'Black Widow' Will "Hand The Baton" To Florence Pugh

If things had gone according to plan, Black Widow would've hit theaters by now. But of course, 2020 is not a normal year, and the long-awaited solo film devoted to Scarlett Johansson's spy-turned-superhero was pushed back to November. But we don't have to wait that long to learn what sounds like an important plot detail: the passing of the baton from Johansson's Natasha Romanoff to Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova.

Even before the first Black Widow trailer arrived, there were theories that the film would involve Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff handing over the Black Widow name to Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova. For one thing, Yelena Belova adopted the Black Widow moniker in the comics. For another, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natasha is already dead, having sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame. The Black Widow movie is a prequel, and if Marvel wants to keep the Black Widow brand going following the film, they either need to resurrect Natasha, or have a new character/actress take over the role.

Speaking with EmpireBlack Widow director Cate Shortland appears to have let the cat out of the bag early, and confirmed that Pugh will indeed be taking over:

"[Kevin Feige] realized that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,. 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."

Sure, Shortland doesn't flat-out say "Florence Pugh is the new Black Widow!" there, but...you can read between the lines, people. The director also reveals that the movie will address Natasha's death:

"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. 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."

I've found the trailers for Black Widow to be rather disappointing so far, but I certainly won't complain about the prospect of more Florence Pugh. Pugh has proven herself to be a phenomenal performer, and while I've enjoyed Johansson's take on Black Widow, I'm very interested to see what Pugh does with the part going forward.

Black Widow is set to open November 6.