Why AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR And AVENGERS: ENDGAME Didn't Address The Hulk/Black Widow Romance

Avengers: Age of Ultron controversially introduced a romantic element to The Hulk and Black Widow's relationship, while Thor: Ragnarok also touched on it. So, why was it ignored by the Russo Brothers?

Much to the chagrin of many comic book fans, Joss Whedon had The Hulk and Black Widow fall in love. That ended when the Jade Giant decided to leave the team behind but it was clear in Thor: Ragnarok that he still had feelings for his fellow teammate. Well, that wasn't addressed in Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame and now Natasha is dead, that's it for these two.

In a new interview with the writers of those two movies, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the subject was once again brought up and they confirmed that a scene confirming that they'd both moved on was originally included in Infinity War before it wound up on the cutting room floor.

"We certainly tried to," McFeely said. "In Infinity War we have scenes…wrote ‘em, shot ‘em…of them sort of hashing that out. You’ve been gone, I’ve moved on’ – that kind of stuff. It became very clear that if a scene was not on the ‘A plot’, it could not survive Infinity War. That thing has to be on rails just to get to the finish line. You couldn’t wrap up loose threads just because you wanted to." 
As for why they didn't then touch on that in Endgame, Markus added: "He was smart Hulk in this movie and it did seem a little odd, in the midst of everyone’s mourning and his change to a 2000-pound genius, to go, ‘and they’re dating!'"
McFeely the concluded, "We thought it would be more elegant not to address that."

It was never a popular romance so, ultimately, most fans probably won't be too bothered. What do you guys think? As always, let us know your thoughts on that in the comments section below.

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details from the movie's writers and directors!

The "Thanus" Theory

Before Avengers: Endgame was released, a very unique theory started doing the rounds online asking why Ant-Man couldn't travel up Thanos' butt and expand from the inside, killing the Mad Titan in the process. This got so much attention that even cast members addressed it, but there's a very good reason why it wasn't include...aside from it being completely ridiculous, of course!

"Thanos could take a punch from the Hulk, we've seen that. And it stands to reason his whole body is at least as strong as that," Markus explains. "If Ant-Man expanded, he would be simply crushed against the immovable walls of Thanos’ mighty rectum." There's an image we won't be getting out of our head this weekend...

Don't Blame Star-Lord For The Snap


"If you’re standing in front of your girlfriend's father and find out that he just killed your girlfriend, you're gonna hit him in the face!" argues Markus when asked whether fans really should blame Star-Lord for Thanos wiping out trillions of lives.

"I just think it's totally emotionally understandable, particularly when you add in the scene where [Quill] was supposed to kill her," McFeely agrees, pointing out the failings of the other heroes. "[Star Lord] is one of many reasons why they don't win. All you've got to do is cut his head off – Thor's at fault. Tony and Steve, if they got along there's a good chance. There's a lot of blame to go around."

How The 2014 Version Of Thanos Differs

Asked how the past version of Thanos differs to the 2018 version who is beheaded by Thor, Anthony explains that he was dubbed "Warrior Thanos, the version of the character before he put down his armour and became enlightened and wanted to search for the stones."

"He's angrier – it might be his flaw in the film, that he's a little bit more precocious and self-confident, not quite as enlightened." As for how the writers view the 2014 Mad Titan, Markus adds: "He is, oddly for all the damage he does in Infinity War, a mellowed-out, philosophical Thanos. And we wanted the warlord in this movie, who hasn't quite worked out all the nuances yet."

Why Thor Reunited With Frigga Instead Of Jane Foster


When Thor returns to Asgard circa 2013, he has an emotional reunion with his mother, Frigga - but why didn't we get to see him interact with Natalie Portman's Jane Foster? According to McFeely it boils down to the fact that "it wasn’t a romantic relationship he needed to repair."

Markus agrees: "He had some Jane Foster time in one draft. But that didn't seem like his issue. He's reduced to a childlike state in his cabin over there in Norway, and he needed advice from his mom, basically. Someone needs to go, 'You're OK. You're a f*ck-up, and you're OK."

Robert Downey Jr. Improvised A Key Line


Tony Stark and Steve Rogers' reunion is brief but extremely emotional, and we learn that the former is still holding a grudge as he rants at Captain America and brands his former ally a "liar." 

