One of the most tragic figures in the MCU is Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow. It has been repeatedly emphasized across various films that Natasha has neither close family nor friends and even her superhero colleagues are unable to trust her completely for a long time due to her work as a double agent and spy. Now, in the recently released book, Marvel's Black Widow: The Official Movie Special, actor David Harbour explained how the main characters in the upcoming Black Widow were once Natasha's only family.
"The connection to [David Harbour's character Alexei aka Red Guardian] and Black Widow is that they were set up as a spy family in America in the '90s. So, Rachel Weisz's character, Melina, was sort of the mom, Alexei was the dad, and Natasha and Yelena were their little kids. We see that in the beginning of the movie, and they sort of function as a family. So they knew each other from long ago and then they lost touch for almost twenty years. And when we pick up, Alexei's had this deep knowledge of Natasha in a certain way that no one else had when she was a kid. He took her from the Red Room and also put her back into the Red Room because he believed in this cause."
The Red Room was a training program that was used to brainwash young women into becoming efficient killing machines. Natasha's superhero avatar was born of the Red Room, and from the trailers for Black Widow that have been released so far, the movie will see Natasha return to Russia to shut down the Red Room and prevent other young women from having to follow her path.
While Harbour and Rachel Weisz were the parent units of Natasha's spy family in the early parts of her career, the character that has been given the most prominence in the trailers so far after Natasha herself is Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh, who is a fellow graduate of the Red Room program, and who Pugh described as being an "annoying little sister" to Natasha. According to Pugh, the sisterly competition between Yelena and Natasha even extends to the fight scenes.
"It's a common theme that happens throughout the film, I just make fun of Natasha's fighting stance, her fighting pose. I'm constantly throwing digs at her about how she does too much performance and not enough, well, getting the job done. So, everything about Yelena is feisty. It's quick. It's powerful. She'll do the job now as opposed to making it pretty. That's a character attribute that I've clung onto with her throughout the making of this film."
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow features Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle as Rick Mason and Rachel Weisz. The film is currently planned to arrive in theaters on May 7, 2021.