The snapshot, published to social media Friday by Marvel Studios, shows Endgame producer Trinh Tran and directors Anthony and Joe Russo posed alongside stars Danai Gurira, Elizabeth Olsen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brie Larson, Evangeline Lilly, Letitia Wright, Pom Klementieff, Zoe Saldana, and Karen Gillan.
Not present is founding Avenger and leading Marvel Cinematic Universe heroine Black Widow, who had perished on Vormir by the time the women assembled when defending Spider-Man (Tom Holland) as he cradled the Infinity Gauntlet crafted by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr).
But some fans have taken Johnasson’s absence as a slight, using the photo to argue Black Widow should have lived past Vormir to be included in the sequence.
The fan-favorite team-up, inspired in part by the all-female team of Avengers of the Marvel Comics known as A-Force, was crafted specifically with fans in mind.
“Marvel fans, increasingly, with every movie, [have] gotten these great female characters. Some people can call it pandering but it’s also like we have tons of shots of all men,” co-writer Christopher Markus told Variety. “Why not have a shot of all women and they’re so cool? It just seemed like ‘Let’s celebrate it!’”
Added co-writer Stephen McFeely, “I remember on the day we shot that, every woman on the crew and in the offices came down and were sort of milling about behind the cameras. That was, perhaps, the most moving part of it for me, how important it was for everybody to see it.”
Markus and McFeely earlier defended the decision to kill Black Widow, whose death cannot be reversed as it was part of an everlasting exchange to unlock the Soul Stone, one of the six stones needed to resurrect the trillions of lives erased from existence five years earlier by Thanos (Josh Brolin).
“I understand she was a beloved character and none of us want our heroes to die. But that is the natural end of her journey and it is the sort of apotheosis of who she is becoming,” Markus told the Los Angeles Times.
“She started out as a very dark character. Even before the movies begin, she’s a spy, she’s an assassin. She has red in her ledger and to take her all the way to that sacrifice point is where her character is headed. And to not let her do that seemed a disservice to her as a hero.”
McFeely added the screenwriting duo “couldn't be afraid to kill her simply because she was the most important and the first female character.”
NATASHA SHOULD’VE BEEN IN THIS SCENE. FIRST FEMALE AVENGER, SHE SHOULD’VE BEEN LEADING THEM.— dev (@devynnnnx3) May 17, 2019
No Black Widow, no Valkyrie. Well, just tryna be positive about Valkyrie; she is making sure her pegasus ride doesn't go anywhere.— 𝕵𝐞𝐧 (@zenirubyjane) May 18, 2019
A-Force, Assemble! https://t.co/XcnqRcg4qi