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After Carter’s new neighbor Dottie Underwood turned from clean-cut Iowa girl to lethal assassin, Marvel fans suspected she could be a product of the Red Room. This Soviet institution trained and experimented on young girls to make them into perfect killing machines, and was a major part of Black Widow’s origin story. Now, Agent Carter‘s showrunners have confirmed the connection.
Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters didn’t actually say the phrase “Red Room,” but they were pretty clear about Dottie’s origins. In an interview with IGN, Butters said, “Basically Dottie is the product of a Russian spy program which could end up being the Black Widow program.”
Dottie was originally conceived as a foil for Peggy Carter, as Fazekas and Butters wanted to include a female antagonist. They quickly realized she could add even more to the show if she was linked to Black Widow, and so they asked Marvel for permission to introduce a Russian backstory.
As the interview points out, the comic book version of Black Widow was actually alive in the 1940s, but looks several decades younger as a result of her Red Room modifications. This means it’s possible that Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff could be a child during the time of Agent Carter, although Tara Butters sidestepped the question of whether the Marvel Cinematic Universe will follow the comics like this. As far as we know at the moment, the Black Widow of Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a normal 31-year-old woman.
Elsewhere in the interview, Michele Fazekas made it clear that Dottie Underwood was an original character, not Marvel comics character Yelena Belova, another product of the Black Widow program.
Agent Carter‘s eight-episode run means they don’t have time to keep a lid on this kind of revelation. The plot is fast-paced enough that Dottie Underwood went from harmless background character to mysterious assassin in just two episodes, and next week’s trailer sees Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos travel to Russia, where they appear to be investigating the Red Room itself. Compared to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its months-long tease of an Inhumans storyline, this kind of pace feels far more exciting. Here’s hoping Agent Carter gets renewed for a second season next year.
Photo via Agent Carter/Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor