Scarlett Johansson will hand the Black Widow franchise over to Florence Pugh in her upcoming standalone movie.
Director Cate Shortland has revealed that Johansson’s long overdue standalone film will serve as her final outing as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow as well as the beginning of a new storyline for Pugh’s Yelena Belova.
“(Marvel boss Kevin Feige) realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Shortland told Empire magazine. “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.”
Black Widow, which is set between the Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War films, will also give fans the opportunity to grieve for the character’s death in last year’s Avengers: Endgame.
“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,” explained Shortland. “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.”
In the Marvel comics, Yelena, who is introduced in the upcoming movie, starts as an enemy of Natasha before they later become allies, and she eventually takes up the Black Widow title.
The movie’s May release was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and is now scheduled to be released from October.
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