. Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Red Guardian (David Harbour), Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko) are all still on the table to be used in future MCU projects. The MCU’s upcoming comics and boards could give some indication of what we can expect next from these characters.

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Yelena Belova
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

It’s Pugh’s Yelena Belova, Natasha’s “sister,” who rose to prominence as the movie’s breakout star and hopefully will be one of Marvel’s central characters in the future. It’s clear from the post-credits scene that Marvel Studios has plans for Yelena, setting her up to work for Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and setting her up against Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Due to the disruption in Marvel Studios’ schedules, audiences won’t have to wait for that confrontation as long as they would have if Black Widow was released last year. Hawk Eye will premiere on Disney+ later this year, and Pugh’s appearance as Yelena has been confirmed.

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So, what will this grudge against Hawkeye look like? Yelena’s comic book history has repeatedly seen her go the wrong way, forcing her to go up against the Avengers. But this version of Yelena is different, and in control of her own actions. And unlike John Walker (Wyatt Russell), Yelena seems like a character with little enthusiasm for following orders, especially after spending her life as a Red Room assassin. Black WidowThe post-credits scene confuses me when Yelena plays a double agent and uses Val for unknown purposes. There’s still a lot we don’t know about Val, but if she’s amassing power, she could be Yelena’s vehicle to track down the missing Widows that Natasha entrusted her to save at the end of the season. first movie.

With Shortland expressing interest in a Black Widow The sequel stars not Natasha, which is why Yelena will take on the role of Black Widow, or a new identity, White Widow, which she recently took on in the comics. Yelena may be grateful for her free will, but might this not be the case for every Widow liberated from the control of the Red Room? Perhaps, there is a woman out there whose real life is worse than the Red Room. Marvel’s Black Widow comic books certainly have precedent for Red Room spies who cannot redeem themselves, most recently Anya aka Recluse, who has appeared in Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow (2016), and established the Dark Room, which includes the remnants of the Red Room and lacks the government ties of its predecessor. Anya will make a suitable match for Yelena as she navigates the line between spy and superhero, and explores what freedom means to someone who doesn’t want to be free.

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Red Guardian and Milena
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The end of the Black Widow put Natasha’s “parents” on the roadmap to mass-produce a mind-control antidote, along with a number of freed Widows. While Alexi and Milena take on more sinister roles in the story of Black Widow in the comics, with Red Guardian battling the Avengers and Milena playing Iron Maiden and trying to gain control of AIM alongside a global alliance of villains, the characters find themselves redeemed inside the film. Although the Red Guardian didn’t stand a chance against Steve Rogers, he was still able to shape his career based on Captain America’s legacy. In the comics, the Red Guardian served as the leader of the Winter Guard, Russia’s own Avengers team, which also included the Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar, and Ursa Major.

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The group is playing a prominent role in Jason Aaron’s current activity in The Avengersand with a partnership between Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to imagine a iteration of the team, with Red Guardian and Milena as leaders, appearing in a Black Widow sequel or future MCU project. Given Alexi’s status as a super soldier and hints that Milena may have been involved in that project for the Russian government, it will be interesting to see Red Guardian and Milena meet the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, or have perhaps more suitable for a war, John Walker aka United States Agent.

While there is certainly some murky geopolitical territory that could emerge with a Russian superhero team, this can be countered by the fact that the Winter Guard is still the hero in the end. and more often an ally of the Avengers than not. Just as the Avengers didn’t always serve the US government, neither did the Winter Guards serve the Russian government. And with the way the MCU has focused on the US so far, it will be interesting to see how other countries react to the lack of Avengers after Endgame and Blip by introducing their own global protections.

Taskmaster

While Taskmaster, Antonia Dreykov, is different from Anthony Masters, her comic counterpart in Marvel’s main 616 universe, her abilities are the same, meaning there’s no limit to the characters she can capture. imitations and places where she can appear. Although some comic book purists have been confused by the change to Taskmaster in the MCU, despite the fact that comic book characters often change between page and screen, and despite the fact that Antonia meant meanings for control topics. Black Widow explore, there’s certainly room for Antonia to get closer to the ironic double-faced mercenary in the comics. What’s interesting about Taskmaster is that she still doesn’t know who she is, and as a result, audiences don’t quite know who she’s going to be. Will the salvation offered by Natasha lead her to a selfless path? Or would a life spent as a weapon simply make her a weapon in someone else’s hands? Can she take control of her destiny, or is it simply a rented gun in the hands of the highest bidder?

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Black Widow Feeling like the beginning of Antonia’s journey, it’s a fascinating predicament to the film’s central threat. It doesn’t even seem fair to portray Taskmaster as a villain at this stage, even though the comic book character works for every villain you are. imaginable. The Thunderbolts, a group of villains that act like heroes, sometimes noble and sometimes overlapping, have certainly garnered a lot of attention in the recent rumor mill with Zemo’s ongoing story ( Daniel Bruhl), and whatever team Val is building. Taskmaster has been a member of several iterations of the Thunderbolts, and it will certainly be interesting to see her alongside other Marvel characters, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), Abomination (Tim Roth), and Zemo, who despite their methods, believe in yourself becoming a hero.

Black Widow maybe it’s because Natasha is leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stopping multiverse madness, cloning, and all the other reasons why she wants to go back to the land of the living in the comics, but the world of Black Widow is just opening. As we lose a beloved and morally complicated character, we’ve just been introduced to four more characters that have the potential to make the next phases of the MCU as surprising as the previous three. .

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