**Warning – Spoilers ahead**
Hawkeye has landed on Disney+ just in time for Christmas, which promises to be a spirited affair with plenty of action and classic Marvel cliffhangers. Now that the first two episodes have aired, Yelena Belova fans are keen to find out if and when the character will appear and how the series will develop Florence Pugh’s character.
The fifth Marvel production on the small screen will see Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton passing the Hawkeye mantle over to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop. Vera Farmiga, Alaqua Cox, and of course, Lucky the Pizza Dog, will also be on hand to channel the festive spirit.
Is Yelena Belova in Hawkeye?
Yes, Florence Pugh will be reprising her role as Yelena Belova in the Hawkeye series.
Despite official confirmation that Pugh will be appearing at some point, her role has been kept out of all promotion for the series, indicating that the character could be a lot different than the one we remember.
Even though Pugh was previously credited on IMDB to be in all six episodes, that number has now changed to four episodes, indicating that the character will not appear until episode 3.
Black Widow end credit scene
So, how will Yelena fit into the Hawkeye narrative? That all stems from the Black Widow end credit scene.
The end credit scene for Black Widow showed Yelena visiting Natasha Romanoff’s grave in mourning, only to be interrupted by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
The agent assigned Yelena her next target whilst showing her a photo of Clint Barton, explaining how Hawkeye was responsible for Natasha’s death.
This clearly set up what Yelena’s intention will be during the Hawkeye series: a revenge mission. This altercation promises an emotional standoff between Yelena and Clint, that could serve as the series finale.
Will Yelena take on a new mantle?
In Marvel comics, Yelena takes on the mantle of the White Widow, however, fans have also speculated that she could become Ronin too.
While it is more canon-accurate for Clint to become Ronin – we saw a taste of this in Avengers: Endgame – after Kate Bishop takes on the Hawkeye role, there is still room for interpretation.
A new costume for the Widow was also teased with some unconfirmed leaks, which showed Yelena wearing all black with goggles, revealing nothing of her identity.
However, fans will have to wait and see how the popular Phase 4 character makes her return.