The post-credits scene of Black Widow posed several questions for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which just goes to show the level of detail put into every frame of the franchise. To boil it down, we saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine show Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova a picture of Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton, but that was more than enough to set tongues wagging.
It’s clear that Yelena has been working with the Contessa for a while, and based on how The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended up, that could position her as a possible member of the Thunderbolts alongside John Walker and Baron Zemo. She’s clearly being lied to as well, because we already know Natasha Romanoff made the ultimate sacrifice play when Clint would have happily taken the fall, which sets up some internal conflict.
On top of that, fans are wondering if Yelena might accomplish her mission, considering Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop is poised to pick up the mantle in Hawkeye, which has been rumored heavily as Renner’s final MCU outing. However, a new theory offers that the Contessa may have sent Yelena to recruit Kate to her cause by removing her mentor from the equation, which is an interesting way of looking at it.
Val’s M.O. so far has been to recruit newer faces that act as mirror versions of established Avengers, and Kate fits that bill a whole lot better than Clint does. In the comic books, her parents are also criminals that could realistically have pre-existing ties to the Contessa, and if this is the direction Hawkeye is heading then it would only serve to reinforce her two-faced and mischievous genius.