Heading into Avengers: Endgame, fans had mentally and emotionally prepared themselves to say goodbye to any number of iconic characters, yet that didn't make their deaths any easier to witness. With Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark helping birth the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, it wasn't surprising to see him go, though not all fans expected to see Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) make a fatal sacrifice. What made these goodbyes all the more depressing is that, while Tony Stark got an impressive sendoff from the entire roster of MCU characters, Black Widow's death was barely touched upon. According to director Joe Russo, this was due to knowing that the character had a solo movie just over the horizon.
"Now people have asked why Natasha didn't get the same about of screen time post-death as Tony did," Russo shared on Avengers: Endgame's home video commentary. "Well, Tony does not have another movie."
He added, "Tony is done. And Natasha has another film. And Marvel Universe obviously does not have to move forward linearly anymore. But that character still has more screen time coming."
Endgame earned some backlash from the way these funerals played out, as Natasha debuted in Iron Man 2 and has been an integral component of the franchise for nearly as long as Tony. At the time that the film hit theaters, it wasn't confirmed that a Black Widow film was being made, though with that news now public, it's easier to see why the filmmakers made this choice.
While it might not have softened the blow of the character's death, Russo revealed earlier in the commentary that Black Widow's decision to sacrifice herself in order to obtain the Soul Stone was the most heroic thing ever depicted in the entire MCU.
"At the beginning of Endgame, she wants to bring it all back because she feels like it is the strongest emotional connection that she's ever had in her life," Russo revealed of the scene. "She's presented with a choice, which is to give her own life to bring everyone else back and she does it. Which [is] the single most heroic moment in the history of the Marvel Universe."
Other upcoming Marvel Studios projects include 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.