'Black Widow' trailer confirms key character's sinister alter ego

Meet the Iron Maiden.

With the release of the final Black Widow trailer ahead of its May release date, Marvel offered a smorgasbord of possible clues as to what awaits Natasha Romanoff in her face-off with new MCU villain Taskmaster. In previous trailers, fans gleaned info about Natasha's family, the allies she'll rely on in this adventure. Within this new footage lies a clue that holds the key to Rachel Weisz's character: Melina Vostokoff, aka Iron Maiden.

At first, the name Melina appeared to be a mere nod to the comics, with no other real association to the original character. However, the latest trailer depicts Melina leading Natasha into a hidden storeroom filled with weapons, grenades, wigs and other superhero supplies. Most importantly, we can see a silver mask displayed on a shelf.

Marvel Entertainment

That's the unmistakable mask of the Iron Maiden. Though it seems unlikely we'll see her wear the chrome in the movie, the presence of the headgear implies that she operated under the codename at one point or another. Considering the dubious morals of Iron Maiden in the comic books, there may be a reason this item is stashed away somewhere safe.

Iron Maiden made her premiere in 1983's Marvel Fanfare Vol. 1 #11, as one of six villains sent to kill the Black Widow upon her return to Russia. Of the six, Melina remained the sole survivor, finally confronting Natasha one-on-one.

The Iron Maiden's introduction

Marvel Comics

Revealing herself to be a fellow assassin trained in the Red Room, Melina explains she was constantly overshadowed by Natasha's success. As time went on, a seething sense of spite drove her away from organizations like The Avengers and into free agency. On occasion, Iron Maiden crossed paths with Marvel heroes, as recently seen in the 2016 TV series tie-in comic, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Vol. 1 #2.

Melina in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Marvel Comics

Of course, The Iron Maiden was initially an enemy of Black Widow, and Melina Vostokoff in the movie is seen fighting alongside Natasha. If the pair have clashed in the past as they have in the comics, tensions could re-escalate during the fight against Taskmaster.

One major theory suspects that Melina will return to her villainous ways and don the mask once more. This would mean not only betraying Natasha, but also potentially her other allies, which would include Yelena Belova and Alexei Shostakov (aka the Red Guardian). While seeing the newfound family unit torn apart would be difficult to witness, the thought of seeing Iron Maiden in her full metallic glory on the big screen is enticing, to say the least.

Black Widow premieres in theaters May 1.

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