No one wants to let a strong employee go, but sometimes it has to happen.
The MCU family has grown far and wide, stretching across Hollywood and beyond. Phase 1 OGs lie Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have suited up as their fan-favorite heroes nearly every year since 2010. While exhausting, it's no secret that these actors become very fond of their characters and co-stars.
Unfortunately, these stories require sacrifice, and when characters perish on screen, their respective actors' MCU tenures also come to a close.
Despite a solo flick (set in the past) on the way, Scarlett Johansson knew of her character's present-day demise for quite some time.
Speaking to Empire magazine, Johansson detailed a call she had with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige ahead of shooting Avengers: Infinity War.
"Kevin called me and said, 'Look, obviously we're at a place where there's going to be big sacrifices and big losses'. We had all anticipated that. So it didn't seem out of character.
It kind of made sense to me, I guess, even though I was sad about it. But after I hung up the phone I remember I thought, 'Okay, I guess it's me'.
And it took me a minute to process it. It was bittersweet, but it was not a shock."
WHAT THIS MEANS
While many Marvel fans envy Kevin Feige's role, this is definitely one of the few aspects that isn't much fun.
Breaking the news that a character is planned to perish to tje actor that plays them has got to be one of the most difficult parts of Feige's job. Johansson has portrayed Black Widow since her 2010 debut in Iron Man 2, and has been a staple of the MCU ever since. She has popped up in Captain America flicks and Avengers crossover events. Announcing plans to end her decade-long run as the Russian spy, while storyline appropriate, is a tough phone call to make.
It is easy to look at these comic book films as just movies, but for many actors involved, it becomes their livelihood. News that a character is planned to die is not something long-tenured MCU actresses like Johansson would want to find out by reading a script. They would want to go into table reads knowing what is to come.
Seeing that Infinity War and Endgame were shot back-to-back, it makes sense that Johansson would know of Widow's fate ahead of shooting. It is pretty remarkable that Johansson was able to keep her lips sealed for over two years, knowing her inevitable fate but never telling a soul.
While Natasha Romanoff is gone from the present-day MCU timeline, she will still suit up at least one more time when her first solo outing, Black Widow, hits theatres on November 6, 2020.