By now, most Marvel fans have become used to the idea no one except Uncle Ben stays dead and Black Widow is living proof of that. She died in Avengers: Endgame, and she’s coming back in a prequel due out in November. The big question is, will she “stay” back?
Marvel fans were frustrated first that it took so long to make a Black Widow movie, and then that she had to die before she could get one. However, what if her solo movie is an even bigger hit than expected? Should Marvel find some way to keep her going, even if it’s not necessarily with Scarlett Johansson?
Fans discuss Black Widow’s near-deaths
When you consider the original Avengers — Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, and Hawkeye — Black Widow is arguably the most vulnerable of the lot. She has no superpowers or strength like most of the team, and even her tech arsenal seems more limited than Hawkeye’s surprisingly effective array of bows and arrows.
Fans on Reddit looked at a compilation of Black Widow’s near-death experiences and marveled at how she managed to stay alive with so many close calls and near misses.
“The grenade inside the truck in Civil War is the only time I went, wait really? for her character,” one fan said.
Another responded: “At the very least her ear drums would be completely blown. It would actually be pretty funny if throughout the rest of the movie Nat is just yelling at everyone since she can’t hear herself.”
One fan even poked fun at the manner of her eventual death in Endgame when she went over a cliff and sacrificed herself so Hawkeye could get the Soul Stone: “Surprised she didn’t do a roll at the bottom of the cliff just out of habit.”
Ultimately, fans concluded that Black Widow had the superpower that counts the most when you’re a hero: Luck.
Why did Marvel kill Black Widow?
Before fans saw Avengers: Endgame, most of them didn’t guess that Black Widow would die because they knew she had a standalone movie coming up.
After fans saw Endgame, they said: “Well, I guess her movie is a prequel.” Her movie takes place sometime between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War when Natasha tries to reconcile her past.
But why kill Black Widow at all and make fans wonder about that standalone movie they had been demanding? Yes, Black Widow did die and come back in the comics, via some hoodoo with the Red Room, but the comics play even looser with the laws of life and death than the movies do.
However, one of the strengths of Black Widow in the movies was that she was more realistic and down to earth than her compatriots. The writers of Avengers Endgame reported that Natasha’s death gave her character a satisfying arc: She started out as only looking out for herself and ended giving her life for the greater good.
Besides, some crew members working on the movie demanded that she die, as they didn’t want to rob her of that dramatic moment.
What if the Black Widow movie does really well?
The greatest motivator of all in Hollywood in keeping anything going is always money. Take the Alien franchise, for example. Its lead character Ripley definitively died in the third movie, and yet Sigourney Weaver came back as some odd human/alien hybrid in Alien Resurrection — a movie worked on by Avengers scribe Joss Whedon.
Very few Marvel movies can be considered true financial failures, and only four have made less than $200 million at the domestic box office. So what if Black Widow comes out in November and does really well? Do they go back into further adventures with Natasha, or is another character the new Black Widow?
Co-star Florence Pugh has already cast doubt on the latter theory, saying the movie wasn’t really a passing of the torch. So would Johansson be up for another Black Widows flashback? She told the Hollywood Reporter that her daughter will ensure Black Widow always has a presence.
“She knows that I’m a superhero, or that I play a superhero, or that that’s one of my jobs,” Johansson says. “I don’t know if she thinks it’s real or not, I’m not sure. She gets excited when she sees me on the Cheerios box.”