Florence Pugh’s ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Hawkeye’ Character Arcs Were So Secretive Neither Writers Room Knew About the Other

The crossover embodied the stealth of Yelena Belova herself!

Jeremy Renner (left) and Florence Pugh (right) whose Marvel Cinematic Universe characters crossover in "Hawkeye" series. (Getty Images)

Warning: This post contains mild spoilers for both “Black Widow” and the “Hawkeye” series

Great minds thought alike it seems, at least when it came to Florence Pugh’s continued role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Yelena Belova. 

Yelena’s character arc was under such tight wraps that writers of the two comic-to-screen adaptations she bridges — “Black Widow” and “Hawkeye” — didn’t even know they were working on it from opposite ends. “Hawkeye’s” writers wanted to put Yelena (Florence Pugh) in their show without knowing about “Black Widow’s” mid-credit scene that connects the character to Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). 

In the mid-credits scene of “Black Widow,” Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) puts Yelena, Natasha Romanoff’s sister of sorts, on Clint’s trail for reasons that will remain unspoiled here. Yelena’s newly established hunt for “Hawkeye” set up her appearance in Renner’s Disney+ show, which began with the fourth episode that dropped this week.

Marvel movie fans will know why these two characters are fated to meet, but those who are new to the MCU can catch up quickly by watching “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) and “Black Widow” (2021) before streaming “Hawkeye.”

One great mind that was kept in the dark was that of “Black Widow” screenwriter Eric Pearson. In July, he told Collider that the “Black Widow” credits scene was written before Louis-Dreyfus appeared in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” series. Pearson’s first version of that scene was five pages long.

Pearson was told to write a post-credit scene in which Louis-Dreyfus’ character puts Yelena on Hawkeye’s tail — but he wasn’t told why exactly he was writing it, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

When Marvel added the “Black Widow” mid-credit scene, the “Hawkeye” team was already writing Yelena into their show. Head writer Jonathan Igla lobbied to include her in the series. When Igla got word one day from Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige that one of the post-credit scenes in “Black Widow” would include a plot point that connected to “Hawkeye,” he had to keep the information secret from his team. 

Igla and Pearson were both kept in the dark from each other about their common character arc as well, but their respective swearings to secrecy paid off.

The fourth and most recent episode of “Hawkeye” as well as “Black Widow” are available to stream on Disney+.