Kevin Feige has revealed his thoughts on how Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova will handle Natasha Romanoff's legacy.
In a Black Widow watch party event on Twitter, the Marvel boss answered fan questions on the film. When asked if he thinks Yelena will continue Natasha's legacy or create her own, Feige answered: "I think that Yelena like all of us will carry the memory of Natasha throughout our lives, but she'll be doing it in her own way as her own character."
Considering Natasha's death in Avengers: Endgame, Yelena has been theorized to be the best candidate in the MCU to take over the Black Widow mantle moving forward. Scarlett Johansson even indicated something along those lines in conversation with our sister publication Total Film.
When asked about passing the mantle on to Pugh, Johansson replied: "I definitely felt that way from the very beginning." The actor also shared Feige's sentiment, adding: "She stands completely on her own. She's strong and different. She's so different to Natasha."
Next for Yelena in the MCU is an appearance in the upcoming Disney Plus show Hawkeye, which has been confirmed to release in 2021. The Black Widow post-credits scene sets up her role in the show, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine sending Yelena after the archer Avenger, and telling the former Widow Hawkeye is responsible for Natasha's death. It seems Yelena's next appearance will be an explosive one, then.
After that, Yelena's future is up in the air – though it seems a sure bet that we'll be seeing her again, especially as Black Widow ended with the Widows and the newly freed Taskmaster heading off to rescue the other women still under the Red Room's control around the globe. While it's unclear yet if we'll see that storyline play out onscreen in a potential Black Widow 2, if we did, Yelena would most likely be leading the charge.
What's clear, though, is that Natasha's legacy won’t be overshadowing Yelena, who is already becoming a fan favorite character in her own right.
Hawkeye doesn't yet have a release date, but next up on the MCU release slate is What If…?, which lands on Disney Plus this August 11. Until then, check out our guide to Marvel Phase 4 to see what's coming soon.