Florence Pugh’s entry into the MCU in 2021’s Black Widow as Yelena Belova was met with positive praise. She followed it up with a two episode appearance in Hawkeye. Now, the actress will make her triumphant return in Thunderbolts.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pugh is set to make eight figures for her appearance in Thunderbolts and a mystery MCU project. As of now, there is no confirmation as to what the mystery project is, but it is very likely it could be Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and/or Avengers: Secret Wars, set for 2024 and 2025 releases respectively.
In Black Widow Pugh’s Yelena Belova is the adoptive sister of Natasha Romanoff and a Red Roomoperative who worked for General Dreykov. Following Romanoff’s defection from the Red Room, Belova and other Black Widows were put through the mind controlling programming and turned into Dreykov’s obedient subordinates. After being freed from the control, Belova joined forces with Romanoff, as well as their adoptive parents Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff, to bring down the Red Room once and for all. They eventually succeeded and liberated all Black Widows, with Belova directly killing Dreykov. After parting her ways with Romanoff, Belova spent two years freeing many of the remaining brainwashed Black Widows before she was killed by Thanos’ Snap in Avengers: Infinity War.
Upon her resurrection in the Blip in 2023, Belova attempted to seek out Romanoff, but was informed that she had died. While visiting Romanoff’s grave, Belova was given an assignment by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who claimed that Clint Barton was responsible for Romanoff’s death and that she was to eliminate him.
Belova returned in Hawkeye where she came into conflict with Barton and his protégé Kate Bishop. Belova held back against hurting Bishop, and though she came close to killing Barton, Barton managed to get through to Belova and explain that Romanoff’s death was of her own choice to save Belova and the world. Coming to terms with Barton and accepting Romanoff’s death, Belova abandoned her mission and departed for unknown parts.