Will Florence Pugh’s Yelena Become The Future Black Widow For The Avengers?

Florence Pugh has had one heck of a year, and it’s only going up from here. After starring in the Ari Aster horror hit Midsommar and later his year in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women remake, Black Widow will catapult Pugh even further in her career. She has such a significant role in the film, with her character a direct equal to Natasha, could she carry on the Black Widow name in future MCU films? Nothing is official yet, but it’s a possibility.

Florence Pugh speaks at the Teen Vogue Summit in California.
Florence Pugh at the Teen Vogue Summit 2019 | Rich Fury/Getty Images for Teen Vogue

Florence Pugh has said that this movie isn’t about passing the baton

The future of the MCU and Black Widow are big questions for many fans, considering how loved Natasha was. She died in Endgame, but since Black Widow is taking place not long after Civil War, she’s back. But moving forward, is this the end of the line for Black Widow operatives in the MCU? When IGN asked Pugh flat out if her character, Yelena Belova, would carry on Black Widow in future MCU films, she expressed that this movie isn’t focused on that. 

I don’t know. I think that, for me, when this whole opportunity arose, everything about Yelena isn’t necessarily about being passing [sic] on a mantel. It’s more about they were from the same product, they were a product of the Red Room and they faced the same problems and they have been hurt in the same ways. And it’s about how they get up and how they fix themselves, and this is what this film’s about.  

— Florence Pugh, IGN

Even though Pugh is being very diligent about not revealing or spoiling anything, right now it doesn’t seem like they’re focused on carrying on “Black Widow,” but more so telling her story. Although Pugh isn’t about to spill the beans, this quote doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though. 

Scarlett Johansson said she needs “closure”

Current Black Widow, Johansson, has been vocal about moving on from Marvel, though. She hinted that this might be her last appearance in the MCU. “I don’t know if I can take it anymore without any closure. It’s too exhausting,” she told Entertainment Tonight in regards to Black Widow

Also, she’s thinking of working on other projects she hasn’t been able to commit to earlier. “Before, I was more focused on my acting career,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.” 

You can learn a lot about Yelena Belova from the comics

Yelena has a long history in the comics. Just like in the upcoming film, she trained at the Red Room Academy, just like Natasha. Their relationship is pretty tense, which was hinted at during San Diego Comic-Con this year too. In the comics, they do steer more towards enemy territory, though, and later in her career, Yelena attacks S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers several times. 

Yelena also compares herself to Natasha, since they’re both Black Widows, often saying she (Yelena) is better. There are a couple of different routes the MCU could take with Yelena, including her arc, where she turns to HYDRA to get back at Natasha for stealing her face. But they also could forge her into a hero, just like Natasha.

Both Black Widows are guilty of crimes against the other, so adding Yelena into Black Widow was a smart idea for some good storytelling. Only time will tell if Pugh is here to stay.