Hawkeye’s ending suggests that Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova could be the next Black Widow, despite what Marvel President Kevin Feige has said.
Warning: the following contains SPOILERS for Hawkeye.
Hawkeye has put Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) in the perfect position to become the new Black Widow in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the release of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) Black widowMarvel President Kevin Feige has said in particular that Yelena will not become the next Black Widow. Rather, Feige explained that Yelena will carry on her sister Natasha’s legacy, but in her own way, as her own character. That said, as The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe reveals, Feige’s plans for the MCU are very flexible and none of Marvel’s current plans are set in stone. This means that there is a very real possibility that Yelena may take on the Black widow mantle at some point within Phase 4 of the MCU.
In Hawkeye, Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) hires Black Widow’s killer and former Red Room agent Yelena to kill Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Yelena accepts the assignment because she believes Clint killed Natasha, a theory that is supported by Clint’s murderous actions as the vigilante Ronin. However, when Yelena was about to finish the job, Clint used Natasha’s secret whistle, known only to those she trusted very much, to convince Yelena of the truth about how Black Widow sacrificed herself in Avengers Endgame, leading her to spare Clint’s life.
HawkeyeNot only did the ending give Yelena a clearer picture of what it means to be an Avenger, it may have also inspired her to carry on Natasha’s heroic legacy as the Black Widow. Despite what Kevin Feige has said, Yelena assuming Natasha’s title in her honor, and defending the same things that Natasha did during her time as Avenger, would be perfect for both Phase 4 and Phase 5 of the MCU. As well as giving the MCU a new Black Widow that is worthy of the title, this is also congruent with Yelena’s severely upright moral compass, as revealed by her missions to free other assassins from the Red Room and kill an Avenger in search of justice for Natasha’s death. Also, it would be a great tribute to Marvel comics, in which Yelena became the new Black Widow after Natasha. And as Feige has reconfigured his own MCU plans to find ways for better ideas to flourish, Marvel’s president’s announcement that Yelena won’t become the next Black Widow could be a way to get rid of Marvel fans who they know too much. about Yelena’s comic book history.
Indeed, Feige’s reveal about Yelena continuing Natasha’s legacy, but in her own way, could mean that she won’t be an Avenger. Rather, the Black Widow version of Yelena might be more of a standalone hero, helping the new Avengers in their upcoming battles, but never becoming an official member of the team. This is further evidenced in the conversation in Hawkeye between Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Yelena, in which the latter discusses how the Avengers are glorified villains who should not be exempt from justice. Although Yelena now knows that Clint did not kill Natasha, Yelena’s points about the dangers of superhero worship still hold true, meaning that she may not choose to become the Avenger when she finally dons the Black Widow’s mantle.
Hawkeye in fact, she has laid the perfect foundation for Yelena to become the next Black Widow. It would certainly be consistent with what fans want for Yelena’s future. More importantly, Feige knows it’s the perfect next step to further develop Yelena’s character in the MCU.