‘Black Widow’ Director Says Scarlett Johansson Will Pass the Baton to Florence Pugh

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It appears that Florence Pugh, who you may know from Midsommar, Fighting with My Family and last year’s Little Women, could very well become a key figure in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel’s long-awaited Black Widow will be a post-Civil War/pre-Infinity War chapter in the MCU, taking Scarlett Johansson‘s Natasha Romanoff back to Russia where we’ll be introduced to characters from her past. Among them: Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), Alexei Shostakov aka Red Guardian (David Harbour), and Yelena Belova (Pugh). The film will depict the latter as a sister-figure to Romanoff, having also been trained in the Red Room when she was younger. And as has now been confirmed, Yelena will be set up to play a bigger part in the MCU.

“[Kevin Feige] realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Black Widow‘s director Cate Shortland (the Aussie helmer known for Somersault, Lore and Berlin Syndrome) has said in an interview with Empire. “And we didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn’t know how great. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So it’s going to propel another female storyline.”

Nevertheless, this is still a Black Widow movie, and those that felt the character’s demise was a little looked over in Endgame could have their proper goodbye here.

“In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral,” Shortland said. “She’s too private, and anyway, people don’t really know who she is. So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that’s a fitting ending for her.”

Black Widow is currently scheduled to hit U.S. cinemas on November 6.

Marvel Studios