After what feels like an eternity, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first feature film in two years finally arrives next Friday when Black Widow explodes onto the big screen and Disney Plus Premier Access. Reviews have ranged from the middling to the massively enthusiastic, but there’s a lot of people under the impression that Scarlett Johansson’s long-awaited solo debut may have arrived just a little too late to the party.
It’s a downer for fans that they’ve spent a decade wanting to see the character get her own standalone blockbuster, only for it to be positioned as a prequel set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Natasha having been killed off in the main timeline during the epic two-part conclusion to the Infinity Saga.
However, the good news is that Florence Pugh reportedly makes a phenomenal first impression as Yelena Belova, and she’s already been confirmed for her next MCU appearance in Disney Plus series Hawkeye. Black Widow director Cate Shortland confirmed last year that a new face will be picking up the mantle, and now she’s admitted that sequels without Johansson are a distinct possibility.
“I think following a different character, yes. I think Scarlett is really happy that she’s leaving the party, you know, and she’s not the last to leave. She decided she wanted to go. And I don’t think she would want to come back at the moment.”
Based on the reactions to her performance in Black Widow, there’s already an awful lot of people that would love to see Pugh’s Yelena carry the franchise into the future. Marvel Studios have upwards of two dozen movies and TV shows in the works as it is, though, so even if the Academy Award nominated actress were to take top billing in the MCU’s hypothetical multi-film espionage franchise, it more than likely wouldn’t come to fruition for at least a good few years yet, although big box office numbers could always see it fast-tracked.