Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Black Widow

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We’ve been waiting a long time for Black Widow’s release, and that day is nearly upon us. Not only is Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally leading her own cinematic adventure, but she won’t be the only character carrying the Black Widow mantle in the story. Rachel Weisz’s Melina Vostokoff and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova also earned that moniker, though the latter has the bonus having gone by Black Widow in the comics too. The character has also previously been voiced by Julie Nathanson in the animated series Avengers Assemble.

I recently spoke with Julie Nathanson about her role as Gilda Dent in the animated direct-to-video film Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, but I couldn’t resist also getting her thoughts about Yelena Belova making her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Black Widow. Here’s what Nathanson had to say:

I am so excited and I’ve been asked what I think is going to happen, and I have no idea. I just know that I really loved playing Yelena Belova, and there’s a duality there too, right? So where I was playing Yelena Belova who becomes Crimson Widow for Avengers Assemble, Laura Bailey was playing Black Widow, and there were some episodes where we had to be on screen together, sometimes fighting against each other and sometimes maybe being on the same side of things. And that, I think, was really fun for me, so knowing that we’re moving to this movie to really see these iterations of Black Widow together, I’m excited as a fan and also someone who’s been able to inhabit the character. It’s a treat. I can’t wait.

To be sure, the respective journeys Florence Pugh and Julie Nathanson’s versions of Yelena Belova will be quite different. As Nathanson pointed out, not only did her Yelena eventually go by Crimson Widow, more often that not she was an opponent of Natasha and the other Avengers rather than an ally. With Pugh’s Yelena, it looks like she’ll chiefly be helping out Natasha during her solo movie, although that’s not to say the two won’t have their conflicts or disagreements. After all, we’ve already seen in the Black Widow trailers that they get into a brief skirmish after seeing each other for the first time in years.

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In any case, having voiced Yelena Belova for five episodes of Avengers Assemble, Julie Nathanson is now eager to see a different take on the character in the MCU. That hasn’t been Nathanson’s only foray into the Marvel realm either, as she also voiced Sally Johnson in three episodes of Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, and more recently provided additional voices for the Spider-Man video game from Insomniac Games. The actress’ other comic book media credits include The Zeta Project, Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay and Lego DC Super-Villains.

We’ll have to wait until Black Widow’s July 9 release in both theaters and on Disney+’s Premier to learn what’s in store for Yelena Belova, but Florence Pugh is confirmed to be reprising the role for the Hawkeye series. As always, CinemaBlend will keep you updated on more news concerning upcoming Marvel movies. You can also hear Julie Nathanson voicing Gilda Dent when Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One comes out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on June 22.

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