Avengers Endgame: What If Hawkeye Sacrificed Himself Instead Of Black Widow?

Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner in Avengers: Endgame

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Avengers: Endgame had the near-impossible mission of wrapping up the storylines of the original six Avengers after a decade of interconnected and action-packed films. As fans remember too well, even as the film passes its one-year anniversary, there were a lot of goodbyes. Steve Rogers going back for his dance with Peggy and Iron Man sacrificing himself for the universe were satisfying in their own ways, but the fate of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow is up for debate. We've all asked ourselves this: what if Hawkeye suffered her fate on Vormir instead?

Depending on your perspective on the franchise, the last scene between Hawkeye and Black Widow either went exactly how it should have or got it completely wrong. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been more prominent in the MCU franchise, so her sudden death definitely bothered a lot of fans. But would an alternate fate where Widow lives and Hawkeye dies be more satisfying? Let’s explore the opposite scenario here:

Black Widow Sacrifices Herself So Hawkeye Can Get The Soul Stone

In the second act of Avengers: Endgame, the team splits up into smaller teams in order to retrieve all the Infinity Stones and reverse Thanos’ deadly snap. While the rest of the heroes utilize time travel to go back to the events in Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World, Natasha and Clint’s mission takes them to Vormir where they must retrieve the Soul Stone. As the pair finds out on the planet from Red Skull, one of them must sacrifice themselves in order to obtain the stone. Both Clint and Natasha are willing to give up their lives for the cause. They do not agree on who should sacrifice themselves, so they end up fighting one another to keep the other alive. Nat ends up to be more cunning, as she places Clint in a position where he can't hold on to her hand and his line at the same time. She asks him to let her go, and he has no choice. Black Widow dies.

What If Hawkeye Died Instead Of Black Widow?

If the fight between Black Widow and Hawkeye on Vormir went only slightly different in Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow may have lived to receive the Soul Stone instead and it would have been Clint who fell to his death. Natasha would not have been happy with this fate because she took pride in sacrificing herself for her found family (the Avengers) and the idea of keeping the Barton family intact had to be good motivation too. Natasha would return back to the team feeling as though she had failed her friend, but determined to finish the mission so his death wouldn’t be in vain.

Avengers: Endgame final battle sequence

(Image credit: (Marvel))

Black Widow Protects The Gauntlet Herself

One perk Avengers: Endgame would have had if Natasha had survived Vormir would be her inclusion in the jaw-dropping battle that featured an overwhelming amount of Avengers fighting off Thanos’ army from recreating the Snap again once they finally had reversed it. In the movie, before Captain America says “Avengers Assemble,” Hawkeye takes hold of the Gauntlet and dodges it, getting in the wrong hands. If Widow had lived instead, she might have the same job in the third act. However, I don’t think she’d be trusting enough to give Nebula the Gauntlet and allow the face-off to happen between the sisters. She would trust Black Panther, which is the first dependable hero Hawkeyes passes it to in the movie.

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in Avengers: Endgame

(Image credit: (Marvel))

Black Widow May Have Still Sacrificed Herself In Avengers: Endgame

There’s something else to keep in mind about this role reversal. Even if Black Widow survived through Vormir, she still may not have survived through to the end of Endgame. Every original Avenger in Endgame must face their demons and complete their story arc and the ultimate sacrifice for her family is what makes sense to Black Widow. Similar to Tony Stark, by Endgame she has truly become a selfless person and hero. Just as Tony is the one to defeat Thanos, it’s entirely possible Black Widow would have died on that battlefield too. The good news here is in a scenario like this, Tony, Natasha and Clint may have all been celebrated at the funeral sequence at the end.

Clint’s Family Would Add One More Heartbreak To Endgame’s Finale

In Avengers: Endgame, once Hawkeye returns to the Avengers with the Soul Stone in hand he has to break the news that Natasha had to die. It’s a sad moment, but if Hawkeye had died instead it would have been a lot more heartbreaking for the film. Someone would have to break the news to Linda Cardellini's Laura Barton and their children once they return from the shock of being snapped out of existence for five years. The movie might still include that moment where Hawkeye’s phone rings once the Avengers complete their mission, but Laura would not have the comfort of hearing her husband’s voice. As an audience, could we have been able to take this and the death’s of Cap and Iron Man?

Kate Bishop / Hawkeye in comic books

(Image credit: (Marvel Comics))

Kate Bishop Takes The Hawkeye Name In Tribute To The Hero

Without Hawkeye alive by the end of Endgame, the upcoming Hawkeye Disney+ television series (sign up for a free 7-day trial here) would not be the same without Clint Barton. It could still technically go on without Jeremy Renner’s character being alive. As announced, the show will center on Kate Bishop and in the comics the young girl is inspired by her role model Hawkeye to take on the title herself and he was actually dead in the comic book continuity at the time of Kate Bishop’s debut. Maybe she trains herself based on his legacy and later joins the Young Avengers?

And what about the upcoming Black Widow solo film? If the character completes her story arc and does end up dying in Endgame after surviving Vormir, the prequel film wouldn’t be much different either. If she lived through the epic battle, perhaps we would have received some closure on the whole Hulk/Black Widow coupling that came and went? Maybe the character would have retired from her role as an Avenger, or decided to co-parent Hawkeye’s kids with Laura? Natasha Romanoff’s returns for Black Widow on November 6 and Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton will star in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+.

Which scenario do you prefer? Widow’s sudden death in Endgame or if Hawkeye had taken her place? Vote in our poll below.

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Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.