Avengers: Endgame still has some fans out there searching for answers. The choices that the writers, directors, and producers will ring out through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nothing sticks out as much as Iron Man’s sacrifice alongside Black Widow’s leap earlier in the film. The heroine went over the side of that cliff in Vormir and screenings of Endgame all over the world gasped at such a choice being made so swiftly. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discussed these choices and others in a big sit down with Vanity Fair. The pair give fans an in-roads to the inner-workings of the MCU. From making decisions based on trading cards to why Cap and Tony Stark’s arcs concluded in the way it did. But, everyone knew that Black Widow’s status after the movie is the giant elephant in the room. The pair do not regret the decision to make Natasha be the one to fall in order to help save the universe. But, there is one thing that they would like to do differently. It is clear from their comments that this choice was always going to produce to some headlines both positive and negative.
“Not without some controversy. We certainly thought long and hard about it,” McFeely began. “We knew we were killing the first female hero of the Marvel Universe. We stupidly came up with these rules in the first movie—someone’s going over that cliff. So we had to decide. By the way, you had to easily love the person next to you, so we couldn’t send Steve Rogers and Hulk. So it's a puzzle of our own making, but it felt like it was the resolution of her arc, that if she could sacrifice herself for her new family and for half the universe, that was worth it to her.”
Some fans may not know that there was an alternate sequence where Hawkeye goes over the ledge instead. But, the creators of the film stuck to their guns after some surprising feedback. The writer added, “A number of women on the crew, when we said, “Hey, we’re thinking maybe Hawkeye goes over,” said, “Don’t you do that! Don’t rob her of this!” And then it choked me up because I think we would have a much different conversation if Hawkeye had pushed her aside.”
In some ways, this sacrifice gave her a chance to have her giant heroic moment when her friends needed it most. It is also the source of their greatest regret with the decision. McFeely clarified, “She jumps on the grenade. I’m really proud of that moment. I don’t have any regrets. The only regret is that it comes at the end of Act Two. So you can’t really roll around in the grief because we’ve got another hour of movie and we haven’t solved the A-plot problem. So that’s the downside.”
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