After getting off to a rocky start in The Avengers, Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, and Bruce Banner, a.k.a. Hulk, became friendly enough with one another that there was a budding romance between them in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This was one of the movie’s more controversial elements, and ultimately those two never took the next step forward, and because Black Widow met her demise in Avengers: Endgame, they never will.
When asked what her reaction was to saying goodbye to Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff’s story, and how she coped with them “never getting their happy ending and ending up together,” Scarlett Johansson responded:
I think that they made a choice that was for the greater good. I think everybody must have had that, where… it’s just not the right time. It just wasn’t really meant to be, but I would love to do the other storyline where they have some Bogart and Bacall romance.
A story involving Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff exploring their romantic feelings further and eventually becoming the Marvel Cinematic Universe equivalent of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall? That sounds like prime material for a Marvel’s What… If? episode. Kevin Feige and Disney+, are you listening?
Alas, as far as the main MCU continuity is concerned, things just didn’t work out with those two crazy kids. While it briefly looked like they might be able to be together, Ultron’s invasion of Sokovia threw a wrench into the works, and Hulk ultimately decided to sever communication with Black Widow and departed for parts unknown, eventually ending up on Sakaar.
While there were scenes shot showing Bruce and Natasha’s relationship being touched upon when they reunited in Avengers: Infinity War, those were cut out of the final product and the two barely shared screen time together. And evidently in the five-year gap between Infinity War and Endgame, they decided not to explore their feelings for one another further and remained friends. No doubt Bruce becoming Smart Hulk would have complicated things on the romantic front.
Like Scarlett Johansson said in THR’s Fishing For Answers segment, the Avengers: Age of Ultron period just wasn’t the right time for Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff. Maybe if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes hadn’t had to deal with a genocidal robot, they could have left the superhero life behind and started a new one together. But things didn’t work out that way, and much to Hulk’s dismay, he wasn’t able to bring Black Widow back when he snapped the dusted back into existence.
Looking ahead, Scarlett Johansson is set to reprise Natasha Romanoff in the Black Widow movie, but it’s set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when Hulk was still on Sakaar fighting in the Grandmaster’s arena. So we won’t get the untold chapter of Bruce and Natasha’s romance in the next MCU installment, and there isn’t even word yet on when we’ll see Hulk next, although the Disney+ She-Hulk series seems like a good bet.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the latest updates on the MCU, and find out what movies the franchise has coming up in our handy guide.