Black Widow fans immediately fell in love with Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova’s relationship in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film. And offscreen, Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh are just as close as their characters.
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh played sisters in ‘Black Widow’
Marvel Studios finally awarded Scarlett Johansson a solo film 11 years after making her MCU debut as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. The movie gave fans insight into the former Russian spy’s backstory, and it introduced Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova to the world.
Natasha and Yelena grew up as sisters, even though they weren’t biologically related. Along with their adopted parents, Alexei and Melina, they posed as a family in Ohio. They were in the United States to steal S.H.I.E.L.D. intel. And once their mission was accomplished, they returned to Russia. Unfortunately, General Dreykov split up Natasha and Yelena, and they didn’t reunite until many years later. However, they both went to the Red Room as children.
When Natasha was on the run from the U.S. government for disobeying the Sokovia Accords, she came face-to-face with her sister. Yelena had been under brain control due to being a Black Widow. However, she broke free and went to Natasha for help in dismantling the Black Widow program.
Together, Natasha and Yelena took down Dreykov and saved the Black Widows. Unfortunately, Natasha returned to the Avengers following Thanos’s invasion, and Yelena was one of the many Thanos erased with his snap. Natasha would later sacrifice her life to reverse Thanos’s snap, which meant her sister returned. And Yelena was devastated when she found out about Natasha’s death.
Scarlett Johansson praised her ‘Black Widow’ co-star
Elle UK published an article that highlighted Florence Pugh as a rising star. The piece featured interviews with Pugh and included quotes from her Black Widow co-star, Scarlett Johansson. The Marvel veteran praised Pugh and discussed their sisterly relationship.
“I don’t have a little sister,” Johansson shared. “But with Florence, it feels to me like there’s some elements of big sister little sister.”
The actor added, “I wish I was as confident as she is when I was her age. She’s body confident and has a lot of self-respect. She reminded me — just by listening to her talk about relationships with friends, family, or her partner — how important it is to have confidence in your beliefs and desires.”
However, the respect is mutual for Florence Pugh. She relayed her San Diego Comic-Con experience in 2019 when Marvel announced Black Widow.
Pugh said, “What was really lovely was that we said hello, then went to the front of the audience and watched a clip. All this time, Scarlett had marched out like she was their queen. She’s so amazing and effortless. Then we watched the clip, and I was scared because my Russian accent was going to be out there, and I didn’t know what it sounded like. I’m also playing a character who no one’s seen before, but they’ve read about her; I didn’t know whether people were going to hate me.”
“We both stood there, and I instantly had clammy, sweaty hands,” the actor concluded. “Scarlett gave me her hand, and we squeezed each other, and she also had clammy hands! And then I was like, ‘Oh, this never gets old. This is just as powerful [for you], and you’re their legend.’”
What’s next for the two actors?
Following Scarlett Johansson’s character’s death, many fans assume that Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova will become Black Widow in the MCU. And Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, while speaking with the D23 Inside Disney Podcast [via The Direct], said that “Florence will have future appearances in the MCU.”
Although we currently don’t know when or where Yelena will show up next, it’s safe to say that she will be sticking around for the foreseeable future.
As for Johansson, she likely will not reprise her role as Natasha, thanks to her demise in Avengers: Endgame. However, the actor will continue to work for Marvel. Feige announced during the American Cinematheque Award ceremony in 2021 that Marvel is “already working with Scarlett on another non-Black Widow related top-secret Marvel Studios project with her as a producer.”
Black Widow is available to stream on Disney+.