'Black Widow': How The Limited Time Frame Influenced Ray Winstone's "Cowardly" Villain

After over a year's delay, Black Widow is finally here! That means we also have a new Marvel Cinematic Universe villain to add to the rosters.

Given the movie's short timeframe between the end of Captain American: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, creating that villain had a unique set of challenges. /Film talked with the movie's screenwriter, Eric Pearson, about how he created the insidious Dreykov (Ray Winstone), including how he made sure the Red Room leader's evil machinations made sense in the MCU world.

Black Widow Needed Its Villain To Be Evil And Insidious

Black Widow starts out after Captain America: Civil War, where Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on the run. Everything that happens in Black Widow also has to happen before the events of Avengers: Infinity War. In other words, the timeframe was short. And to make things even more challenging, the events in the movie couldn't contradict what happened in Infinity War and beyond.

"This was the trickiest one," Pearson told /Film when asked how he juggled Black Widow's story with the happenings in the larger MCU. "And probably the villain was the trickiest part of that, because you needed a villain threat that could realistically succeed and we wouldn't notice [in other MCU films]. That was the hardest thing."

The challenge caused Pearson to think about what kind of villain could operate undetected, and why they'd want to do so. "It led me to a place where it worked for the spy thriller genre that we're going for — and for Natasha's character as well — to have a scumbag-y villain who is basically a coward and hiding in the dark, puppeteering things. And because they're such a coward, not caring about how much they're ruining other people's lives."

Still Villainous, Even Though He Doesn't Blow Up The Moon

Dreykov and his Red Room do a very good job of ruining other people's lives, although their impact might not be as obvious as say, Loki and Thanos' army invading New York City. This high level of insidiousness was intentional. "[Dreykov] felt like an appropriate villain threat that also works in the film, as opposed to say, 'I'm going to blow up the moon,'" Pearson explained. "You can't say that because we've seen Infinity War. There's a moon there. We know that."

Even though the moon is safe, the stakes in Black Widow are still pretty high. We'll be running the full interview with Pearson soon, where you can get his thoughts on Yelena, Natasha, and more. You can also check out Dreykov's villainous ways when Black Widow premieres in theaters and on Disney+ Premiere Access on July 9, 2021.