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Yelena Belova Is the Perfect Successor for Black Widow

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Black Widow

Florence Pugh made her debut as Yelena Belova in Marvel’s Black Widow movie and proved exactly why she is the perfect successor to Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff. So, let’s get into her character and why she works now that Nat is gone.

**Spoilers for Black Widow lie within**

Yelena Belova is a character I was overly excited to meet in Black Widow. Sure, part of me worried that I wouldn’t love her as much as I thought going in, but I’m happy to report that Yelena Belova steals the show and is an incredible new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! But more than that, she really is the perfect successor to Natasha Romanoff.

The last we saw of Black Widow, she fell to her death in order to retrieve the Soul Stone for the Avengers on Vormir—something that many fans are still mad about, as it was between her and Clint Barton. But what her death did was leave a spot in the Marvel world for a new Widow, and it seems as if Yelena Belova is going to be taking that spot.

Natasha’s sister and a character who often uses humor to hide the horrors that the Red Room inflicted upon her, Yelena is easily a character I would die for. I wouldn’t have to—she could hold her own with no help from me—but I would do so just to try to protect her. When we first meet her in Ohio in the ’90s, she’s just a little kid who doesn’t understand what’s going on—that her adoptive parents are Russian spies, and she’s part of their cover. For her, Nat is her sister, and her parents are Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz). She says multiple times throughout the movie that to her, that life in Ohio was real.

When Natasha says they’re not really sisters or makes similar comments about their past, Yelena has that little sibling reaction where she cries and wants everyone to stop fighting. (I know. I am the younger sibling and also use this tactic.) But what makes Yelena Belova the perfect successor to Nat isn’t their shared history, but instead, the shared views they took away from it.

The two were dedicated to freeing themselves from the hold of the Red Room, and then saving others. They both put their lives on the line to make sure Dreykov and his new Red Room were gone for good. They looked out for others in a way that no one looked out for them, and that’s what makes Yelena an exciting new Black Widow for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I cried throughout this movie more than I thought I would, and did so mainly because of Yelena Belova—a character who just wanted to cling to her happiness, she clearly knows that she has to do the right thing by not only her sister, but the other Widows who were trapped by Dreykov and his controlling ways.

So, getting to see Yelena Belova in the upcoming Hawkeye TV show and the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? It will be absolutely DELIGHTFUL.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.