Yelena Belova is a Marvel character with a pretty different history in the comics and the MCU. In the MCU, Yelena is the adopted sister of Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. On the other hand, she’s a Red Room trainee just like Natasha, chosen to take on the Black Widow identity after Natasha. With all the conflicting storylines, many fans wonder, how old is Yelena Belova?
Yelena Belova was born in late 1988 or early 1989 in the MCU, which would make her about 27 years old in the Black Widow movie and 35-36 in the Hawkeye TV mini-series. We don’t have such a definitive answer in the comics, apart from her starting training at age 15.
We can take some plot points to get close to Yelena’s real age, but like Natasha, Yelena’s age in the comics will remain a mystery. Let’s break down Yelena Belova’s character to determine how old she is in the comics, the Black Widow Movie, and the Hawkeye TV show.
How Old Is Yelena Belova In The Black Widow Movie?
Black Widow (2021) was a prequel film about the character Natasha Romanoff, portrayed by the incredibly talented Scarlett Johansson. In the film, we meet Yelena Belova, Natasha’s adopted sister, who was also subjected to the Black Widow program and training in the Red Room under Dreykov.
The movie takes place right after Captain America: Civil War events, where Natasha helped Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes escape. Also, we’ve seen Romanoff wear a vest in Avengers: Infinity War that we learn was Yelena’s in Black Widow, meaning the movie is situated around 2016 – which was later confirmed.
Several pointers help us determine Natasha’s and Yelena’s age in the film. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha’s birthday was established to be in 1984. Another confirmation cam in Black Widow’s prologue, where we met Natasha and Yelena in 1995.
Nat is said to be 11 years old at the moment, while Yelena is five years younger, making her six years old. That means Yelena Belova was born in 1989 or late 1988. Therefore, if the movie Black Widow took place in 2016, that would make Yelena around 27-28 years old at the moment.
On the other hand, Natasha Romanoff is five years older, meaning she’s 32-33 years old in the movie. The age difference between Natasha and Yelena is much larger in the comics, but we’ll get to that later.
How Old Is Yelena Belova In Hawkeye TV Show?
Now that we established when Yelena Belova was born and her age in the Black Widow movie, we need to determine when the events of the Hawkeye TV show took place to easily determine how old she was.
There was a lot of confusion created by the show’s co-director, Rhys Thomas, about the exact time Hawkeye was taking place. We knew it was after the events of Avengers: Endgame and that it takes place around Christmas time, but it was unclear if it was the next year or two years after Endgame.
Seeing that Endgame took place in 2023, five years after the 2018 events in Avengers: Infinity War, Hawkeye might be happening in 2024 or 2025.
Thomas later elaborated on Twitter that it was indeed 2024, stating that the idea of Hawkeye and Endgame being two years apart was floated around in early production, but they chose to go with 2024. It made more sense, as Barton’s family wanted to spend Christmas together after the nasty events in the finale of MCU’s Phase 3. Back to Yelena Belova now.
Belova was born in 1988-1989, being 27-28 years old in the Black Widow movie. If we know that Hawkeye takes place in 2024, that makes Yelena 35-36 years old in the series. However, one might argue that she doesn’t look that much older than she was in Black Widow, and there’s a reason why that’s the case.
In Episode 5 of Hawkeye, it’s revealed that Yelena was one of the people who “blipped,” disappearing for, as it appeared to them, just a moment, but actually vanishing for five whole years. That means Yelena would be closer to 30-31 physically, virtually – as she put it in the TV show – losing five years of her life.
While we have clear answers about her age in the MCU, things are different in the comics.
How Old Is Yelena Belova In The Comics?
Yelena Belova was the second Black Widow in the comics, taking the mantle after Natalia Romanova (Natasha Romanoff). Her exact age is unknown, but we can piece a timeline together to determine how old or young she is. Let’s start with Natasha.
Natasha’s age is unclear, with some versions of the story placing her date of birth in the late 1920s, while others are in the 1940s. However, it seems that the canonical version leans more to an even later date.
The Black Widow program within the Red Room had been developed during the Cold War, which started in 1947. Twentyeight orphan girls – including Natasha – were taken to the Red Room to be trained as lethal, brainwashed assassins.
It was never stated when the Black Widow program started, but it would seem that it was somewhere in the 50s or 60s, as Natasha already became the Black Widow while the Cold War still lasted.
Natasha was already grown up when she became the Black Widow and years older when she started to turn on the Soviets. That’s when a young, 15-year old Yelena Belova was chosen to train and replace Natasha as the Black Widow. Let’s process all that information for a minute.
Natasha was probably somewhere in her mid-to-late 20s when she started to rebel against the Soviet Union. That’s when Yelena started training to be the next Black Widow, and her training started when she was 15, meaning she’s somewhere between 10 to 15 years younger than Romanoff.
If Nat was born somewhere in the 1950s or 1960s, that puts Yelena Belova’s birth somewhere in the 1960s, 1970s, or even as late as the early 1980s, depending on when the initial Black Widow Program started. We know it started after to 1940s Winter soldier program, so our calculation of it beginning somewhere in the 1950s or 1960s seems right.
Natasha and Yelena aren’t sisters in the comics, and the age discrepancy is much larger than it is in the MCU, but they do end up working together in the comics.