Disney’s latest Marvel movie Black Widow will detail some of the origin story of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), from long before she joined the Avengers. However, new sources say “Johansson will be out after Black Widow, and Black Widow 2 will feature Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) as the titular superhero.”
The upcoming Black Widow movie is set to introduce Pugh’s Yelena, a friend and colleague of Natasha.
The film also introduces an entire new world of Russian spies, including David Harbour as Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff.
Black Widow’s latest entry into the MCU was in Avengers Endgame, where she sacrificed herself in order to claim the Soul Stone, in efforts to defeat Thanos.
With the character dead and buried, her upcoming origin story is all that stands before the end of Natasha’s journey.
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It has not yet been confirmed whether Black Widow 2 will take place after Avengers Endgame, or be another prequel for the Marvel series.
Traditionally, in the Marvel comic books, Yelena is the second Black Widow, and takes over for Natasha after Russia suspected she had defected.
Yelena is seen in the trailer for the film helping Natasha against her new foe, The Taskmaster.
Further reports have surfaced that Pugh will reprise her role as Yelena in the upcoming Hawkeye Disney Plus series.
The Hawkeye series, which is due out some time this year, is going to take a look at Jeremy Renner’s character in a new lens, with a focus on his loss of hearing, and his new sidekick: Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
Pugh has become a much sought-after star over the past few years, appearing in hit movies such as Midsommar, and Little Women.
Pugh replacing Johansson may not be entirely surprising to fans, as director of Black Widow, Cate Shortland, previously admitted Yelena was being set up as the next female Marvel star.
Cate said in an interview: “Kevin Feige realised that the audience would expect an origin story so of course, we went in the opposite direction.
“We didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn’t know how great.”
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Cate added: “Scarlett is so gracious, like: ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So it’s going to propel another female storyline.”
Johansson herself has explained how the Black Widow movie brought her closure for the character.
She said in an interview: “There was no reason to do a Black Widow standalone film unless we could dig deep and be brave. I’m very happy with all the work we’ve done on the Marvel Studios films.
“I felt that Avengers: Endgame was so satisfying I wanted to make sure Black Widow would be so satisfying, not just for the fans, but also for myself, artistically and creatively, after a decade of playing this character.”
Johansson added: “This film gives the opportunity for some sort of healing and understanding as to why Natasha decides to make that ultimate sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame.”
Although Disney are primed to release Black Widow in cinemas later this year, recent reports have suggested it is going to be pushed to streaming service Disney Plus instead.
This wouldn’t be the first film from Disney to see just an online release, as Mulan and Soul both arrived on TV screens last year, rather than cinemas.
Black Widow is due for release in cinemas on May 7, 2021.
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