The team behind Avengers: Endgame shot an alternate sequence for Black Widow's death where Hawkeye dies instead. Avengers: Endgame became the highest-grossing movie of all time earlier this year and continues to be one of the most talked about movies months after its release. Capping off the Infinity Saga, it helped bring the MCU's Phase Three to a close while sending off some of the heroes who have been a part of the franchise since the beginning. The fan response was mostly positive, but the film wasn't without its controversial moments.
At a pivotal moment in the film, Black Widow and Hawkeye find themselves on the planet Vormir in search of the Soul Stone in order to reverse Thanos' deadly Snap. Unlike the other Infinity Stones, however, the Soul Stone comes with its own set of rules: To acquire it, one must sacrifice the person they love most. Natasha and Clint have always been as close as family, and after a fight over who should be the one to go, Natasha gains the upper hand and falls to her death. Many fans were upset over the way Black Widow died, especially since Natasha is the only female original Avenger.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely shed some light into their thought process behind the decision to kill Natasha. They explain that, despite the controversy they knew they would encounter, they believed the death served as a resolution to Black Widow's arc. A big part of Natasha's arc in the film is her finally feeling like she's found a family after years of thinking she didn't have a place in the world. According to McFeely, her death was "worth it to her." When the subject of the alternate sequence depicting Hawkeye's death came up, McFeely said this:
A number of women on the crew, when we said, 'Hey, we’re thinking maybe Hawkeye goes over,' said, 'Don’t you do that! Don’t rob her of this!' And then it choked me up because I think we would have a much different conversation if Hawkeye had pushed her aside.
In the end, the duo only had one regret about killing Black Widow. Since it happened so late in the script, they were unable to properly "roll around in the grief." That was one of the complaints fans had surrounding Natasha's death: That she, unlike Tony Stark, wasn't given a funeral of her own. Her death certainly came as a massive blow to fans, and the fact that Black Widow finally has a solo movie coming in 2020 only lessens the pain somewhat, since it is a prequel.
Black Widow's death is undoubtedly one of the most heartbreaking moments in a film packed with emotional beats. It was always going to cause a stir because, while some could argue her death comes after a fully realized arc and makes sense for the narrative, it also takes away one of the MCU's first and most popular female characters. It's great that, after years of wishing, Natasha will finally receive her standalone film, but it hurts that fans will likely never see her again after it's over. It was inevitable that Avengers: Endgame would feature the deaths of some beloved heroes but picking Natasha over Clint still feels like a mistake.
Source: Vanity Fair