The two-part crossover event of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame served as the culmination of a storyline more than ten years in the making, bringing together almost every franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But in order to reach a satisfying conclusion and give the main members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes the focus they deserved, they had to eliminate a lot of the chaff from the final cuts — including the budding romance between the Bruce Banner / Hulk and Black Widow.
Writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus spoke on the Empire Podcast about the romance that heavily influenced Avengers: Age of Ultron, sparked by that film's director Joss Whedon. While Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame teased a sense of intimacy between the two characters, their relationship was never explicitly addressed.
"We certainly tried to," said McFeely. "In Infinity War we have [unused] scenes…wrote 'em, shot 'em…of them sort of hashing that out... You've been gone, I've moved on' – that kind of stuff... It became very clear that if a scene was not on the 'A plot', it could not survive Infinity War. That thing has to be on rails just to get to the finish line... You couldn't wrap up loose threads just because you wanted to."
His co-writer Markus added, "He was Smart Hulk in this movie and it did seem a little odd, in the midst of everyone's mourning and his change to a 2000-pound genius, to go, 'and they're dating!'"
"We thought it would be more elegant not to address that," McFeely said.
With Natasha's death, fans might be upset at the fact that there won't be future stories to mine some of the missed opportunities with the character. But they won't have to wait long, because filming has already begun on Black Widow, the spinoff prequel movie that sees Scarlett Johansson reprise the role once again.
Markus and McFeely previously spoke with ComicBook about this film, though they revealed that they weren't sure if Black Widow was actually going to happen at that time.
"We weren't fully aware of [the Black Widow movie], but, even when that became clearer that it was one of the things that they were intending to do, no one told us not to do what we were doing," Markus explained.1comments
"Right, and that's function of her arc, right?" McFeely added. "Her finally finding a purpose, a family, and being willing to sacrifice everything for that family. I think of her as perhaps the strongest person in the whole movie. She's the woman on the wall in the five years. And even when Captain America has doubts, and remember he says to her, 'Maybe we don't need to be doing this.' She does not share that opinion."
Avengers: Endgame is now playing in theaters.