Black Widow’s latest trailer makes an astonishing reference to Natasha Romanoff’s mother.
Marvel’s Black Widow film introduces Natasha Romanoff’s Russian family, and it may be reconsidering her past for MCU. Directed by Kate Shortland, Black Widow will provide Scarlett Johansson’s eponymous hero gives a long overdue one-off film despite the death of the character in the Avengers: Endgame.
Set mostly between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, it finds Natasha returning to her family in Russia, which compromised Alexei Shostakov, aka Red Guardian (David Harbor), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and Melina Vostok (Rachel Weisz).
Black Widow is expected to explore Natasha’s mysterious past with hinted by previous MCU movies, including what happened with her and Hawkeye in Budapest. Along with this, she also had a family before she started working on SHIELD and became an Avenger. Yelena is Natasha’s sister like, and others are more of a spiritual family like the Avengers, but now it is suggested that Melina is actually her mother.
In the new Black Widow trailer, we see a familiar dinner table scene between the aforementioned leading players of the Black Widow, but this time with more dialogue.
Melina tells Natasha to rot, and when she starts to protest, the Red Guardian says: “Listen to your mother.” This is an exciting line since it is not clear that he is dangerous (and literally) in referring to Melina as Natasha’s mother.
What that often means is that the Red Guardian is just kidding – in particular, the scene looks like comic relief. Since Melina is serving as the mother figure at the table, then it fits with what we’ve seen of Alexei’s humor to call her Nat’s mother jokingly.
That being said, Melina maybe Natasha’s actual mother. Rachel Weisz is 15 years elder to Johansson, so its plausible that she could play her mother. Little is known about Natasha’s origins in the MCU, and not particularly about her mother. Red Skull’s line about Ivan in Avengers: Endgame hints at her father, and nothing about her mother is revealed.
Because of that, she never knows who her mother is, and it is thought that she died when Natasha was young. This is what happened in the Marvel Comics; Natasha was left orphaned at a young age and raised by a man named Ivan Petrovich. Natasha’s mother, meanwhile, was killed in the Battle of Stalingrad, and her identity is unknown.
The MCU goes even further by suggesting that Ivan is really the birth father of a Black Widow, and so this could make changes to her mother as well. At the same time, Natasha has a real history with Melina and is aware. It would be odd if they spent all those years together, and she never learned her father’s name from her, because she never knew it in the Endgame. If Marvel wanted to find a way around this to make Melina the birth mother of Natasha, it would have been possible, but probably not necessary.
Melina may or may not be a villain like Iron Maiden (trailers suggest she’s not yet). Still, she is a Black Widow and therefore connected to the Red Room (whose training process made unable to have children). Calling her a “mother” may be a reference to her character there and how other black widows viewed her.
It makes more sense as an in-joke or more adopted name rather than Melina literally being Black Widow’s mother.