"I think that was one of Downey's most inspired performance moments in the movie," Anthony says, confirming that the actor actually improvised that particular moment. "He very much reverts to, this is the guy who felt forsaken by his father – you can see his intimacy and trust issues in that moment when he turns on Cap. Downey performed the scene with a lot of energy. We didn't do it many times, because he was expending himself so, so much. He understood it very well."

"The Snap" Wasn't A Cliffhanger


Marvel Studios kept us all hooked for an entire year as we waited for Avengers: Endgame to be released, but the movie's writers don't necessarily believe Infinity War ended on a cliffhanger. 

"Heroes lose all the time at the end of act two, and it usually lasts five minutes and then they're back out of it. We didn't want to do that," McFeely explains. "It seemed like a cheat. People accuse that first movie of being a cliffhanger, but I'll go to my grave saying it's a tragedy. A cliffhanger implies that you're going to resolve it quickly, and we did not want to do that."

"What If?" Comics Inspired The Time Jump


We know that a What If? animated series is coming to Disney+, but McFeely reveals that those comic books inspired the "Five Years Later" time jump that introduced a very different version of the heroes.

"By jumping five years, you get to have 'What if Tony got married and lived happily ever after?'; 'What if Hulk became basically the only super-hero and was smart?'; 'What if Cap seemed like he might want to give up?'; 'What if Natasha never left the house and was the last woman on the wall?'; 'What if Thor became a fat drunk?'," he says.

"That was the idea to do that, but not as What If – keep the stakes. That all happened, it's all part of canon."

A Subtle But Genius Change


Here's something you'll be keeping an eye out for when you watch the movie again. Apparently, once Avengers: Endgame moves into the future, the movie's visuals change to reflect that. 

"At 'Five Years Later', you'll notice it gets a lot bluer, cooler tones. We wanted a more depressive mood," Joe reveals. "The intention was to let the characters and the audience feel the effects of Infinity War, and then slowly transition into a different tone – you'll notice the movie starts to get funny around Hulk and the diner, where the tone is becoming hopeful again."

The Thinking Behind Stan Lee's Cameo


Avengers: Endgame features Stand Lee's final cameo in the MCU and he appears as a younger version of himself back in 1970. As you might expect, his appearance is based on photos of him from the time. "We had particular nostalgic fun with this cameo because we were going to the past," explains Anthony.

"We started to look at old photos – our visual effects team is so fluent with de-ageing techniques," he continued, confirming that VFX was used for the scene. "We allowed ourselves to become very inspired and excited by old images of Stan. It was great fun."

Iron Man's Scrapped Trip To Asgard


One the filmmakers decided to focus on a time heist, they just had to decide which movies to revisit. It sounds like Thor: The Dark World was settled on quickly, but an earlier version of the movie would have featured Iron Man paying a visit to the God of Thunder's home. 

"Technically in Thor: The Dark World, the Tesseract is in the vault as the Aether is also there," says McFeely. "So that sent Tony to Asgard, and he had an invisible stealth suit, and he fought Heimdall, who could of course see him. I think Joe [Russo] went in and said, 'Why don't we go in to Avengers? It's the biggest movie, it's the most fun, let's go.'"

Why Thanos Has Less Screentime

Thanos was the main character in Avengers: Infinity War but he takes a back seat in Endgame. "It’s definitely an Avengers movie, where the other one wasn't," McFeely reasons when asked to provide an explanation. "We had to give ourselves permission to backseat the villain a little bit. I don't think anyone in the first half of the movie is going, 'Oh I wish there was a villain'. You're rolling around in the loss and the time heist, and you think it's sort of Avengers against nature."

Black Widow's Redemption


We know that Hawkeye was originally going to be the one to take the plunge on Vormir, but Joe has now elaborated on the decision for it to be Black Widow instead. "Natasha is fascinating because she used to be a villain. It's not something you've seen on screen before, but she had a life prior to this that was the wrong life," he says.

"The character had their identity stripped away and was turned into an assassin, then found a new family through her membership in the Avengers. It just seemed an incredibly heroic choice for her to make knowing that she had to sacrifice herself to preserve the future and the family." He also notes that Natasha is ultimately the better fighter so she would always beat Clint.

