[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.”]
Black Widow’s death is widely regarded as one of the most shocking moments in “Avengers: Endgame,” and it turns out that sequence set on Vormir was originally going to be a lot different than what ended up being in the movie’s theatrical cut. As editor Matthew Schmidt revealed to Business Insider, the original “Endgame” script included a battle between Thanos and Black Widow on Vormir before the character sacrifices herself so the Avengers can obtain the Soul Stone. The scene was even shot before directors Anthony and Joe Russo decided the scene had to go in a different direction.
“On script and what we first shot was an excellent scene,” Schmidt said. “Thanos and his soldiers show up on Vormir and a small battle ensues between them and Natasha and Clint. Natasha decides to run off the cliff. Clint tries to stop her while also fending off the attack.”
The Black Widow-Thanos battle tested positively with audiences during test screenings, so it was never a priority for the editing team or the Russo brothers to change the moment. However, the group realized before reshoots were set to begin that a better option was available to them. The idea is the one that made it into the “Endgame” theatrical cut. Instead of a battle, the moments before Black Widow’s death feature her and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) debating about who would make the sacrifice.
“It was reshot to make it more intimate between Clint and Natasha, which fully worked in the end version of the movie,” Schmidt said. “We just came up with a better idea, something that serviced Natasha a little bit more.”
The Thanos battle on Vormir was hardly the only Black Widow-centric material that didn’t make it into the final cut of “Endgame.” In a recent interview on the Slate podcast “The Gist,” the Russo brothers said an early draft of the script had Black Widow running a government agency for orphaned children following Thanos’ snap. The idea was to introduce Black Widow’s new job when the film cuts ahead five years. Ultimately, the story detail changed and Black Widow became the leader of the Avengers during the time jump. “Avengers: Endgame” is now playing in theaters nationwide.