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Film Frame, ©Marvel Studios 2019
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)

Warning: major “Avengers: Endgame” spoilers ahead.

SALT LAKE CITY — The scene is gutting.

In “Avengers: Endgame,” Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), played by Scarlett Johansson, sacrifices herself so that Hawkeye can retrieve the Soul Stone and help change the timeline of events leading up to Thanos’ snap, which eliminated 50% of all living things.

Watching the scene is heartbreaking, but according to the film’s directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, Natasha’s storyline was almost much sadder.

In an interview with Slate, Anthony Russo revealed how they almost gave Black Widow a significantly more demanding and heartbreaking job at the start of the film. Rather than manning the Avengers’ headquarters and helping clean up the fallout of the snap, she almost watched over orphans.

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“One thing that we talked about a lot — and I thought was really profound, but it was almost too large of an idea for us to wrangle, but we did try for a while,” Anthony Russo said, “is just the idea that one-quarter of all children have no parents, assuming you started with two parents. So that’s a lot of global orphans. Just the staggering number of that.”

Anthony Russo added, “I believe at one point really early in development, Black Widow was actually leading the organization in D.C. that was in charge of orphans, basically. That was what she was heading up five years later.”

Had Natasha’s storyline taken that turn, it could have added more stakes to the already crushing moment she sacrifices herself on Vormir.

Either way, a happy ending appears to have not been in the cards for Natasha in “Avengers: Endgame.”