Scarlett Johansson will hand over Black Widow baton to Florence Pugh, says director Cate Shortland
With the new storyline Florence Pugh's character Yelena Belova will be ushered in as the new Black Widow in future Marvel films.
"[Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios] 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," the director told Empire magazine.
"Scarlett is so gracious, like, 'Oh, I'm handing her the baton.' So it's going to propel another female storyline," she added.
With the new storyline, Pugh's character Yelena Belova will be ushered in as a new superhero in future Marvel films. Screen Rant notes that in the comics, Yelena had a similar origin story as Natasha Romanoff, and was recruited to train as a spy and assassin in the Soviet-era agency Red Room. She strived to prove her superiority over Natasha, but eventually switched sides. After Natasha's death, she becomes the next Black Widow.
Shortland said the movie would be a fitting goodbye for Johansson's character, who was killed off in Endgame on planet Vormir, upsetting some fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
"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. 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," she said.
This will be Johansson's eighth MCU outing after her debut in 2010's Iron Man 2, led by Robert Downey Jr.
Black Widow, originally scheduled for an April release, has been pushed to 6 November because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The film also stars David Harbour and Rachel Weisz.
(With inputs from Press Trust of India)