Marvel fans knew that Avengers: Endgame was going to massively shake up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the climactic movie certainly did not disappoint. Even though fans went in with a ton of theories about what could happen, nobody could have predicted Black Widow's shocking arc in the new movies. Now, every Marvel fan is wondering the same thing: Could Black Widow return after the events of Avengers: Endgame? Let's break down the possibilities.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from Avengers: Endgame. Marvel fans have been throwing out convincing predictions and theories about which superheroes might meet their end in Avengers: Endgame, but Black Widow was not one of the names mentioned too often. That is what made her sacrificial death midway through the movie all the more shocking.
In the movie, the Avengers that survived Thanos' snap at the end of Infinity War develop a plan to travel through time using the quantum realm in order to collect the six Infinity Stones before Thanos can. Since they only have a limited amount of Hank Pym's time-traveling Pym particles, the heroes are forced to split up into smaller teams, each tasked with securing a specific Infinity Stone. Most of the heroes have some prior experience with the stone they are sent after, but the duo tasked with the biggest question mark — the Soul Stone — are Black Widow and Hawkeye. All that the old comrades know about the mysterious sixth Infinity Stone is that it is located on a desolate planet called Vormir.
Of course, we the moviegoers know what awaits Black Widow and Hawkeye on Vormir. In Infinity War, Thanos was only able to retrieve the Soul Stone from the planet by killing someone he loves — his daughter Gamora. And sure enough, Black Widow and Hawkeye are forced to make the same decision once they arrive. The two heroes actually wind up fighting over who will throw themselves off the ledge to their death, but in the end, it is Black Widow to makes the sacrifice, allowing Hawkeye to return home with the Soul Stone.
The death may not seem like too big of a deal at first, since Marvel fans did just watch half of the superheroes turn to dust and then be brought back to life, but it soon becomes clear that Black Widow's death cannot be fixed by a jewel-toned snap. Hawkeye informs the rest of the Avengers about Red Skull's warning on Vormir, saying that a death for the Soul Stone is irreversible.
But there actually could still be hope for Black Widow. After all, Gamora was killed for the Soul Stone in Infinity War, but she did come back (in a sense) in Endgame. Hulk was unable to bring the present-timeline Gamora back to life along with the dusted heroes when he snapped the Stark Gauntlet, but because of the time travel, a past-timeline Gamora from the time of Guardians of the Galaxy actually did return to the present for a brief while. Since time travel is now possible within the MCU, there is still a window open for a past Black Widow to return to the present timeline.
That seems kind of unlikely, though, since the Avengers are probably going to be putting their quantum realm suits to the side after Endgame. Plus, messing with past Black Widow could result in a splintered timeline where the Avengers never retrieved the Soul Stone.
It looks like Black Widow is really dead for good now, but this will not be the last we see of her in the MCU. Her standalone movie Black Widow is still in the works, and now it is looking more likely than ever that the movie will be an origin story for the character.