Marvel Studios is letting their own secrets out the door as they promoted the upcoming Black Widow film by revealing Rachel Weisz’s character on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Kimmel, clearly reading a script, introduces Weisz to the show stating, “Our first guest tonight is an Oscar winner who is about to leap into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
“She plays Melina Vostokoff in Black Widow. It opens in theaters and Disney+ Premiere Access on July 9th. Please welcome Rachel Weisz. Hi Rachel. How are you?”
After being introduced, Weisz tries to create some mystique around Kimmel’s reveal of her character’s last name.
“I’m very well. I think we are not allowed to say Melina’s second name though, right?” She then proceeds to wink at Kimmel.
Kimmel then plays dumb claiming he can’t hear her. He says, “What’s that? Will you say that again? Sorry, I couldn’t hear.”
Weisz responds, “I think we are prohibited from saying Melina’s second name. I think it’s a Marvel Cinematic Universe secret?”
Kimmel then asks, “Is it a secret that I just ruined?” Weisz replies, “I believe so. Oh well. You’ve done it now.”
The whole thing is a marketing ploy as the closed captions from the trailer released back in April 2021 reveals Weisz’s character’s name is Melina Vostokoff.
As for who Melina Vostokoff is, she was originally born Melina Vostokova, but primarily goes by the name Iron Maiden. She first appeared in Marvel Fanfare #11 back in 1983.
In her brief introduction in the series she’s described as a “former Russian agent [who] for years lived in the shadow of the Black Widow — and now desires redress for her grievance.”
In her first appearance she’s one of a group of assassins hired by Damon Dran to assassinate Black Widow.
We get a little bit more information about her in Marvel Fanfare #12.
She tells Black Widow, “You knew me once as Melina Vostokoff. We both toiled in the service of the Soviet state then — before you defected to the West, and I became an independent agent. For years my achievements went unnoticed, overshadowed always by the more flamboyant exploits of the Black Widow. Now I shall avenge those slights — and destroy you in the process.”
And she almost does defeat Black Widow with the help of her exo-skeleton suit.
She’s only prevented from doing so by Agent Jimmy Woo and a group of agents from S.H.I.E.L.D.
While the Iron Maiden escapes, Widow puts a tracker on her and she and Woo track her into a sewer. But the Iron Maiden anticipated Widow’s move and ambushes her. Another struggle ensues and the Iron Maiden has the upper hand once again.
Fortunately, Woo bails out Widow, again albeit at her advice. He fires a hole in the sewer that creates a whirlpool and sends the Iron Maiden spinning down the drain.
It will be interesting to see if there is anything to the name reveal.
The promotional material for the film has portrayed Weisz’s character as a mother figure and ally to Natasha as well as another assassin trained in the Red Room by the Soviet Union.
However, it could all be a deception and she’s actually seeking revenge on Widow.