Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely reveal they considered killing Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) instead of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who ultimately perished on Vormir when sacrificing herself to obtain the Soul Stone needed to revive the victims killed by Thanos' (Josh Brolin) snap.
"There was, for sure," McFeely told the New York Times when asked if Clint Barton's sacrifice was a possible outcome. "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.' I actually get emotional thinking about it."
"And it was true, it was him taking the hit for her," Markus added. "It was melodramatic to have him die and not get his family back. And it is only right and proper that she's done."
Hawkeye and Black Widow grappled to win the right to leap off a stories-high cliff on the remote planet of Vormir, a one upmanship that ended with Widow permanently dead. Her death gave the surviving Avengers the Soul Stone, later used by Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to resurrect the Vanished and again when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) used the six Infinity Stones to kill Thanos and his forces.
"Her journey, in our minds, had come to an end if she could get the Avengers back," McFeely explained.
"She comes from such an abusive, terrible, mind-control background, so when she gets to Vormir and she has a chance to get the family back, that's a thing she would trade for." Her death could not be reversed because it was part of the "everlasting exchange" for the Soul Stone, McFeely added.
Anthony Russo, who directs with brother Joe, previously told ComicBook.com any and all choices — including character deaths — "are based on story."
"It's based upon the road that these characters have traveled, in not only this movie, but throughout the entire MCU up to this point because, again, these movies are the culmination. So all we can say is that they are very focused story choices. That's our motivation for everything," Russo said.
"And, again, that's why we love Marvel so much is they never let the tail wag the dog. The creative choices always lead the process and then they figure out how to pull off the miracle of making it work on a business level."
Johansson next returns as Natasha Romanoff in the solo Black Widow movie now confirmed to be a prequel.
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