Avengers: Endgame is surely the greatest movie of all time. The biggest reason why it is so great was because of what it did with its characters. Sure all the snap victims didn’t get to do much, but the OG 6 and other survivors were used quite well. Iron Man & Captain America obviously had the biggest story arcs. Thor’s arc was pretty great too. The Hulk was there for the main purpose, i.e. bringing back all the Snap victims. Then there were Hawkeye and Black Widow who were extremely important to bring back the Soul Stone.
Black Widow surely deserves the biggest credit to sacrifice herself for the good of the team, but Hawkeye deserves equal credit too. He also tried to sacrifice himself but failed at that. But his journey was even more painful because he had to witness his loved one die and live with it. He was already living with the guilt of being a mass-murdering vigilante, and the death of Widow was also added to that. And the worst part of it was that he wasn’t given a choice. He wished that it was different, that it was him who makes the jump, but that wasn’t meant to be.
Hawkeye and Black Widow truly loved each other. It wasn’t in a sexual way, as it was something even beyond that. It was the mutual respect and love that they had for each other, which made them eligible to make the trade for the Soul Stone. Apparently, there was supposed to be a scene that would have established their love for each other.
Co-writer Stephen McFeely spoke to the Los Angeles Times and revealed this scene. He said:
“There was a scene between Natasha and Clint Barton en route to Vormir, so they leave Morag, and then they basically just have a long conversation while the Quinjet is on autopilot. We thought we needed it because it was gonna remind you that they shared a relationship, meaning that they loved each other, which is of course a prerequisite for what’s gonna happen on Vormir. It needed to have that relationship in order for the Soul Stone to be gotten. It turns out you do not need that, because you’ve watched all the movies, and you know they love each other. And they’re great actors, so it takes two lines and not an entire scene.”
Really, the love between Hawkeye and Black Widow was pure. The sacrifice could have worked either way. There was also a version of it where Hawkeye did make the jump successfully. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely previously told the New York Times about it. They said:
“McFeely – Jen Underdahl, our visual effects producer, read an outline or draft where Hawkeye goes over. And she goes, ‘Don’t you take this away from her.’ I actually get emotional thinking about it.”
Markus – And it was true, it was him taking the hit for her. It was melodramatic to have him die and not get his family back. And it is only right and proper that she’s done.”
Directed by Joe & Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Vin Diesel as Groot, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, William Hurt as General Ross, Tilda Swinton as Ancient One and Josh Brolin as Thanos.