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Although most fans would agree Iron Man and Captain America’s send offs in Avengers: Endgame were handled with grace, the same can’t particularly be said across the board about Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. In the MCU’s biggest hit, Natasha Romanoff sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone, and to save her good friend Clint Barton and the rest of the universe.
A ton of fans were not satisfied with how abrupt her death was, but Scarlett Johansson originally had a completely different gripe with that Avengers: Endgame scene. At first, the scene featured an attack between Thanos and his soldiers in an effort to stop them from reversing the Mad Titan’s snap. The Black Widow actress described them as an “army of Dementor-type creatures” that she worried would put off some of the franchise’s younger audiences. In her words:
I was thinking, ‘Parents will never forgive us for how these creatures look.’
They must have looked real gnarly. Avengers: Endgame did decide to make a number of chances with younger audiences in mind. For example, Iron Man was originally going to go out with gross flesh on his face bubbling from the energy unleashed by the Infinity Stones. Parents would have been mad about that one, too. As a parent herself, Scarlett Johansson was also worried how audiences would react to the terrifying creatures in the cut scene on Vormir.
The sequence had Black Widow running off the cliff from the Demeanors as Hawkeye tries to stop her while also fighting them off. It was changed because it was decided that the three-hour movie already had enough action in it. Instead, Natasha’s death happens in a more silent moment between her and Clint. As Johansson explained to EW:
We wanted to leave [the audience] with the weight of that loss and the shock of it.
It sounds like it was the right call, too. Not only did the new sequence save parents from dealing with traumatized children, it also let Natasha’s death have a bit more depth to it. The Avengers: Endgame writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, are “really proud” of the scene in the film, but as they also previously noted, they do regret not having time to “roll around in the grief” of Black Widow’s sacrifice.
The character will return in the first film of Phase Four, Black Widow – which is set during the time of Captain America: Civil War, before her death. The movie will give fans more context into her past as we get to know her “family” played by Little Women’s Florence Pugh, Stranger Things’ David Harbour and The Favourite’s Rachel Weisz.
Black Widow is scheduled to hit theaters on May 1, though it should be noted that the coronavirus is currently shifting a ton of movie release dates including Mulan, A Quiet Place, F9 and No Time To Die.