Florence Pugh reveals that she had to deal with many people being angry at her decision to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pugh’s MCU debut came in 2021’s Black Widow, with her playing Yelena Belova, who was revealed to be Natasha Romanoff’s sister. Since her debut, Pugh has appeared in Disney+’s Hawkeye series, continuing a plot point set up by Black Widow‘s post-credits scene. Pugh will next appear as Yelena Belova as part of the Thunderbolts movie’s cast, with the film arriving in theaters on July 26, 2024. While her MCU future looks bright, Pugh reveals that her decision to join Marvel ruffled some feathers.


Speaking with TIME magazine, Pugh revealed that many indie filmmakers were less than thrilled about her, one of the most talented rising stars of her generation, choosing to join the more commercial MCU movies. According to Pugh, “many people in the indie film world were really pissed off at” her, thinking that she would leave indie movies behind after making it big in the MCU. However, that could not be farther from the truth, with Pugh claiming she is “working as hard as [she] used to.” Check out the full quote below:

“So many people in the indie film world were really pissed off at me. They were like, ‘Great, now she’s gone forever.’ And I’m like, no, I’m working as hard as I used to work. I’ve always done back-to-back movies. It’s just people are watching them now. You just have to be a bit more organized with your schedule.”

Florence Pugh’s MCU Journey Is Just Starting

Poster of Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova in the middle of many broken shards of glass with scenes from the Black Widow movie.

Scarlett Johansson denied a Black Widow MCU return recently, with the actress bluntly stating that she was done playing the character and that her MCU “chapter is over.” Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff was one of the major deaths in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which makes her MCU exit a natural affair. However, the MCU is currently undergoing its Multiverse Saga, which allows dead characters to reappear. Based on Johansson’s latest statement, it is unlikely that she will come back even as a multiverse version of the hero.

With the Black Widow mantle having no character currently attached to it in the MCU, Natasha’s sister, Yelena, is the natural candidate to become the next Black Widow and join the Avengers. Marvel has been toying around with the legacy of the original six Avengers since Endgame ended that version of the team. Steve Rogers has Sam Wilson follow him as Captain America, Clint Barton trained Kate Bishop to become the new Hawkeye, Hulk did similarly with She-Hulk, Thor had a replacement in Jane Foster, Ironheart’s connection to Iron Man should be explored soon, and Yelena is the perfect choice for the next Black Widow.

Yelena and Natasha reconnected before Johansson’s character died, and through her desire to honor her sister, Yelena could choose to become the next Black Widow and maintain Nat’s legacy alive. Yelena’s path to becoming Black Widow will first go through her serving as a member of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine’s black ops team, the Thunderbolts. There, she will meet characters like Red Guardian and Taskmaster again, as well as interact with others like Bucky Barnes for the first time. Given Black Widow and the Winter Soldier’s long history in the comics, it appears that the MCU might play with that relationship in the future, switching Natasha for Yelena.

Source: TIME magazine

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