Avengers: Endgame Director Clarifies What Red Skull Said About Soul Stone Sacrifice

Avengers: Endgame might be an overwhelmingly satisfying conclusion to Marvel Studios' Infinity Saga, but that doesn't mean it didn't leave some major plot threads dangling. One of the biggest is no doubt the power of the Soul Infinity Stone, and the finer points of obtaining it.

The biggest question a lot of Marvel fans were left with after Endgame was why Black Widow's sacrifice on Vormir couldn't be undone. Well, during the commentary track for Avengers: Endgame's digital release, director Joe Russo made sure to clarify what the rules of the Soul Stone are, and why those rules prevent Black Widow's death from being undone:

"Red Skull very clearly says, 'It is an everlasting exchange,'" Joe Russo explains. "And 'Everlasting' would imply that it can't be undone."

So there you have it: no matter how you play with the timeline later, the sacrifice made for the Soul Stone cannot be undone. Once a soul is claimed by the stone, it stays claimed.

To be fair, The Red Skull (aka "The Stonekeeper") has a lot of grandiose exposition during his scene in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, so it's easy to overlook the deeper importance of what he said. That's especially true when you don't initially know how The Stonekeeper's speech is foreshadowing events of such immense importance, like Black Widow and Gamora's respective deaths.

It's also equally true that, no matter what kind of explanations the filmmakers try to give after the fact, the Soul Stone remains one of the weakest parts of the entire Infinity Saga. The Soul Stone was kept on the sidelines for pretty much all of Phases 1, 2, and 3, and when we finally did get it, it was only as a MacGuffin object that had little to no substance. In fact, as far as we really know there's only one time the power of the Soul Stone is depicted in the MCU: during Doctor Strange's battle with Thanos on Titan, where the villain uses the Soul Stone to find the "real" Strange in the swarm of clones the sorcerer creates to confuse Thanos.

After that, any explanation of the stone's power or that weird Soul World at the end of Infinity War were totally avoided - and even the logistics of the how the Soul stone process works in the story don't quite fit right. Fans are still passionately debating other points of the Soul Stone - like if Nebula knew Hawkeye or Widow would die on Vorimir when planning the Time Heist, or what happened when Captain America faced Red Skull while safely returning the Soul Stone to its timeline. Wonder when *that* story is getting told?

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Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.

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