Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for over a decade, so moviegoers have been privy to a variety of different plotlines. And while some proved to be instrumental throughout the last 22 movies, others fizzled out. And one of the storylines that fits into the latter category was Black Widow's romantic connection to Bruce Banner, as well as her ability to help tame The Hulk.
While Natasha's message to Banner briefly popped up in Thor: Ragnarok, their interpersonal dynamic wasn't really addressed in Infinity War or Endgame. But it that wasn't always the case, and writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus recently explained the choice to abandon that plot line. As McFeely put it:
We certainly tried to. In Infinity War we have 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.
Well, that's interesting. Because while Natasha and Bruce shared scenes in the last two Avengers movies, their relationship seemed purely friendship. And now it seems we could have gotten a more fleshed out version of their interaction, before it was eventually cut for time.
Black Widow's relationship with Bruce Banner was played out across The Avengers and Age of Ultron. The two had clear chemistry, although the big Green Guy was the dark cloud hanging over their connection. But Bruce's feelings for Natasha were strong enough that she could calm Hulk's rage, and allow his genius alter-ego to gain control of their shared consciousness.
But Infinity War simply didn't have enough time to address this relationship, especially as the two characters hadn't shared any scenes in quite some time. Instead, they had an almost silent reunion, without any long scenes or tears shed. You can check out the scene in question below:
If there's one thing that Anthony Mackie's Falcon is known for, it's cracking jokes in the wake of the MCU's highs takes. That's certainly what Sam Wilson did as Bruce and Natasha shared their meaningful glance-- the only time their past was truly recognized in Infinity War and Endgame.
While their romantic relationship was cut for time, Nat and Bruce did get to share some solid scenes, especially in Avengers: Endgame. They were cracking jokes during the early stages of Time Travel experimentation, before Iron Man eventually showed up to stabilize the process. And Professor Hulk no longer needed the big green guy to be wrangled, as Bruce finally merged his consciousness with the physical prowess of his doppelganger.
Since Hulk and Black Widow's relationship was cut from Infinity War, we'll never see it played out again. Because while Hulk made it out of Endgame with a serious injury, Natasha sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone. As for the future, Phase Four remains a mystery.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.