As the culmination of the first decade and change of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it does make sense that “Avengers: Endgame” would focus on its retiring heroes. But the weird thing is that it only focuses on two of them — Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who died, and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), who quit. It barely spares a thought for Natasha Romanoff, who’s been a key player in the MCU since “Iron Man 2,” even though she also died during “Endgame.”
If Black Widow hadn’t killed herself on Vormir so that Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) could return to the present with the Soul Stone, then they wouldn’t have been able to save all those people Thanos snapped, and then Tony Stark’s snap to wipe out all of Thanos’s forces wouldn’t have been possible. Her sacrifice mattered just as much as Tony’s did. Indeed, Tony’s sacrifice wouldn’t have been possible at all had Natasha not made her sacrifice first.
But when we get to the end of the movie, we get a big memorial for Iron Man with a huge number of famous heroes showing up to pay their respects, while Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) hang out in the corner having their own private mourning ceremony for Natasha and Vision, who apparently nobody other than them — and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), I guess — cared about.
It would have been a great moment to elevate a character who always operated from the shadows, never getting the acclaim that Tony always received. The one time Black Widow stepped into the spotlight was at the end of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” when a US Senate committee threatened to put her on trial. The people of the MCU finally had a chance to give Natasha the respect she was due, and they just didn’t.
On the commentary track on the home video release of “Avengers: Endgame,” co-director Joe Russo addressed this concern, and blamed next year’s “Black Widow” movie for the lack of a memorial for Natasha.
“People have asked why Natasha didn’t get the same amount of screen time post-death as Tony did,” Joe Russo said. “Well, Tony does not have another movie. Tony is done. And Natasha has another film. And Marvel Universe obviously does not have to move forward linearly anymore. But that character still has more screen time coming.”
So there’s your answer — Natasha Romanoff didn’t get a big memorial in “Endgame” because of the prequel movie coming out next May, whereas Tony Stark is not gonna be in the MCU again for the foreseeable future. Though they didn’t mention Vision specifically, there’s probably a similar reason for the lack of love for him after he died in “Infinity War,” since he’ll be back somehow in the “WandaVision” Disney+ show in 2021.
There is an interesting sentence in that answer, though, that caused a big exclamation point to pop up over my head, though: “And Marvel Universe obviously does not have to move forward linearly anymore.” Since the MCU has done multiple prequel movies that didn’t involve time travel, including the first “Captain America” movie that was the fourth film overall in this franchise, it seems incorrect to say that the MCU ever “had to” move forward linearly.
Source: Phil Owen - The Wrap