Warning: this story contains spoilers for Marvel's Hawkeye Episode 4. Black Widow's Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) is on a top-secret mission — so secret that the Hawkeye writers' room didn't know about it. After Yelena reunites with sister-figure Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in-between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, a post-credits scene ending Black Widow jumps to just after Natasha's sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. The shadowy Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) reveals the man responsible for Natasha's death, giving Yelena her target: Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner).
The coda connects to Hawkeye Episode 4, where the vengeful Yelena strikes just as Clint and protege Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) unravel the criminal conspiracy centered around Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox). After Hawkeye head writer Jonathan Igla pushed for Yelena's return in the Disney+ series, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige let him in on a secret: Black Widow's stinger would lead directly into the events of Hawkeye.
"There was a length of time where I wasn't supposed to share it with the rest of the writing staff. There were a handful of things like that, which was challenging," Igla told The Hollywood Reporter. "I did my best. I like to think that I'm an honest broker and if somebody tells me not to share something, even if I think, 'Well, the writing staff really needs to know this,' then I'm just going to trust their process …. I kept it under my hat for a while."
Similarly, Marvel didn't tell Black Widow screenwriter Eric Pearson what he was setting up when writing the post-credits tag between Yelena and Val at Natasha's grave.
"I had made the case to Kevin and Lou [D'Esposito] and Victoria [Alonso] that Yelena had a place in our story and this was the right place for her next chapter. So I think the scene was created to support that," Igla explained. "Obviously, the rest of the writing staff knew we were building pitches around her as soon as I got the thumbs up."
For his part, Pearson only knew he was siccing Yelena on a retired Clint Barton, the former Ronin, in the aftermath of Endgame. Val also appears briefly in Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, recruiting the disgraced US Agent (Wyatt Russell) for purposes that are yet to be revealed.
"They told me, 'and then at the end, this is the target.' And I was like, 'What does that mean?' They were like, 'Don't worry about it. You don't have to know that,'" Pearson previously told THR. "I was like, 'Who am I screwing over? Something is going on! I don't have an answer for this.' They were like, 'You don't need to. We are going to figure that out.'"
Pearson added at the time: "I remember writing it and feeling super guilty. 'I hope whatever writer is working on this next chapter is going to be OK with what I've done to them.'"1comments
New episodes of Marvel's Hawkeye premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.
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