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Things We Saw Today: ‘Hawkeye’ Writers Didn’t Know About ‘Black Widow’ End Credits Scene

Plus Ryan Reynolds, Starfleet Academy, and more!

Yelena Belova in Black Widow

***SPOILER ALERT: This post discusses storylines from episode 4 of Hawkeye.***

Fans of the Marvel cinematic universe were excited to see a breakout character from Black Widow show up on Hawkeye. Yelena Belova’s (Florence Pugh) appearance was all but assured in the end credits scene of Black Widow, where Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) tells Yelena that her sister Natasha died at the hands of Clint Barton. But that scene, which sets up Yelena’s entry into the Disney+ series was kept under wraps from the writers on Hawkeye for some time.

Hawkeye head writer Jonathan Igla received word from Marvel head Kevin Feige that Yelena would join the series, but Igla had to keep it a secret from the rest of his staff. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Igla said, “There was a length of time where I wasn’t supposed to share it with the rest of the writing staff. There were a handful of things like that, which was challenging, … I did my best. I like to think that I’m an honest broker and if somebody tells me not to share something, even if I think, ‘Well the writing staff really needs to know this,’ then I’m just going to trust their process …. I kept it under my hat for awhile.”

Also in the dark was Black Widow screenwriter Eric Pearson, who was asked to write the Val/Yelena scene but wasn’t told why. Pearson said, “They told me, ‘and then at the end, this is the target.’ And I was like, ‘What does that mean?’ They were like, ‘Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to know that,’ … I was like, ‘Who am I screwing over? Something is going on! I don’t have an answer for this.’ They were like, ‘You don’t need to. We are going to figure that out.’”

Pearson added, “I remember writing it and feeling super guilty. ‘I hope whatever writer is working on this next chapter is going to be OK with what I’ve done to them.” But it all worked out for everyone involved, especially Igla, who had wanted to include Yelena in the series from the beginning. “I had made the case to Kevin and Lou [D’Esposito] and Victoria [Alonso] that Yelena had a place in our story and this was the right place for her next chapter. So I think the scene was created to support that,” he said. “Obviously, the rest of the writing staff knew we were building pitches around her as soon as I got the thumbs up.”

(via THR, image: Marvel Studios)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.