Avengers: Endgame screenwriters recently gave their take on why one major character's sacrifice in the blockbuster film was appropriate, which was something many fans complained about after leaving the theater. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were allowed to conclude the arcs of the six main Avengers as they wished, which led to the highly successful Avengers: Infinity War and its even more impressive sequel, but some of those conclusions were not as well-received as others.
While on a quest to collect all six Infinity Stones from the past in order to undo the snap, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint (Jeremy Renner) were faced with the terrible truth about the Soul Stone: one could only obtain it after losing what they love. Both heroes were more than willing to sacrifice their lives in order to save the universe, and both cited the lives they themselves had taken as a reason they should take the plunge, but in the end Natasha got the better of Clint and plunged to her death at the bottom of Vormir's cliff. Naturally, not everyone found this a fitting end for her.
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, the two writers explained how they decided her fate and shared their thoughts on the mixed reaction to that particular plot point. Markus said, "I understand she was a beloved character and none of us want our heroes to die, but that is the natural end of her journey, and it is the sort of apotheosis of who she is becoming. She started out as a very dark character. Even before the movies begin, she’s a spy, she’s an assassin. She has red in her ledger and to take her all the way to that sacrifice point is where her character is headed. And to not let her do that seemed a disservice to her as a hero."
McFeely responded in a similar veining, saying, "We couldn't be afraid to kill her simply because she was the most important and the first female character." He then turned to the other heroes as examples of the story they intended to tell, adding, "The goal with all these things is just to put these people on a journey or continue or end their journeys. Steve Rogers goes from selfless to slightly more self-interested. Tony goes from selfish to giving himself for the universe. Thor goes from obligated to letting go of that obligation. And Black Widow goes from a woman with red on her ledger to clearly wiping out all that red."
There's no doubt that Natasha did come from a dark place, and that giving her life for the greater good would be a way to balance the scales and more. But that still leaves the question of why Hawkeye didn't need to wipe his ledger clean, considering that Avengers: Endgame revealed the post-Thanos years had turned him into a mass murderer. Even if the people he killed happened to be drug dealers and gang leaders, he explicitly acknowledged how much blood he had on his hands. Perhaps the question is why that heroic choice was available and necessary for Natasha, but not for Clint who merely returned home to his family.
That family, and Black Widow's lack of one outside of the Avengers themselves, has been been suggested as justification for her death as well. Not having a spouse and children, which became a major sticking point in her Avengers: Age of Ultron, should not make her life less valuable - but perhaps it's better to think of her sacrifice the way the screenwriters did. Natasha felt that giving her life was the most loving thing she could do for her friends, her family, and the world at large. Whether fans felt she got her due or not, at least they can rest assured that Avengers: Endgame acknowledged her heroism.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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