During her fight with Oksana (a "rogue former Black Widow") Yelena comes into contact with the gas that reverses the Red Room's mind-control, but how did this black widow become a rogue agent in the first place?


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The character's backstory isn't described in the film or any of the supporting materials. The actor made up her own story to describe how she'd gotten to this point (and her relationship with Yelena) and was told by the film's makers that she wasn't far off what they had in mind.

"I feel like as an actor that’s the fun part; you just create this whole backstory [and] you’re like “I don’t even know if this is right, but this is what - in my head - I’m gonna do.” And as long as it doesn’t clash too much with the words that are on the page, or, like, me pretending I’m the star of the show when I’m not, as long as that doesn’t happen I feel like there can be a lot of backstory that you make up in your head that either is right or wrong, but whatever it is, it brings more life to the character, and that’s what you see onscreen. And I did bring some backstory [to Oksana]; I worked with someone on creating where she came from and who she is, and who she is in relation to [Yelena], and it turns out it was kind of right!"

"During the fight, [in my head] I was kind of like 'okay, why are we fighting? She’s trying to get this, I’m trying to run away with it.' And at the end when I release it, I kind of thought, 'what is the most interesting choice here? [...] Maybe we have a backstory and she came from this place where she’s now been, you know, taken over, but I came from a place where I knew her, and maybe I was of her mother’s generation of Black Widows. And me, I’m free, and I’m trying to free the rest of the girls, and now I look at her and she’s not the same little girl that I once knew.' You know what I mean? I came up with this whole thing where I once knew her as a little girl, and I was in the generation of the older Black Widows that were trained, [and] I now want to set her free. And so when she kills me, to me it was very ironic because it’s like 'nooo baby, but I took care of you, but it’s okay, I forgive you.' It was all there [in my performance] but it wasn’t said."

Black Widow: Michelle Lee on Her Character's Secret Backstory & Why She Loves Florence Pugh

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