Warning: This story contains spoilers about Black Widow.
In the long-awaited film Black Widow, moviegoers can see Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) making her official MCU debut. While the prequel was released years after Natasha Romanoff's death in Avengers: Endgame, it gives Scarlett Johansson's character her solo hero journey that is well deserved, as well as a formal introduction to Yelena. Black Widow is not an origin story — it's more of a superhero vignette.
It highlights a gap in the Avengers timeline when Natasha was briefly separated from her team. The majority of the film deals with the fallout of Natasha's disastrous faux-family legacy, as she reluctantly seeks out her now-adult sister, father Alexei (David Harbour), and mother Melina (Rachel Weisz) in a bid to take down the Red Room once and for all. The movie also has post-credits. The scene begins with a moment fans had hoped for since Natasha's death was quickly passed over in Endgame.
Yelena takes a trip to a cemetery in the Midwest where Melina and Alexei raised the girls. The movie then shows Natasha's tombstone, which reads that she was a daughter, sister, and Avenger. The scene appears to be heartfelt as Yelena pays her respects to her sister but gets interrupted by Valentina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Valentina gives Yelena her next mission, which confirms to viewers that she'll be in the series Hawkeye. Is Yelena going to kill Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)?
Is Yelena going to kill Hawkeye because she believes he killed Natasha?
In the post-credits, Val says to Yelena, "Maybe you'd like a shot at the man responsible for your sister's death?" and then shows her a photo of Clint. Did he really kill Natasha? Both Hawkeye and Natasha visit the planet of Vormir to obtain the Soul Stone needed to defeat Thanos. The only way anyone could access it is by sacrificing a loved one, and the two heroes battle it out in an epic race to see who could kill themselves first.
Hawkeye tries desperately to stop her from falling, but in the end, she makes her choice. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) does try bringing Natasha back to life with the Infinity Gauntlet, but it does not work. So even though Natasha is dead because of Clint, Valentina fails to leave out some major key parts. Such as the whole struggle between him and Natasha, that one of them needed to die to save half of the universe, and most importantly, Clint didn't directly cause her death.
It's quite clear that Clint would have rather died himself instead of Natasha once he returned. We don't know if Yelena is going to kill Hawkeye when she joins the series, but we know that Val is an expert when it comes to emotional manipulation. If she's willing to tell the exact lie to Yelena that she needed to hear to go after Clint, who knows what lies she'll tell to other MCU characters. If Yelena does kill Hawkeye, this could give Val all the power, which would be horrifying.
It appears that she's trying to replace all the Avengers, and she'll resort to doing whatever it takes to take out certain ones. This would be a huge mistake for Marvel to go in this direction entirely, but a power struggle between Val and the Avengers would make for interesting storylines in the future. It will be exciting to see if Yelena does kill Clint and why exactly Val wants him offed.
Is Yelena the new Black Widow?
The same deadly people have trained Yelena in the same deadly ways as her surrogate older sister Black Widow, so it would make sense that she would be taking over. We don't know exactly if her character name going forward will be Black Widow, but we do know that Yelena will be taking the reins. In an interview with ComicBook, Florence Pugh confirmed that she would be taking over the role from Scarlett Johansson.
She explains, "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."
She goes on to say, "It's just been really wonderful seeing all the ways that Scarlett's changed the conversation about her character. And I think for me, whatever future there is, I would love to, 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 to follow in Scarlett's footsteps in that way, changing it."
We can't wait to see what's in store for Yelena.
Black Widow is now in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access.