Black Widow Will ‘Hand The Baton’ To Florence Pugh, Director Cate Shortland Reveals

by : Lucy Connolly on : 06 Jul 2020 15:57
Black Widow Will 'Hand The Baton' To Florence Pugh, Director Cate Shortland RevealsMarvel Studios

Black Widow might have been delayed as a result of the ongoing health crisis, but it doesn’t mean our excitement for the upcoming film has dampened.

If anything, I’d say it’s grown, which makes director Cate Shortland’s recent revelation about Florence Pugh’s character even more enthralling.


What’s that, you’re wondering? Well, she’s only gone and hinted that while Black Widow might be the end of Scarlett Johansson’s journey as the badass superhero, things are only just getting started for Yelena Belova.

Black WidowMarvel Studios

In case you need a bit of a refresh, Pugh’s Yelena was introduced to us in a recent trailer for the movie as a Russian long-lost ‘sister’ to Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow.

Although Natasha introduced Yelena to audiences with the affectionate nickname ‘Sis,’ the comic book characters aren’t actually biologically related and are not expected to be so in the film either.


However, the two do share a sisterly love-hate bond thanks to the years of training they did at a Russian training camp, albeit at different times. Basically, they have shared experiences and they’re both extremely badass.

Black WidowMarvel Studios

Now we’re all caught up, let’s get back to the matter at hand: Cate Shortland’s comments. Speaking to Empire in a recent interview, the director described the relationship between Johansson and Pugh while hinting at what we can expect in the upcoming film.

She explained:


[Kevin Feige] realised 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.

These comments appear to confirm widespread speculation that the Black Widow mantle will pass to Yelena, as happens in the comic books, although we won’t get confirmation on exactly how it will be done until the film’s release.

florence pugh black widowMarvel Studios

Shortland also suggested Black Widow could be a chance for the audience to fully process Natasha’s tragic sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame, stating: ‘In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral.’


She continued:

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.

black widow endgameMarvel Studios

How that ending will play out we don’t know, and we won’t until the film is released later this year.


Black Widow is currently due to arrive in cinemas on November 6.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Film and TV, Black Widow, Film, Marvel, Now, Scarlett Johansson


  1. Empire

    Black Widow Movie Will ‘Hand The Baton’ To Florence Pugh, Says Cate Shortland – Exclusive