This article contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame was an emotional roller coaster ride, filled with surprising callbacks and powerful deaths. Many are going to leave the cinema talking about Tony Stark’s death, understandably so. But we cannot look past the impact of Black Widow’s sacrifice for the Soul Stone. It’s a beautiful scene that sees Black Widow and Hawkeye go mano a mano in an attempt to sacrifice himself/herself and save the other. Finally, it’s Black Widow who goes down, while Hawkeye lives to see another day.
Interestingly enough, there was a version of the script where the scene played out much differently. In a spoiler-heavy interview with New York Times, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had this to say:
McFeely: There was, for sure. Jen Underdahl, our visual effects producer, read an outline or draft where Hawkeye goes over. And she goes, “Don’t you take this away from her.” I actually get emotional thinking about it.
Markus: And it was true, it was him taking the hit for her. It was melodramatic to have him die and not get his family back. And it is only right and proper that she’s done.
McFeely then went on to explain why Black Widow’s death was right for her character.
“Her journey, in our minds, had come to an end if she could get the Avengers back. She comes from such an abusive, terrible, mind-control background, so when she gets to Vormir and she has a chance to get the family back, that’s a thing she would trade for.
The toughest thing for us was we were always worried that people weren’t going to have time to be sad enough. The stakes are still out there and they haven’t solved the problem. But we lost a big character — a female character — how do we honor it? We have this male lens and it’s a lot of guys being sad that a woman died.”
There’s simply no denying that the pairing of Markus & McFeely and the Russo brothers really understand the core of these characters on such an intrinsic level. All three major departures felt true to their characters and held plenty of emotional weight.