Dead Characters Will Not Be Rebooted

If you're expecting a new Tony Stark to show up in the MCU somewhere down the line, guess again. "It's the nature of the MCU," argues Markus. "It's not a place where you can reboot one and suddenly Iron Man is 15 years old and everyone else is still the same age. The characters have to pass out, and the universe has to still stand."

"So if you're going to take people off the board, they've got to go for real,"
he continues. "Granted, these are movies. I understand that somebody has made some kind of announcement that has the word 'Vision' in it, so I mean..." That's a reference to WandaVision, but there are many ways an android can return. 

Why They Didn't Kill Captain America


We all went into Avengers: Endgame expecting Captain America to die, but he instead gets a very different sort of ending. "Once you kill a beloved character like [Tony], you've got to have hope at the end of the movie in some regard, and the only person to give you that hope is the other co-lead," Joe explains.

"Had we killed both the leads, I feel like people would have been walking out into traffic after the film. The intention is not to destroy people, it's to hopefully tell a complex and dimensionalised story in a way, that makes them feel a varied range of emotion." That ultimately makes perfect sense. 

How Endgame Changes Infinity War's Ending

Doctor Strange reveals that there's only one possible future where The Avengers will defeat Thanos, and McFeely has now pointed out a moment in Infinity War that now takes on a very different light.

"Cumberbatch takes a really long pregnant pause. And now that you know that he’s looking ahead to Endgame and Tony dying, and he says, 'One', you will only read it as, 'You have to die – there's no other way.'" It's pretty grim to think he knew that Iron Man would ultimately die, and it will be interesting to see what sort of fallout, if any, there is from that. 

Why Iron Man Didn't Have Any Last Words


After telling Thanos "I Am Iron Man," Tony Stark doesn't get any emotional last words and instead says a silent goodbye to Spider-Man, War Machine, and Pepper. "Robert was like, ‘I'm not going to say f*cking anything. I don't want to talk, because it doesn't feel honest to me," Joe reveals. "And I don't think in that moment that he'd have the ability to speak.'"

"He was like, ‘I'm going to lay here, and you can let it unfold with the other characters, but I'm going to barely interact because that feels like a truthful choice to me.'" The directors agreed and Anthony adds: "To have a character in that much pain, on the verge of death, it was important for us to create the feeling that when you looked at Tony Stark in that moment, you knew he was dying, and you had to process that in that moment."

An Alternate Take On The Portals Scene

Apparently, an earlier version of Avengers: Endgame put that big Portals scene in a very different part of the movie. "They snapped it, and bam – everyone's there, and then Thanos attacked," explains Markus. "It was fine, but the way it is currently makes it feel like the movie's not done. If you resolve it, then it's just a skirmish afterwards. But because you have not completed the primary task – everybody is not back yet – it still feels like there's a lot in the balance."

Captain America Lifting Mjolnir Was Kevin Feige's Plan


If you want to credit anyone for Captain America lifting Mjolnir, it's Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. "I'm sure it was probably in Kevin's mind well before [Ultron], which is why he probably asked Joss to include something like that," Joe says. "At some point he wanted to see Cap worthy."

"But it's one of those things that you can only pay off with 10 years of storytelling behind it,"
the filmmaker continues. "To know everything that Cap has gone through, and to see who he is as a character and all the choices that he's made, he is worthy. Even though he's made mistakes, which is I think fascinating – even in Civil War when he admits to Tony that he withheld the truth from him, it doesn't alter the fact that he's worthy."

A New Thor


While we've heard for a while now that it was always the plan for Thor to retain his new look, it sounds like we can forget about him getting back in shape by the next time we see him. 

"The end of Thor's journey is not simply a return to who he was before he became depressed," Anthony confirms. "The end of Thor's journey is the arrival at a new state of understanding of himself and his world. He's yet another character moving forward. The idea of simply changing him back I think undermined the idea that that’s not who Thor is anymore."

A Secret Wars Homage


Ever since Avengers: Endgame was released, fans have wondered whether The Hulk holding up the Avengers Compound while it collapses around him could be a nod to a certain comic book.

Well, Secret Wars mega fan Joe has now confirmed that it is "one hundred percent" a reference to the comic panel and now we just have to hope him and Anthony one day get to adapt the whole thing.

Many thanks to Empire Online for the quotes used throughout this post.
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