It has taken far, far, far too long, but Marvel’s solo Black Widow movie with Scarlett Johansson is finally coming together. The studio hired Lore director Cate Shortland last summer, after reportedly telling other female directors that they could bring in someone else to do the action stuff if they couldn’t handle it, and since then Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has come out and explained that Black Widow would not be R-rated (because apparently some people thought it might?). Now, we might even know which unlucky soul will be getting roughed up by Natasha Romanoff’s mighty kicks and electro-sticks in the movie, with The Hollywood Reporter saying that Florence Pugh is “in talks” to join Johansson in the movie.
THR says specific plot details “are being kept behind the Iron Curtain” (get it?), but we do know it’ll be an international espionage adventure and that Pugh’s character will be “a spy on the same level as Romanoff, likely her moral opposite.” In other words, it sounds like it’ll be Good Black Widow versus Evil Black Widow, which is a thing that has actually happened pretty often in the character’s long comic book history. The movies have only briefly teased our buddy Nat’s history with the Red Room, the mysterious KGB training facility that turned her into a weapon (before she took off to join S.H.I.E.L.D.), but there have been other characters who used the Black Widow name and wore the Black Widow jumpsuit in the comics.
If we had to guess, we’d say Pugh would most likely be playing a version of Yelena Belova, a different Black Widow who is pretty much exactly what the THR character bio described. In the comics, she was a more evil version of Romanoff who also joined S.H.I.E.L.D., but she stayed evil and later joined up with Hydra before flipping back and forth between good guy teams and bad guy teams. Given the fact that Pugh is only 23, introducing a character like this could give the MCU a different Black Widow to do the mighty kicks and electro-sticks in future movies once Johansson hangs up her red wig.