"I cried like a baby. I was very moved by it," Schaeffer told Inverse.
"It was a strange feeling. I have some proprietary feelings because if you are a writer who gets very emotionally invested in your work — which I think is most writers — the characters feel very real to you. So seeing her death in a movie that I didn't have anything to do with — it was a little bit similar to seeing an ex-boyfriend with another partner. There's a weird sort of removal that feels wrong and right at the same time. But her arc in the movie is wonderful."
Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely said they "couldn't be afraid to kill" Natasha despite her status as a founding member of Earth's mightiest heroes and her prominence as a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"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."
Added McFeely, "Right. We couldn't be afraid to kill her simply because she was the most important and the first female character."
The writers considering giving the self sacrifice to Natasha's closest friend, family man Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), but were ultimately convinced an outcome that didn't see the Barton clan reunited would have been "melodramatic."
"Jen Underdahl, our visual effects producer, read an outline or draft where Hawkeye goes over. And she goes, 'Don't you take this away from her,'" McFeely told the New York Times. "I actually get emotional thinking about it."
Schaeffer's script explores the S.H.I.E.L.D. spy-turned-Avenger some time after the events of Captain America: Civil War, which ended with Natasha under scrutiny from the government over her decision to allow and assist then-fugitive Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) to escape when pursued by Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
The Cate Shortland-directed Black Widow opens May 1, 2020.
Buy or Pre-order Avengers: Endgame:
- Buy it digitally on Amazon, Fandango Now, and Vudu (7/30)
- Pre-order on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray at Walmart (8/13)
- Pre-order the Steelbook version at Best Buy (8/13)