In the words of Black Panther, death is "more of a stepping off point," especially for characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Scarlett Johnansson's Black Widow was killed in Avengers: Endgame when she sacrificed herself to save the universe when the Soul Stone required such an effort and the death was quite quickly moved past as the looming battle with Thanos came to fruition. Still to come, Johansson will star in a solo Black Widow movie, in which she will officially step off of the Black Widow mantle and pass that title to Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova.
“[Kevin Feige] realised that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Black Widow director Cate Shortland told Empire. “And we didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn’t know how great. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So it’s going to propel another female storyline.” Still, some suspect Yelena may meet her demise in the Black Widow movie and the theories have solid foundations on which to stand.
For some fans, Black Widow's death was an odd cinematic experience. Many may have expected her to come back to lif after the Infinity Stones were used to resurrect those who were killed by Thanos, only to quickly learn that her death was irreversible. There was no funeral, just a propulsion into the Hulk snapping his fingers and a fight against the Mad Titan.
“In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral,” Shortland says. “She’s too private, and anyway, people don’t really know who she is. So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that’s a fitting ending for her.”
Black Widow seems to be serving as a epilogue for the titular hero who has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2010's Iron Man 2. Whether or not fans will get the closure they're hoping for in what might be a true "goodbye" to the character will be seen when the movie hits theaters later this year.
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Black Widow hits theaters on November 6, 2020.