Florence Pugh is coming to the MCU as a spy, Yelena Belova. Let’s see what we know about her and her relationship with Natasha in Black Widow.
MCU Black Widow will be the debut of Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova. More of an anti-hero in the Marvel comics, she is likely to have a larger role in the future of the MCU. Black Widow AKA Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) sacrificed her for the Soul Stone in Endgame. The events in Black Widow will occur right after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Here we will see Natasha on the run, from the US government, as a vigilante. The film will reveal her past, including the origins of the Red Room (where she became the assassin). It will also bring in other characters like Red Guardian (David Harbour) and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz). The movie also marks the first appearance of Taskmaster, a villain assassin known in Marvel comics for his ability to mimic the fighting techniques of his opponents.
Yelena Belova’s Origins in Marvel Comics
The character of Yelena Belova first made her appearance in 1999. And she was an orphan who trained to be an assassin in the Red Room, just like Natasha. The only difference is that Yelena was not in the Black Widow Ops program. So, she did not receive the biochemical enhancements that Natasha did. She worked for a Russian Intelligence Agency before Natasha re-discovered her, revealing to her the dark secrets of her espionage.
Watch: Florence Pugh Reveals ‘Black Widow’s Connection to Yelena
Even though retiring eventually, attempts on Natasha’s life brought her back to her former assassin world. She ultimately took up the mantel of the Black Widow to honor Natasha’s co-spy after her death. Her peak-human physical skills make her one of the most skilled special agents on Earth. She also shares several weapons with Natasha, the most famous being the wrist-mounted electrical blasters called Widow’s Bite.
According to Marvel archives, there was a time when Hydra experimented on Yelena after she was almost burnt to death by the fire breathe of the mutant Sauron. Her augmentation turned her into the likes of the Avenger’s enemy Super-Adaptoid. However, it seems unlikely for MCU to adapt this incident into its storyline. It is because the villain in Black Widow is Taskmaster, who also has the ability to mimic the moves of his opponents. So there will be a clash. Also, there is another strong argument against Yelena being Taskmaster (since both shared the same powers), a rumor that has been making rounds of late. And is that the director of Black Widow, Cate Shortland, stating that Natasha will be “handing Belova the baton.” So, it means that Yelena will be the new Black Widow in future MCU movies.
Yelena Belova’s future in the MCU
The fact that Yelena Belova will be the new Black Widow paves her way for starring in its sequel too. And not to mention the next Avengers film as well, joining Sam Wilson’s Captain America, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, and others. To look at it in another way, Yelena becoming Black Widow seals Natasha Romanoff’s highly-deserved legacy in the MCU.
Florence Pugh playing Helena is a worthy choice for MCU to carry on the Black Widow storyline. She is one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood after her performances in movies like Midsommar, Little Women, and Fighting with My Family. Moreover, Florence is just 24 years old. So, she could be a part of MCU for a long time now.
Yelena Belova in upcoming Hawkeye Series
A new report suggests that, after Black Widow, we will also see Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+. The word is that she will be donning the Ronin costume just like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) did in Endgame. The series will follow Barton as he moves to New York and trains his apprentice Kate Bishop. There is also news that Hailee Steinfeld of Bumblebee will be playing the character of Kate Bishop.
This co-relation between Black Widow and Hawkeye might finally shine a light on the occurrences in Budapest. Remember when it was first mentioned by Natasha to Barton when they were fighting the Chitauri towards the end of Avengers (2012)? And finally, with Clint’s potential return in Black Widow, we might even see all three, him, Natasha, and Yelena together, before the series arrives. “What, you didn’t see that coming?”