What Does 'Avengers: Endgame' Mean For The Black Widow Movie?

Avengers: Endgame might be the culmination of this first era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (even though Spider-Man: Far From Home will officially end Phase Three), but there are still plenty more movies on the way from Marvel Studios in the coming years. Thankfully, that will include the first solo outing for Black Widow, or Natasha Romanoff, a character who fans have wanted to see broken out into her own feature film ever since being introduced in Iron Man 2.

The sequel is said to start shooting sometime later this year, so where does Avengers: Endgame leave the former SHIELD agent, and what does it mean for her future on the big screen? Let's talk about it, but beware of major spoilers.

What Happens to Black Widow in Endgame?

Well, we have bad news. Black Widow is one of two major characters who get killed in Avengers: Endgame. Unfortunately, this isn't the kind of situation where she'll be brought back like the rest of The Avengers who disappeared when Thanos snapped his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War.

During the time heist in Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow and Hawkeye are the ones tasked with going to Vormir in 2014 to retrieve the Soul Stone. After learning they must sacrifice a soul of their own in order to get the stone, the two longtime partners and friends have a noble fight to stop each other from giving their own lives in order to save everyone who disappeared in the snap. Whatever it takes.

Ultimately, Black Widow "wins" this fight. Hawkeye is unable to pull her up as he hangs from a grappling line, and she falls to her death off the sacrificial cliff in Vormir, giving him the Soul Stone.

In case anyone thinks Black Widow can easily be brought back with the Infinity Stones, Steve Rogers returned all of them to their proper point in time, so that's not in the cards. But even if it was somehow possible to get the stones back, Hulk even says that he tried to bring her back when he snapped his fingers to undo what Thanos did in Infinity War. But it didn't work. It seems Black Widow really is gone for good.

What Does This Mean for the Black Widow Movie?

If Black Widow is dead, then why do we keep hearing about the character getting her own movie in the near future? Is it all a ruse to keep fans off the scene that she might die in Avengers: Endgame? That seems like an elaborate plan to keep a secret like that, especially since there were no similar misleading details in order to preserve the secret of Tony Stark's death in Endgame. So what's going on here?

Well, there's a five year gap in Avengers: Endgame where we don't know much about what Black Widow is up to. Presumably she's always checking in with the surviving members of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy as they look into the aftermath of the genocide across the universe. But perhaps she had missions of her own during this period that might fill in the gap.

However, the most likely explanation is that the Black Widow movie is a prequel. It could easily take place in the past when Black Widow was loyally working for SHIELD, carrying out missions. After all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier keyed us into the fact that she once squared off against the titular villain and it left her with a scar from the bullet he sent through her body. She has a long history of working as an agent, and there are plenty of stories that could be told there.

The only issue there is that Scarlett Johansson much older than her character would be for a flashback movie like that. But Marvel Studios has also proven that age isn't really a problem for them anymore. Samuel L. Jackson was de-aged about 24 years in order to play a young version of Nick Fury in Captain Marvel, and that wasn't just a small cameo. He was the second lead in the film, and the visual effects looked amazing. So it's not out of the realm of possibility for Scarlett Johansson to be de-aged to play a younger version of herself.

Furthermore, the rumors have pegged the Black Widow movie as a prequel that follows Natasha Romanoff during the early period of her spy career when she was employed by the KGB, before she was even recruited by SHIELD. So perhaps we'll see how she came to be employed with SHIELD, maybe even as a sequel that follows the events of Captain Marvel.

Otherwise, what we know now is the Black Widow movie will be directed by Cate Shortland, who is working from a script by Jac Schaeffer. Besides the return of Scarlett Johansson, the cast so far has been said to include Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, and O-T Fagbenle. Hopefully we'll get more details on the movie soon, likely following the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is when Kevin Feige has said Marvel Studios will be making some announcements. So stay tuned to see what we find out.