The role of Natasha Romanoff’s sister ended up in the hands of Florence Pugh, who has become a fan favorite. However, this spy could have been very different from the one introduced in Phase 4 of the study.
There are characters who debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they only need one appearance to win the hearts of fans. One such recent example is Yelena, the sister of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). Florence Pugh was chosen to get into the skin of this character and her first time in the franchise was in black widow, the solo prequel to the Russian spy. Recently it has also reappeared in Disney + fiction Hawk Eye and, with only these two titles within the franchise, it has already become a new favorite.
However, Pugh was not the only actress who was part of the ‘casting’ process for the role of Yelena. Another candidate was Emma Watson, hermione granger in the Harry Potter saga and who shared a cast with Pugh in little women, the latest version of the classic Louisa MayAlcott Directed by Greta Gerwig.
Before the shooting of black widow started in early 2019, Watson’s name sounded like the favorite for the role. Both for director Cate Shortland and producers Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum. how to pick up ScreenRant, it seems that the original plans for this character were very different to the version that has finally ended up being canon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Pugh.
At that time, the character was described as a «female version of James Bond» and, due to Watson’s film career focusing on the dramatic genre, it seems that the actress was destined to play a much more serious Yelena. Moreover, initially the idea was that this character and Natasha Romanoff were enemies and that Yelena’s plans were to hunt down the Avenger.
Yelena Belova as an adversary and an existential story created by Scarlett Johansson. The two other versions of ‘Black Widow’
«Yelena and Natasha were adversaries and Yelena was trying to dethrone her […] I said, ‘I can’t go back to work for this’, Johansson told during the promotion of black widow. Maybe that story was meant for Watson, and once the role was changed and Yelena became an ally, Marvel Studios went with Pugh.
Shortland counted on THR that, when he met with Marvel producers, he mentioned that he was a fan of Lady Macbeth, film starring Pugh. They, for their part, affirmed that the interpretation that they had liked the most from the actress was that of fighting in family, a film in which he got into the skin of Saraya ‘Paige’ Knight, the famous WWE wrestler. This last role, in addition, gave clues to Pugh’s physical abilities, something to take into account when shooting a Marvel Studios movie. Pugh performed his action scenes in the film and in Hawk Eye whenever possible.
Watson was not the only actress who could take on the role of Yelena, other names that sounded for him were Saoirse Ronan, Alice Englert and Give Zuzovsky.