Scarlett Johansson says that the scrapped Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow romantic relationship was scrapped in the MCU after Avengers: Age of Ultron is for the better. The franchise has had its fair share of success with regard to exploring their superheroes' romantic lives, case in point: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and even Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). But in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, director Joss Whedon went a surprising route when he started developing a relationship between Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff.
During their second outing as a team, Earth's Mightiest Heroes faced the evil A.I., Ultron, but it also introduced the possibility of Bruce and Nat together. At one point, they even discussed running away to live a normal life, which obviously didn't happen. In the end, Hulk wandered off to an unknown place, leaving Widow. It was only in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok that viewers found out where he ended up. Subsequently in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, he returned to Earth, reuniting with his former lover, but with the threat of Thanos (Josh Brolin) looming, there wasn't any time for them to discuss their catastrophic attempt at a relationship.
The matter was never discussed even after Nat's death in Avengers: Endgame, although there were hints of Hulk's remorse upon learning her fate just to secure the Soul Stone. Now, Johansson opens up about her character's tragic love story with Bruce in a new interview with THR, where she says that scrapping the romantic link was for the better.
"I think that they made a choice that was for the greater good. I think everybody must have had that where you meet someone but 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 sort of Bogart and Bacall romance."
In the comics, Widow has had her fair share of romantic involvements, and her upcoming solo outing - which will occupy Marvel's May release slot next year - can explore her other relationships on top of her scrapped one with Bruce. Directed by Cate Shortland, the Black Widow solo movie plot details are still being tightly kept under wraps. However, with Nat's fate in Endgame, her new film will tackle the events between Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War, and will introduce new characters including Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and Mason (O-T Fagbenle) - both are supposedly romantically linked with her one way or another.
Admittedly, Hulk and Widow's romance was surprising, but it didn't come out of nowhere. The two had a different relationship compared to their other Avengers comrades, possibly because it was Nat who found and recruited Bruce in the first place for Nick Fury's (Sam Jackson) Avengers Initiative. Had the MCU unfolded differently, it's curious if Marvel Studios would've explored more of their relationship, but as Johansson said, theirs is simply a case of love that was not meant to be. It's just that it would've been better if it was wrapped up properly rather than just being ignored, almost as if hoping that fans would forget about it after Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022