Black Widow could also be biding time till a pandemic-pushed November launch date, however director Cate Shortland is already teasing how the debut solo outing of Scarlett Johansson’s Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran can be set as a springboard for Florence Pugh’s debuting character, Yelena Belova.
In fact, the timing of Black Widow stays curious, seeing because it follows 2019’s Avengers: Endgame [SPOILER ahead, if, for some earthly reason, you haven’t seen it by now], through which Johansson’s Natasha Romanova/Black Widow traveled with Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to the planet Vormir, the place she sacrificed herself to attain the Soul Stone. Nevertheless, whereas the foremost story of the upcoming solo movie clearly takes place earlier than that occasion, Shortland, in an interview with Empire, pushes the notion that it'll additionally function a prospectively franchise-fruitful introduction for Pugh’s Belova. As Shortland explains:
“[Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige] realised that the viewers would count on an origin story so, in fact, we went in the other way. And we didn’t understand how nice Florence Pugh can be. We knew she can be nice, however we didn’t understand how nice. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So, it’s going to propel one other feminine storyline.”
Pugh’s presence brings Black Widow a younger actress whose star has been quickly rising these previous few years, notably since a breakout efficiency in the 2016 Victorian-era interval drama, Woman Macbeth, extra not too long ago starring in the John le Carré adaptation miniseries, The Little Drummer Lady, together with movies akin to Little Girls and Midsommar. Furthermore, the potential handing of the franchise baton to Pugh’s character additionally bears credibility rooted in the pages of Marvel Comics, through which Yelena Belova not solely shares an intriguing frenemy dynamic with Natasha, however even, at one level, assumes the id of Black Widow. As Shortland continues of the potential turnover:
“In Endgame, the followers had been upset that Natasha didn't have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, after I spoke to her about it, stated Natasha wouldn’t have needed a funeral. She’s too non-public, and anyway, individuals don’t actually know who she is. So, what we did on this movie was permit the ending to be the grief the people felt, reasonably than an enormous public outpouring. I feel that’s a becoming ending for her.”
Launched in Inhumans Vol. 2 #5, dated March 1999, Yelena Belova is depicted—as she's going to in the movie—as a former rival of Natasha’s in the brutal Russian-spy-spawning Pink Room Academy. But, the recklessly headstrong operative would expertise fairly a circuitous comedian arc; one which’s intrinsically related to Natasha, notably with a storyline through which S.H.I.E.L.D. captures Yelena and surgically swaps her face with Natasha’s for an undercover op. That incident left Yelena disillusioned, main her in the direction of endeavors like changing into a lingerie empire proprietor and softcore porn broadcaster again in Russia. Nevertheless, she’d be thrown again into the fray with storylines that continued to bear the recurring theme of Natasha/Yelena swaps, the most notable of which noticed the creation of Yelena clones, considered one of whom truly impersonated Natasha as Black Widow after her obvious dying.