Next May, MCU fans will officially delve into the land of Phase IV as BLACK WIDOW is set to debut. Actress Scarlett Johansson will return to the titular role which will have Natasha Romanoff confronting her dark past post CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. The film is supposed to connect to the Red Room espionage training program from the comics as well, the place where Natasha first got “red in her ledger.”
One of the graduates of the Red Room program is also Florence Pugh‘s character Yelena. Fans of the comics will note that Yelena takes on the mantle of Black Widow after Romanoff dies. Since Johansson’s character did in fact die during the events of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, many have speculated that Pugh will in fact become the next Black Widow for the MCU. However, the actress herself isn’t so sure. In a recent interview where Pugh was discussing several of her film projects, the English actress was asked directly if she is in fact the new Black Widow:
“No, I actually will say when we were making it, it wasn’t anything like that at all. And I am saying it very honestly, it certainly didn’t feel like a passing of the torch kind of film when we were making it.”
As much as I respect and admire Florence Pugh, my first reaction when reading this was a declarative Ron Burgundy, “I don’t believe you.” BLACK WIDOW is still over four months out from bowing and Disney gives away spoilers like a pre-Jacob Marley’s ghost Ebenezer Scrooge doles out donations to charity. If this is in fact Scarlett Johansson‘s last ride as Black Widow, it makes the most logical sense for Pugh to pick up the reigns. There’s precedent in the comics and I can just envision a BLACK WIDOW post credits scene where this change becomes self-evident.
Florence Pugh is certainly having a banner year. She killed it as real life WWE superstar Paige in the underrated FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, delivered a powerful and dynamic performance in Ari Aster‘s MIDSOMMAR, and is garnering a ton of Oscar buzz for her role as Amy March in the upcoming LITTLE WOMEN. She’s a talented young actress whose star is on the rise. It makes perfect sense that she’d hitch her wagon to the MCU and Pugh’s comments not withstanding, I don’t see a situation where she’s not the next Black Widow. Confirmation may come after the BLACK WIDOW film but to quote Thanos, I think it’s inevitable.