Hawkeye brought back a couple of fan favorites in its second half, and they threatened to steal the show from leads Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). Not only did Daredevil’s Vincent D’Onofrio make his grand return as Kingpin, but Florence Pugh also followed up her breakout turn in Black Widow by reprising her role as Yelena Belova, Natasha Romanoff’s little sister and fellow assassin.
Pugh was just as entertaining on the Disney Plus series as she was in the Scarlett Johansson flick, with Yelena’s sparky and fun personality not losing any of its edges. Her characterization was so in-keeping with her portrayal in Black Widow that there’s a slight callback to the film hidden in episode five that we all missed.
As pointed out by Redditor u/etaithespeedcuber on the r/MarvelStudios subreddit, Yelena making macaroni and cheese while hiding in Kate’s apartment appears to reference her desire to have mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner in the opening scenes of BW. I think we know what Yelena’s favorite food is.
While Yelena chowing down on macaroni was appears to be a deliberate and scripted reference to Black Widow, much of this sequence between Belova and Kate was improvised by the two actresses. Directors Bert & Bertie have revealed that Yelena’s decision to cover the meal in hot sauce was Pugh’s idea. In real life, she’s crazy about the condiment while Steinfeld doesn’t like it, so Kate’s repelled reactions in the scene are genuine.
It’s unsurprising that Hawkeye captured Yelena’s character so perfectly as showrunner Jonathan Igla has admitted it was his idea to get her on board the series in the first place, which meant that a new post-credits scene had to be added to Black Widow fairly late in the day in order to set up the crossover.
You can stream Black Widow and all six episodes of Hawkeye on Disney Plus now.