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Avengers Endgame directors respond to controversial Black Widow scene

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have spoken about the controversial scene in which (spoiler alert) Black Widow sacrifices herself to save her friend Hawkeye.

hollywood Updated: May 06, 2019 17:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Avengers Endgame,Avengers Endgame Black Widow,Black Widow
This image released by Disney shows Scarlett Johansson in a scene from Avengers: Endgame.(AP)

Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Avengers: Endgame, have spoken about the controversial scene in the film, in which (spoiler alert) Black Widow dies, after sacrificing her life to save her friend, Hawkeye. The Russos’ self-imposed ‘spoiler ban’ was lifted on Monday.

“It’s a fight to see who’s going to kill themselves,” Joe Russo told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a crazy concept for a scene. And as you’ve seen in The Avengers, she’s a better fighter than he is. So when it comes down to a fight between the two of them, she wins.”

The scene has been met with controversy, with several people suggesting that it falls into the regressive comic book trope called ‘fridging’, which involves female characters dying in service of their male counterparts. They questioned if being a parent is the only qualification Hawkeye had over Black Widow, and if so, why is that important. A similar controversy erupted when she called herself a ‘monster’ in Avengers: Age of Ultron, presumably because she couldn’t have children.

This image released by Disney shows Scarlett Johansson, left, and Jeremy Renner in a scene from Avengers: Endgame. ( AP )

Russo continued, “To me it’s one of the sadder scenes in the movie because it’s really putting two people in a Sophie’s choice, putting two people in the position where, do you let your friend die or do you die?”

In the scene, Hawkeye and Black Widow arrive on the planet Vormir, where they are told by Red Skull that to secure the Soul Stone, they must sacrifice someone they love. A fight ensues between the two, in which they argue over who gets to die. Black Widow eventually falls to her death after forcing Hawkeye to let go of her, as they’re dangling off the side of a cliff.

Anthony said that the film opens on Hawkeye’s family for a reason. “She reminds him of it in the scene. They both may have the mission in that moment where, ‘I’m not going to let you kill yourself,’ but Hawkeye has mixed agendas there, which I feel takes the edge off his focus in a way that she doesn’t.”

Joe continued, “The theme of the movie is, can you change your destiny, and what does it cost to do it? And are you willing to pay that cost? It’s a resounding yes from the Avengers. In Infinity War they said, ‘We don’t trade lives,’ and there was a desire to protect. And in this movie, there’s now a desire to sacrifice in order to accomplish the goal.”

“I think that that’s a natural progression, right?” he added. “‘Well, the first thing we’re going to do is try to protect everybody.’ And then when you realise it can’t work that way, then true heroes step up and are willing to sacrifice for the greater good.”

Also read: Avengers Endgame movie review: An epic conclusion to Marvel’s Infinity Saga; it’s a triumphant tear-jerker

There’s also the matter of a future Black Widow movie, which will reportedly begin production in the summer, for a 2020 release. Cate Shortland has been hired to direct, with Florence Pugh starring in a supporting role opposite Scarlett Johansson, although Marvel hasn’t made any official announcement yet. Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Emma Watson have also been rumoured to star.

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First Published: May 06, 2019 17:52 IST