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Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

We’ll have to wait a little longer for Black Widow to come out due the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the film industry, but rest assured, the movie is still on the way. Once it does finally hit theaters, we’ll learn more about Natasha Romanoff’s time as a Russian spy, and as it turns out, one of the Black Widow characters who was part of this chapter of her life is someone who was alluded to all the way back in 2012’s The Avengers.

Last June, it was reported that The Departed actor Ray Winstone had been cast in Black Widow, but no details were provided about his character were provided at the time. Now Empire has revealed that Winstone is playing Dreykov, head of the Red Room, a.k.a. the Black Widow Program. In other words, this is the guy who oversaw the process that turned young women into trained killers.

Ray Winstone in Moonfleet

Dreykov was previously name-dropped by Loki when he was conversing with Black Widow while being held captive aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in The Avengers. When Natasha Romanoff told Loki that she had red in her ledger that she wanted to wipe out, the God of Mischief questioned if she could wipe out that much red, and mentioned “Dreykov’s daughter” as one of the dark events from her her past.

Now with Ray Winstone playing Dreykov, ideally that means we’ll finally learn what happened between his daughter and Natasha Romanoff. Of course, because Black Widow is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, any look back at that event will still occur as a flashback. Frankly, it’s possible that Dreykov’s role in the new Marvel movie could exist entirely prior to the main storyline.

Not only have we not seen any footage of Ray Winstone in Black Widow yet, but in the most recent trailer, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova tells Natasha Romanoff that Taskmaster controls the Red Room. Given Ray Winstone’s age and physique, it’s incredibly unlikely that he’s the one suited up as Taskmaster, so Dreykov has surely been relieved of his Red Room leadership position.

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That means either Dreykov has been killed, and all of his scenes in Black Widow will be in flashbacks, or he’s somehow still alive, and Natasha Romanoff and her allies will run into him during the course of their mission. If it’s the latter scenario, it’ll be interesting to see if Dreykov will be an ally or enemy to them. Just because they all mingled together in the Red Room doesn’t mean that they were on good terms.

Black Widow’s cast also includes David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov (a.k.a. the Red Guardian), O.T. Fagbenle as Rick Mason, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff (another Black Widow) and Olivier Richters in an undisclosed role and William Hurt reprising Thaddeus Ross. It’s also been rumored that Tony Stark could pop up, but that still hasn’t been confirmed.

Black Widow was originally supposed to come out on May 1, but as mentioned earlier, it’s been delayed as a result of the coronavirus spreading and hasn’t been given a new release date yet. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more Black Widow updates, and learn what else is coming up on the film side of the MCU with our detailed guide.

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