Is There a New Black Widow? Here’s Who Fans Think Will Replace Natasha

There’s a new Black Widow in town – and her name isn’t Natasha – or Scarlett Johansson

And that’s not just because Natasha has gone to the great beyond — or at least, what passes for the great beyond in the world of superheroes. That’s because there was never just one Black Widow — and Marvel fans are pretty sure they’ve figured out who Natasha’s successor will be: Florence Pugh. 

Who is Yelena Belova?

Florence Pugh on the red carpet
Florence Pugh | Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

On Reddit, Marvel fans are convinced that the new Black Widow will be the character played by Florence Pugh, Yelena Belova. The trailer shows her and Natasha having a literal knock-down, drag-out fight, with Yelena seemingly besting Natasha, who calls the character “sis.” 

In the comics, Yelena is the second modern-era character to use the name of Black Widow, after Natasha, but the characters are not biological sisters. Like Natasha, Yelena is a Russian spy trained in the Red Room to become an amoral assassin, but she is manipulated into becoming the new Black Widow. She is sent to kill Natasha, but the characters ultimately become allies. 

As much of a comics devotee as Kevin Feige is, he knows his movies can’t strictly follow the comics because then fans would turn to the comics for all the spoilers. But based on the trailer, fans on Reddit said, “I am thinking they will make Nat think Pugh’s character is dead. Then in a post-credit scene, she’s revealed to be alive and part of (a new)  team.” 

Another fan said, “Pretty sure they’re setting up Pugh to be the new Widow now that Scarlett is done with the role Wouldn’t make sense to cast one of the best young actresses around today in a one-off role.”

Who is Florence Pugh?

Pugh has had a stellar year, giving acclaimed performances in three movies: Fighting with My Family, where she plays wrestling superstar Paige; Midsommar, a horror movie that has Pugh recovering from a family tragedy only to be subjected to further pain, and Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, where Pugh plays Amy March.

As Pugh told Deadline, actors never plan for that kind of rush. 

“I actually did Fighting with My Family years ago when Lady Macbeth was coming out (in 2016). So, it’s funny that it only came out this year. It’s funny how films work like that, but that one I did about two or three years ago. People are always fascinated about what the big boom was, but in actual fact, I’ve been busy for the past four years, and they’ve all just come out. So, it’s not necessarily an overnight thing for me,” she said. 

Pugh, 23, is British, hailing from Oxford. She may be new to Marvel, but she’s well familiar with mum being the word, telling Vanity Fair earlier this year that the movie was “desperately needed,” even before she could admit that she was in it. 

Is Johansson done with Marvel?

Now that fans are finally getting the Black Widow movie they’ve demanded ever since Johansson showed up in Iron Man 2 nearly 10 years ago,  fans naturally wonder if this means Johansson is done with Marvel for good after the movie, especially with Pugh waiting in the wings. 

Maybe in front of the camera. Johansson told the Hollywood Reporter, “”Before, I was more focused on my acting career,” she says. “Now, I’d happily take the time to develop something to direct. I’ve actively looked for a long time and just haven’t found the right fit.”

Does that mean she would direct a future Black Widow movie with Pugh in the lead. It would be a lot to ask for a first-time feature director, but next year’s movie is being directed by a woman, Cate Shortland, and Johansson probably wouldn’t be averse to following in her footsteps.

Whatever happens, she’s enjoyed a banner year of her own, with award-nominated performances in Jojo Rabbit and Marriage Story, not to mention the biggest hit of all time with Avengers: Endgame.