Black Widow will potentially mark the final outing of Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff in the MCU, but it seems that the hero's mantle will continue due to the arrival of Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova.
Directed by Cate Shortland, the upcoming MCU prequel will showcase what happened to Romanoff in between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It was revealed in marketing that the main mission of the Avenger is to finish off the Red Room once and for all, thus prompting her to reunite with her Russian family which includes David Harbour's Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz's Melina Vostokoff, and the aforementioned Yelena.
A good chunk of the promotion of the film is focused on the dynamic between Romanoff and Yelena, and this gives fans a sense that the film will feature a passing of the torch moment between the two Red Room sisters.
This was further amplified by Shortland's comment about the fact that Black Widow will "propel another female storyline” with Johansson's Natasha Romanoff “handing the baton” to Pugh's Yelena.
Now, a new tidbit about future storylines involving Pugh's character has been revealed.
FLORENCE PUGH OPENS UP ABOUT MCU FUTURE
The film's lead star Scarlett Johansson first opened up about Pugh's MCU tenure, admitting that the actress has a “really beautiful career” ahead of her:
“She has a really beautiful career ahead of her... she's a very special person.”
Johansson may well have hinted at Pugh's bright MCU future, considering that different rumors are swirling about the idea that Yelena Belova will take the Black Widow mantle from Natasha Romanoff.
Pugh acknowledged the fact that her assuming the Black Widow title is where “everybody wants to go,” but pointed out that the upcoming MCU prequel “never really felt like... it was trying to underline" future Marvel appearances for her character:
“Even though that's obviously where everybody wants to go and wants to think about - to think about what's next - this film never really felt like that was what it was trying to underline.”
Despite that, Johansson noted that test audiences of Black Widow praised Pugh's portrayal of Yelena in the film and want to see more of her in the future:
"Her character and her performance is so beloved."
FLORENCE PUGH'S BRIGHT FUTURE AS YELENA BELOVA
Florence Pugh's MCU future is uncertain after Black Widow, but this latest comment could hint that there is something more for her in upcoming projects. Scarlett Johansson's praise towards the actress echoed similar statements from fans and even their co-star, O-T Fagbenle.
It is currently unknown how big Yelena's role will be in the film, but signs point to the idea that she will be vital to the whole storyline and progression of Romanoff's MCU arc. Infinity War proved this through Romanoff's tribute to Yelena by wearing her vest throughout the film, and this could solidify the special bond between the two sisters.
Pugh's remark about the topic of taking over the Black Widow mantle makes sense, considering that plot details of the prequel have yet to be unraveled. It's possible that the actress is only saying this now because her future might be in heavy spoiler territory.
Regardless, the confirmation that the Yelena Belova character is “so beloved” by test audiences should serve as a good sign for Phase 4's first MCU film, and it will be interesting to find out the reason why when Black Widow premieres on Disney+ and in theaters on July 9, 2021.