To many viewers’ surprise, nobody died in Black Widow. At least, no one good. With the events of the blockbuster film billed as an official goodbye to Natasha Romanoff, it seemed possible that the project may be written as a stand-alone feature. As such, many justly assumed the grand majority of Black Widow-centric characters would end up as one-hit wonders. Nevertheless, the film’s release last week revealed that, aside from the dastardly Dreykov and his Red Room, not a single other major player met their end before the credits rolled.
With surprisingly enjoyable characters like David Harbour‘s Red Guardian still on the active roster, we are likely to see all of them again in some capacity. Especially with Marvel Studios’ recent penchant for bringing back characters we thought they forgot about. Of course, this begs the question of when and where Black Widow‘s supporting staff will make another appearance. We already know where we’ll see Florence Pugh‘s Yelena Belova next, but the answer isn’t as obvious for some of the others:
One of the standout introductions, David Harbour‘s Alexei Shostokoff, is undeniably fun to watch. The Russian Super-Soldier known as Red Guardian spent most of Black Widow‘s story trying to prove his might and prove to his girls he that loves them dearly. While he never truly reformed his criminal tendencies, he did manage to survive the destruction of the Red Room with a little more heart than he helped build it with. So, where do we see him pop up next?
The obvious answer may be Anthony Mackie‘s Captain America 4, where he could finally go toe-to-toe with his American counterpart. Alternatively, we could see the battle-hungry Shostokoff as a member of the Mandarin’s underground tournament in Shang-Chi. Although in my mind, there could be a more creative solution to this conundrum.
An emotional moment between Alexei and Yelena in the film included a cheeky Marvel reference, where Yelena accidentally refers to Alexei as another comic book villain, the Crimson Dynamo. He is a Russian version of Iron Man and already was adapted to the MCU in Iron Man 2 as an amalgamation with Whiplash. His inclusion there doesn’t mean he can’t play still play a role in the future.
Armor Wars traditionally features Dynamo in some role or another. It seems the MCU’s best path to making this a reality is giving Alexei a set of armor in their upcoming adaptation. The glory hog could easily use some stolen Stark tech to enhance his abilities and perhaps even take the new name as a tribute to Nat and Yelena.
Here’s your last spoiler warning if you want to avoid the biggest twist in the film.
Taskmaster’s top-secret identity turned out to be Antonia Dreykov, played by Olga Kurylenko, the brainwashed daughter of the Red Room’s founder. The involuntary antagonist has been the subject of much debate, mostly centering on her comic book inaccuracy. In the comics, Taskmaster is a man named Tony Masters, who acts as a willing mercenary and combat instructor. The dissimilarity between the two characters seems massive, but it may actually be easy for the MCU to bridge the gap.
When we last see Antonia, she’s been freed from her father’s control and joins the rest of the Black Widows in escaping from federal custody. On the run, with a surname as dangerous as “Dreykov,” the mnemonic assassin would probably want to go by a different moniker. A shortening of Antonia leads to “Toni,” while a clever play on her codename could potentially lead to a fake surname like Masters.
With a new identity and the chance to express herself, Toni could use her skills to survive as a mercenary. Or perhaps, in an attempt to repossess her past, she could revise the concept of the Red Room and open an academy that better suits her objectives. This twist would probably be a concept best explored in a Black Widow sequel, but I wouldn’t rule out the character returning in a project related to whatever the Contessa has planned up her mysterious sleeve.
Melina Vostokoff & Rick Mason
The future of Rachel Weisz‘s Melina Vostokoff is a little harder to pin down than the others. Her emotional attachment to Alexei means the pair are likely to appear as a unit. So, I would expect the character to appear in Armor Wars, receiving a comic-accurate “Iron Maiden” get-up. She could also be the potential candidate for the aforementioned Dark Avengers project down the line. As for professional finder Rick Mason, his history as a SHIELD agent makes him a suitable match for Secret Invasion, either as a newfound member of Monica Rambeau’s S.W.O.R.D. organization or an old ally of Nick Fury called in to help. Who knows, maybe he was a Skrull all along?