On Saturday, during Marvel Studios' Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige introduced the cast of Marvel's first Phase 4 film, Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. She's joined by David Harbour as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina.
We know that Taskmaster will a villain in the film, but one of those listed co-stars may be another threat. Though only referred to as Melina, Rachel Weisz's character may be Melina Vostokoff, the armor-clad villain known as Iron Maiden.
In the comics, Vostokoff was a Russian intelligence agent who was constantly overshadowed by the Black Widow. After growing frustrated and resentful of Widow, Vostokoff left the Russian intelligence and began working as a freelance agent and assassin. She was later one of many assassins hired by someone else holding a grudge to assassinate the Black Widow. She almost succeeded.
Iron Maiden then joined the all-female supervillain team called the Femizons when they attempted to sterilize the planet. She went rogue in a failed attempt to take over the science-based terrorist organization AIM. She was last seen being taken out by the Thunderbolts while trying to flee to Canada during the Superhuman Civil War.
So is Weisz playing Iron Maiden? We don't know for sure, but having the same first name seems like too much of a coincidence, and her preexisting relationship with Natasha in the comics means Iron Maiden's inclusion would make a lot of sense.
Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland. The film takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War. That may seem like a strange way to kick off a new phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Feige has asked fans to trust him on this.
"There's a method to the madness," Feige said in June. "There's always a method and doing things in an unexpected way is something we find fun. There are ways to do prequels that are less informative or answer questions you didn't necessarily have, and then there are ways to do prequels where you learn all sorts of things you never knew before."
Other upcoming Marvel Studios projects include The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.