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History

At a young age, Yelena Belova was a candidate for the Red Room, a Russian shadow program that trained elite assassins known as Black Widows run by General Dreykov. From ages three to six, Yelena was part of an undercover scheme during which operatives Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff infiltrated Ohio in the United States, with Yelena and fellow but older Black Widow candidate Natasha Romanoff posing as the duo's children. Due to her own age, Yelena was unaware of the true nature of her fake family and grew attached to them. In 1996, Shostakov and Vostokoff completed their mission and blew their cover. The team escaped to Cuba. Once they arrived, Natasha showed that she had grown attached to Yelena by trying to prevent her recruitment into the Red Room.

Although both Natasha and Yelena fell within the five percent of recruits that survived the Red Room training, they became separated early on. Natasha was eventually able to defect to S.H.I.E.L.D. and later the Avengers, breaking free of her mental conditioning. Yelena however was part of the next generation, for whom condition was not psychological but rather chemical. She remained in the Red Room until 2016 when on an assignment to recover the antidote for their mental control she became doused with it herself and went on the run.

With no one else to turn to, Yelena mailed the remaining antidote samples to Natasha, who herself was on the run from after defecting from the Avengers due to the enactment of the Sokovia Accords. Natasha found Yelena in Budapest and learned from her that Dreykov was not dead as she assumed, and that the Red Room was still fully operational. Determined to free the rest of the trainees but lacking the means to locate the Red Room Academy, Yelena and Natasha broke Alexei out of the Siberian prison, who in turn led them to Melina, resulting in their "family" reuniting for the first time in twenty-one years.

As part of the plan to bring down the Red Room, they were captured and taken to the floating Academy that served as Dreykov's headquarters. Melina's knowledge of the facility enabled Yelena to escape, recover the antidote samples that were captured alongside them and release it into the group of Black Widows, instantly snapping them out of Dreykov's control. Because Melina had destabilized the structure, everyone was forced to make a frantic escape but Yelena forsook her chance to sabotage Dreykov's escape craft, finally killing him for good. She was rescued by Natasha who, after making the successful landing, said goodbye to her family and tasked them with replicating the antidote and freeing the rest of the Widows across the world.

In 2023, Yelena was seen visiting Natasha's grave,[1] set after she sacrificed herself in order to bring back the half of life in the universe vanished by Thanos.[2] Yelena had come to work for Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who sent her after Clint Barton, claiming that he was the one responsible for Natasha's death.[1]

Notes

Trivia

  • Yelena's favorite song is "American Pie" by Don McClean.
  • Yelena's trademark green vest debuted in Avengers: Infinity War as part of the movie's design for Black Widow. Years later when working on the early concept designs for Yelena, Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development Andy Park decided to give the vest to Yelena as a throwback, with Black Widow then showing that Natasha had obtained the vest from Yelena.[3]

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Black Widow (film)
  2. Avengers: Endgame
  3. Park, Andy (26 July 2021). Andy Park on Instagram: "Yelena Belova!! What an absolutely fun .... Instagram. Retrieved on 26 July 2021.
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