The entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four looks to be defined by legacy, as we’ve seen already with Sam Wilson inheriting the mantle of Captain America from Steve Rogers in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That theme will continue in Black Widow, which is finally coming to theaters and Disney Plus Premier Access tomorrow, with Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova ready to pick up from where Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff leaves off.
Pugh has already been confirmed as part of Disney Plus series Hawkeye, hammering home the notion even further by lending support in a show that’s set to see Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop take over from Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton. Black Widow director Cate Shortland confirmed a long time ago that Yelena is set to take over as the MCU’s resident premiere covert operative, and in a new interview Pugh admitted that she’s game for following in Johansson’s footsteps.
“First of all, I think when I came on board there wasn’t even any conversations of whether there’d be this scene or that scene or a future Yelena. It was just like, ‘Get involved, get stuck in’. And I was so grateful to be invited. Going forward, I think the most wonderful thing and the scary thing is that, obviously, I’ve got major shoes to fill. It’s just been really wonderful seeing all the ways that Scarlett’s changed conversation about her character.
And I think for me, whatever future there is, I would love to, I suppose, follow in her footsteps in that way. How do we make Yelena different, how do we make her stand out? How do we make her powerful? And that’s going to be an ongoing, I hope, conversation. Yeah, I suppose follow in Scarlett’s footsteps in that way, changing it.”
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The 25 year-old is one of the fastest-rising talents in the industry despite only tackling her first-ever feature film leading role five years ago in historical drama Lady Macbeth, and she’s already won acclaim for a string of impressive performances, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her turn in Little Women.
The title of Black Widow looks to be in supremely safe hands, and Shortland has already hinted that sequels could follow with Pugh replacing Johnasson in the title role. It’s a bittersweet moment for fans to finally say goodbye to Natasha after she’s spent eleven years as one of the shared mythology’s most popular recurring figures before finally getting that solo movie, but at least her legacy will be handed off to a more than qualified successor.