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'Black Widow' casting news solves a mystery from the first Avengers movie

The red in Natasha's ledger may finally clear up in her delayed solo movie.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has delayed the theatrical release of Black Widow, but the upcoming movie may be worth the wait for Marvel fans. Case in point: Black Widow may finally reveal one of Natasha's dark secrets, first teased in 2012's The Avengers.

In the May 2020 issue of Empire, which has Scarlett Johansson as her Marvel superhero Black Widow on the cover, the magazine revealed that actor Ray Winstone will play "Dreykov," the head of the super-secret Red Room that trained Black Widow. The issue was released digitally on March 19.

In the issue of Empire, the magazine confirms Ray Winstone is Dreykov: "Shortland's team built the '60s-inspired offices of Ray Winstone's Dreykov, head of the Red Room, and the almost Star Trek-like glass-fronted prison cells that lie beneath it, where [David Harbour's] Alexei will be spending some time in the movie."

This is huge. The name Dreykov was first mentioned out loud in 2012's The Avengers. Halfway through the first Marvel ensemble movie, Natasha interrogates Loki (Tom Hiddleston) aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. When Natasha tells Loki she owes Hawkeye a debt, Loki taunts her, "Can you wipe out that much red? Dreykov's daughter. São Paulo. The hospital fire. Barton told me everything."

Dreykov, São Paulo, this hospital fire — all these things have been unanswered mysteries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years. Exactly what happened to Dreykov's daughter? Exactly what happened in Brazil? And what hospital fire? (Maybe this one?) With Winstone portraying Dreykov in Black Widow, fans will finally learn more about what haunts the most enigmatic Avenger.

Scarlett Johansson, as "Black Widow" in 'The Avengers' (2012).Marvel Enterprises/Kobal/Shutterstock

For those who've seen Avengers: Endgame and are confused about why Black Widow is still alive, don't give yourself a headache. The film is confirmed to take place between the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). After the dissolution of the Avengers, Black Widow goes on the run, while reuniting with her family to take down the sinister group that created her and other assassins like her.

While Marvel fans don't know when they'll get to see Black Widow, they may want to take lead from Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. Until such time the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on.

Black Widow is delayed with no official release date.

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