MCU: Why Scarlett Johansson Didn’t Want Black Widow to Receive This Sendoff in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

When Avengers: Endgame made its debut in April 2019, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans were shocked when Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)aka Black Widow — did not receive a funeral after her death. The character sacrificed herself to save the world from Thanos. Then when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) — aka Iron Man — exchanged his life, the box office hit gave him a proper sendoff. But recently, Black Widow director Cate Shortland revealed why Johansson didn’t want Nat to have a funeral in Endgame. And no, it isn’t because the character is still alive.

What happened to Black Widow in ‘Avengers: Endgame’?

Scarlett Johansson attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Scarlett Johansson | John Shearer/Getty Images

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In Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow died on Vormir to acquire the Soul Stone. As fans learned in Avengers: Infinity War, anyone who wanted to take the Soul Stone would need to make a sacrifice — a soul for a soul. So Nat fell to her death. This allowed her best friend, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) — aka Hawkeye — to live and collect the stone to defeat Thanos.

Following the Avengers: Endgame release, fans didn’t understand why Nat wasn’t given the same treatment as Tony after both characters sacrificed themselves. Then during ComicBook.com’s  #QuarantineWatchParty in April 2020, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely confirmed they considered putting Black Widow’s funeral in the film. But they didn’t want to take away from what was happening on-screen.

“We tried a few things,” McFeely wrote on Twitter. “We could never land on one that felt good enough (and that didn’t take you out of the moment in front of you).”

Meanwhile, Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo hinted the upcoming Black Widow film will serve as the character’s final goodbye.   

“People have asked why Natasha didn’t get the same amount of screen time post-death as Tony did,” Russo said in the Endgame DVD commentary. “Well, Tony does not have another movie, Tony is done. Natasha has another film. Marvel Universe obviously does not have to move forward linearly anymore. But that character still has more screen time coming.”

‘Black Widow’ director Cate Shortland says Scarlett Johansson didn’t think Natasha Romanoff needed a funeral

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Now, it’s been over a year since Avengers: Endgame premiered, and fans are patiently waiting for Black Widow to be released. The Marvel Cinematic Universe film was set to debut earlier this year. However, the first Phase Four movie has been postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Even so, Shortland opened up about Nat’s journey moving forward.

In an interview with Empire published on July 6, the director hinted Black Widow will be Johansson’s swan song and Florence Pugh’s beginning as Yelena Belova. Shortland also teased Nat will finally receive a proper ending. But even so, Shortland revealed Johansson didn’t feel like her character needed a funeral in the 2016 hit.

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Black Widow in theaters November 6

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“In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral,” Shortland said. “Whereas Scarlett — when I spoke to her about it — said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral.”

The Black Widow director added, “She’s too private. And anyway, people don’t really know who she is. So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that’s a fitting ending for her.”

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When Black Widow died in Avengers: Endgame, many fans wondered whether Nat was still alive because she did not receive a funeral. Of course, after Shortland’s recent remarks, it seems unlikely the forthcoming film will be anything but a final farewell to Johansson’s character. But fans will just have to wait and see what happens when Black Widow is officially released. 

Nevertheless, Johansson confirmed Nat is dead when she stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon back in October 2019. 

“There are very few certain things. But death’s pretty certain,” Johansson said “But people definitely don’t believe it and have tried to convince me that my character did not actually die … But, no. I think death is a final thing.”

But regardless, Johansson is ready to share Black Widow with fans. She also reassured everyone the new film will give them the closure they needed after Endgame

“We just finished [Black Widow] a couple of weeks ago,” Johansson said. “I can’t wait to share it with everybody. It was fantastic … Honestly, it brought closure to me that I needed because I was kind of wiped out of that last one. I mean, emotionally and literally.”

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