Let’s Talk About Yelena/Nat in ‘Black Widow’

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From the first trailer we got for Marvel’s Black Widow, I was obsessed with the relationship between Natasha Romanoff and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. We have seen Natasha in how she reacts to the men of the Avengers, we have seen her dedication to helping Wanda Maximoff when it seems as if Proxima Midnight wants to kill her, but we haven’t seen Nat with people she knew prior to joining S.H.I.E.L.D. (with the exception of Clint Barton). So, I have been very excited about the dynamic between these two and getting to see Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova.

During a Black Widow set visit that happened back in 2019, Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh dove into the relationship between their characters and the dynamic we’re going to see play out onscreen. But more importantly, Johansson confirmed that the outfit that Natasha is wearing in Avengers: Infinity War is, in fact, an ode to the outfit that Yelena is wearing in the footage we’ve seen from Black Widow:

“It actually is an important thing. It seems very superficial, but it actually is very unique, it’s a very meaningful thing.” She went on to say, “It’s an heirloom, it becomes an heirloom in this unexpected, funny way.”

Johansson went on to talk about the dynamic between the “sisters” and how she wasn’t really interested in two women trying to knock the other down a peg, saying, “The story of two women competing against one another and trying to take each other down and dethrone one another felt, like, not interesting.”

Pugh also talked about Yelena’s relationship with Natasha, saying that Yelena “pretty much takes the mickey out of everything Natasha does. But fundamentally they have a very unique and strong relationship that drives them through the film.” And while all of this is very much a “sisterly” bond sort of response, it excites me. We haven’t seen Natasha as anything other than the hardened assassin. The only time we really watched her break was during Avengers: Endgame when Rhodey updates her on Clint Barton.

Learning about Natasha through the eyes of her family and particularly in how Yelena sees her is fascinating, mainly because it’s a completely different dynamic for Natasha and us as the audience. Yelena Belova calls Natasha out in a scene from one of the trailers, telling her that she looked up to her and wanted to be like her when they were kids, all but guilting her for leaving and abandoning her, and that moment, while brief in trailers, is something I’m looking forward to because, as Pugh pointed out, their relationship drives them and we can see that in the moments we get in these trailers alone. So having the whole movie finally at our fingertips? I can’t wait to see what it holds for Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova.

(via ScreenRant, image: Marvel Entertainment)

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