Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have opened up about the permanent decision to kill Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), the Black Widow, who valiantly sacrificed herself on Vormir to unlock the Soul Stone and help return The Vanished to the living.
"Her journey, in our minds, had come to an end if she could get the Avengers back," McFeely told the New York Times.
"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. The toughest thing for us was we were always worried that people weren't going to have time to be sad enough. The stakes are still out there and they haven't solved the problem. But we lost a big character — a female character — how do we honor it? We have this male lens and it's a lot of guys being sad that a woman died."
Natasha was mourned by longterm closest friend Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and surrogate family the Avengers: Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and once lover Bruce Banner-slash-Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
That lake-set mourning scene was the closest Nat would get to a funeral before the plot moved on towards its finale, in which the Avengers assemble heroes from across the universe for one last stand against Thanos (Josh Brolin), who threatens to burn the Earth to cinders. Stark dies stopping him, and Endgame finishes with a funeral for the hero who launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Tony gets a funeral. Natasha doesn't," Markus said.
"That's partly because Tony's this massive public figure and she's been a cipher the whole time. It wasn't necessarily honest to the character to give her a funeral. The biggest question about it is what Thor raises there on the dock. 'We have the Infinity Stones. Why don't we just bring her back?'"
"But that's the everlasting exchange," added McFeely. "You bring her back, you lose the stone."
The six Infinity Stones were first used by Hulk to reverse Thanos' snap and then by Stark to destroy Thanos and his alien army.
Johansson next reprises the role in the first Black Widow solo movie, earlier reported to be a prequel set in 2006, a handful of years before Romanoff joins Earth's mightiest heroes. Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow is suspected to open sometime in 2020.
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