Florence Pugh’s Black Widow Reportedly To Lead Marvel’s ‘Thunderbolts’

Florence Pugh’s character Yelena Belova, who will be the next Black Widow, is reportedly the leader of Marvel’s upcoming movie Thunderbolts

Her character made introductions in Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow movie, released in 2021, as her sister and known successor of the Black Widow superhero title. 

Even though the film got quite mixed reviews from the audience and critics, Yelena’s character stood out. 

Then, she returned to the Disney+ show Hawkeye, which was released almost five months after the release of Black Widow, apparently to take revenge against Hawkeye for being responsible for her sister Natasha’s death. 

Last month, we learned about the future of MCU and all the released timeline of movies and TV series to come in phases five and six. 

Marvel President Kevin Feige announced that the two-part Avengers movie will be hitting the theatres not before 2025, along with confirmation of projects like Fantastic Four, Daredevil series, and more. 

And he announced these details at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, with the announcement of Thunderbolts as an MCU movie set to release on July 26, 2024, wrapping the phase V of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

One project that is still less talked about appears to be released at the end of phase V is Thunderbolts. Finally, we came to know that Yelena’s character will lead this morally-ambiguous superhero team. 

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If you remember, in the post-credit scene, Yelena was seen to come in contact with Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, played by Julia Louis Dreyfus; as this mysterious character joins a team of superheroes, something remembers you of Nick Fury doing the same in MCU earlier phases. 

This mysterious character made her first appearance in Disney+ show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to get John Walker, the infamous ex-Captain America, apparently to change him into US Agent. 

It seems like Valentina is building a dark Avengers, a mirror of the Avengers team but with a bunch of morally-ambitious or ex-con superheroes. 

The film’s plot is under wraps, but to some extent, you can get the idea that it will be a superhero team of morally ambiguous heroes with Yelena (Black Widow) leading the team. 

Deadline writer Justin Kroll was recently on The Town Podcast, revealing that Yelena would be the leader of this Thunderbolts team. 

He describes this team as a group of anti-heroes who are neither good nor bad, so they are not heroes like Avengers nor villains like Thanos or any other typical villains in MCU. 

Here’s what he said: 

“[Florence Pugh] has got the Marvel superhero that’s already got a spin-off. Upcoming for her, actually, on that character is this Thunderbolts film, which is basically Marvel’s Suicide Squad. Hopefully, it has better results. But the concept is it’d be her leading the team of like Wyatt Russell’s [John Walker], Daniel Bruhl’s [Zemo], those anti-heroes that aren’t exactly good but aren’t exactly bad. So there’s that. And people seem to like the Yelena character.”

If you analyze, it makes a lot of sense to put Florence Pugh’s Yelena, aka Black Widow, as Thunderbolts’s leader because she is the closest to a moral or traditional superhero that this team can get. 

So, Yelena will be perfect to lead these anti-heroes and keep them in check without antagonizing them, which might happen if you put a traditional superhero ( anyone from avengers) into this mix. 

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Not to mention, Florence Pugh is quite a popular star with a huge number of fans, also high credibility due to her critically-acclaimed performances. 

So Marvel has another reason to capitalize on the stardom of this actor and put her in charge of this film to make more buzz. 

Florence Pugh has received an Academy Award Nomination for her role in Little Women. She will be featured in highly anticipated movies, such as Puss in boots: The Last Wish, Don’t Worry Darling, Dune: Part II, and Oppenheimer

As Justin Kroll mentioned, Thunderbolts can be, in fact, considered as a spin-off of the Black Widow film where the chances are a lot of plotlines we saw in the movie with characters like Taskmaster, Red Guardian, and Melina Vostokova will continue in Thunderbolts.

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And if you ask which other characters are most likely to show in 2024 Thunderbolts, it has to be Zemo and US Agent for sure. Also, they are in the team in comics, and both worked as heroes and villains. 

Other characters who can be part of Thunderbolt’s team are villains on their redemption arc or ex-villains. 

One could be Abomination, who recently appeared in the Disney+ show She-Hulk, got out of prison on good behavior, and changed heart. 

Ghost, who we have seen in Ant-man and the Wasp, can also be recruited to be part of the Thunderbolts team as she has already been working for SHIELD on covert missions.

Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross ( William Hunt) also might become Red Hulk, as he is known to be the founder of a version of Thunderbolts where he gets Deadpool, Agent Venom, Punisher, and others on the team as well. 

So, it is not wrong to expect that Thunderbolt might also include Deadpool and Red Hulk, as there is a lot of time in-between to establish them in MCU. 

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