Hawkeye's season finale is just around the corner, and even though Thanos hasn't been threatening Earth since Avengers: Endgame, the effects of his snap, which erased half of the people on the planet, is still being explored through different characters. Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova, who appeared in Episodes 4 and 5 of the series, and is also confirmed for the finale, was seen being Blipped away in the opening scene of the fifth episode.
Pugh made her debut as Yelena earlier in the year when she was seen alongside Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff in Phase 4's first theatrical film, Black Widow.
In the film's post-credits scene at Natasha's grave, Yelena was given a mission - to kill Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton. Many fans assumed that she would appear in Hawkeye to carry out the task, but the time gap between the main story of Black Widow and the post-credits scene had many fans wondering whether or not Yelena got snapped away as many other characters did at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
With the opening scene of Episode 5 of Hawkeye brilliantly showing that she did, in fact, get Blipped away, the directors of the series have recently revealed how they went about the process, and the final product of what is seen in the show isn't always what they intended.
Yelena's Blip Was Originally Different
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hawkeye directors Bert & Bertie talked about the opening scene of Episode 5 that featured Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova being snapped away at the hands of Thanos, and also what it looked like to return from the character's perspective.
Bertie revealed in the interview that the original cut was supposed to look slightly different than the finished product. The dusty, "grainy-ness" that is normally seen when someone is Blipped away was not supposed to be there, and the sequence was initially supposed to seem like a "slight blackout:"
"In conceiving it and actually shooting it, it was going to be much more from her perspective in the way that she wouldn’t actually see the traces of grainy-ness. She wouldn’t see the world-changing, because she was just experiencing this slight blackout."
Viewers will remember seeing the entire design of the bathroom instantly change when Yelena disappeared and then came back. Bertie also revealed that their original idea "didn't feel enough," which prompted them to add the "layers of the wallpaper changing," as well as other effects:
"Then in the edit and in post, it didn’t feel enough. It was making the viewer ask too many questions. We added a little bit of grainy-ness coming back into it, and then the layer of the wallpaper changing. Artistically there is a merging of her state into reality."
The other half of the duo, Bert, added that they wanted to "put the audience in the position of the character" and that seeing someone return from being snapped away "was something we hadn't seen before:"
"That was something we hadn’t seen before. What is it like to have a second pass and actually five years have passed? What does that mean to the world around them? How do we put the audience in the position of the character?"
Bert also revealed that the entire sequence was done "practically," and featured no CGI:
"We love doing things practically. We did build those two different bathrooms. We did change the whole world. It wasn’t a CGI world."
Seeing the Blip From the Character's Perspective
Hawkeye has had two opening scenes that have strongly resonated with its viewers. In the premiere episode, the opening showcased a young Kate Bishop, portrayed by Clara Stack, in her house during the 2012 battle for New York, which was the climax of The Avengers. Kate was saved by a perfectly placed arrow from Hawkeye, showing where her love for archery and her appreciation for Clint Barton originated.
Episode 5 of the series let fans see exactly what happened to Yelena when Thanos snapped away half of the world, but it allowed viewers to see it from a new perspective, showing just how quickly five years passed by for those who suffered from the Blip.
It is interesting to hear Bert & Bertie talk about what was going through their heads while directing the sequence, especially how they had a different idea when first going into the scene. Having Yelena "slightly blackout," and then instantly come back would have given a better perspective on how it actually felt for the characters, but the directors are right when they say that it may have been confusing for the viewer.
Allowing the "grainy-ness" to be present that fans are used to when seeing someone experience the Blip takes all of those questions out, and the audience isn't taken away from the coming scene of the episode by trying to figure out what they just saw.