Black Widow: Cate Shortland Confirms Prequel Will ‘Hand the Baton’ to Florence Pugh

Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW..L to R: Yelena (Florence Pugh) and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2020

Black Widow: Cate Shortland confirms prequel will ‘Hand the Baton’ to Florence Pugh

Since it was announced in 2018 that Marvel Studios has indeed finally ordered a solo Black Widow movie after so many years of development and fan interest, Marvel fans have been wondering the nature of Scarlett Johansson’s first solo MCU film, especially given her character’s fate in Avengers: Endgame. Their speculations continued to grow when Florence Pugh was cast as Yelena Belova, who is also known in the comics as Black Widow. Because of this, fans have been theorizing that the upcoming film might also be Marvel Studios’ way of introducing a new character that would take on the legacy of the titular Avenger throughout future MCU films.

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In a recent interview with Empire, director Cate Shortland has seemingly confirmed this theory by revealing that some new details about Black Widow and Yelena Belova’s future ahead of its November 2020 release.

“[Kevin Feige] realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Shortland said. “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.”

She also further revealed that the upcoming film will definitely be able to give Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff the proper farewell that she didn’t get in the last Avengers film. “In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral,” Shortland explained. “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.”

Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, a spy and assassin who grew up being trained by the KGB before breaking from their grasp and becoming an agent of SHIELD and an Avenger. The film is expected to be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but before Avengers: Infinity War.

Black Widow will also feature a star-studded cast including Golden Globe nominee David Harbour (Stranger ThingsHellboy) as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family) as Yelena Belova, Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) as Melina and O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Mason.

RELATED: Scarlett Johansson Didn’t Want Black Widow to be an Origin Tale

The movie was directed by Cate Shortland (Lore) from a script written by Jac Schaeffer (The Hustle). Black Widow is set to release on November 6, 2020.