Scarlett Johansson

Hawkeye Is the MCU’s Best Tribute to Natasha Romanoff

Scarlett Johansson first appeared in the role of Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, in Iron Man 2 in 2010. Black Widow then went on to become the first female hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in the Avengers and Captain America movies from 2012 until 2o19, when she eventually sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame so Hawkeye and the rest of the team could retrieve the Soul Stone and finally defeat Thanos. After years of fighting alongside Earth’s mightiest heroes, Marvel’s decision to kill her off before she even got her own movie and their decision to show a huge funeral for Tony Stark and nothing for Natasha came across as rather unceremonious and upset a lot of fans.

When Black Widow finally did premiere in 2021, Natasha’s death still seemed to be downplayed in comparison to the deaths of other male characters in the MCU. In Black Widow’s post-credits scene, Natasha’s sister Yelena Belova can be seen mourning at a gravestone in Ohio, which was primarily included to set up Yelena’s involvement in Hawkeye. The lack of a proper emotional ending in Black Widow was especially disappointing, as the film didn’t give Natasha a proper mourning scene after her death had already been swept to the sidelines in Endgame. This ending is also rather pitiful in comparison to Spider-Man: Far From Home, which essentially served as a two-hour wake for Tony Stark’s death, and the memorial for Steve Rogers, who may not even be dead in the current MCU canon, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a series which effectively elevated him to sainthood.

An alternate ending for Black Widow shows Natasha riding through her hometown in Ohio and meeting a young Black Widow fan. This alternate ending shows Natasha with her blonde bob, indicating that this scene canonically happens before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and her playfulness and smile when she interacts with the young girl in Ohio shows that she has found closure from her traumatic childhood. This ending was replaced with the less emotional one that can be seen at the end of Black Widow, which feels abrupt and less respectful of the character’s death.

In a surprising twist, Disney+’s Hawkeye series has become the most respectful tribute to Natasha Romanoff’s death and her impact on the other characters in the MCU. This can be seen from the first episode when Clint and his children are watching Rogers: The Musical. Clint becomes overwhelmed with sadness when he sees the actress playing Black Widow and has to excuse himself. His son Nate is also named after Natasha, and his children were so close with her that she was practically a part of their family and they saw her as their aunt.

This week’s Hawkeye episode, “Ronin,” reveals that Yelena disappeared during the Blip in Infinity War and Endgame. When she returns, she asks where Natasha is, unaware of the sacrifice that she made so that Thanos could be defeated. Yelena is hired to assassinate Clint Barton, with the anger and hurt of her sister’s death fuelling her determination to take him out. Yelena believes that Clint killed Natasha, and it is later revealed that Kate Bishop’s mother hired her to go after Hawkeye. By doing this, Eleanor Bishop seems to recognize the weight of Natasha’s loss and intends to use it to separate Clint and her daughter.

Natasha Romanoff’s death has been mostly disregarded until now. By giving Hawkeye his own series, Marvel has allowed fans to see how her death affected those closest to her. Yelena’s involvement in the events of Hawkeye will also create more opportunities for the characters to explore how Natasha’s death changed them and give them the chance to mourn her properly. Although Endgame and Black Widow were rather dismissive of her death and greatly upset fans, Hawkeye appears to be Marvel’s way of giving Natasha a proper send-off through the two MCU characters that were closest to her.

To see Natasha get the tribute she deserves, new episodes of Hawkeye air Wednesdays on Disney+. KEEP READING: A Hawkeye Guide: News, Easter Eggs, Reviews, Theories and Rumors Moon Knight’s Most Fascinating Concept Opens the Door for the MCU’s [SPOILER] Averie Watson (59 Articles Published)

Averie Watson is a writer from Edinburgh, Scotland. They have worked as an editor for anthologies from Stryvling Press and Ta Voix, and have also had their writing published in anthologies from Black Hare Press, Journal of Erato and Scrap Lines. Averie grew up reading DC and Marvel comics from the 60s and watching every new superhero movie that came out in cinemas, as well as following other comics, movies and TV shows, like Scott Pilgrim, Star Wars and Steven Universe. Averie loves sci-fi and horror, and spends way too much time reading Junji Ito mangas and watching A24 movies with their cat. You can follow Averie on Twitter at

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