Much like his Budapest partner, Hawkeye is finally getting an MCU project to call his own, with a Disney+ series now on the way.
Several images from Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner indicate that production is about to get rolling, suggesting that his solo jaunt is not too far off. Comic book character Kate Bishop will be co-leading the series, with a lot of evidence pointing to Bumblebee’s Hailee Steinfeld taking on the role.
Several other characters have been reported for the series, including the villain Madame Masque as well as characters lifted from comic writer Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon.
One of the major new additions to the MCU is Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, who will make her debut in the upcoming Black Widow. A “handing [of] the baton” has been teased for Pugh’s character, though it is unknown what form this could take in the film.
Now, it's been made clear that Florence Pugh will be taking her MCU baton to Disney+ in a familiar Marvel series…
Florence Pugh, who is co-starring in next year's Black Widow as the assassin Yelena Belova, will reprise her Marvel role in Hawkeye on Disney+, The Direct has exclusively learned.
Although the full extent of Pugh's role is currently unknown, our sources indicate Pugh's Yelena will don a Ronin-inspired costume - similar to the suit that Clint Barton wore in Avengers: Endgame - at one point in the series.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Marvel Studios clearly has big plans for Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova in the MCU. Cate Shortland stated that Black Widow would “propel” Yelena’s storyline forward. This may indicate that the film could position her as the new Black Widow, taking on the mantle in Natasha’s stead. This connection to Natasha and the Black Widow title could be the reason for Yelena’s appearance in the Hawkeye series.
Whether Clint actually knew of Yelena is unknown, but a potential appearance from the archer in Black Widow could find the two meeting up to set up the Disney+ show. As her capacity in the series is still unknown, it remains to be seen how involved Yelena will be in Hawkeye’s story. She may help Clint on a one-off occasion on a mission, or could play a more formative, supporting role who aids Hawkeye and Kate Bishop throughout the series.
The fact that a Ronin-type suit will be worn by Yelena could throw the possibility of her taking on the Black Widow identity out the window. There's a chance that the character could don the title of Ronin for a short period of the series, using it in some sort of undercover operation while maintaining the Black Widow title outside of this.
With the Hawkeye series being titled the way it is, it appears that the Ronin identity will be up for grabs, so Yelena may jump at the chance to take it. Despite this, Clint did commit many horrors during his time as Ronin, so it will be interesting to see whether the series addresses the crimes and potential negative connotations associated with the Ronin mantle.
It should be also noted that Yelena Belova’s comrade Alexei Shostakov, aka Red Guardian, used the Ronin alias a time in the comics. Yelena gaining the title may be the MCU’s version of adapting this storyline to another character. Whatever the case, it will be exciting to see the Ronin costume come back in some form, due to its somewhat limited screentime in Avengers: Endgame.
Florence Pugh will make her big-screen MCU debut as Yelena Belova in Marvel’s Black Widow when it hits theaters on May 7, 2021.