“In order to take the stone, you must lose that which you love. A soul for a soul…”
That’s the mandate set by Red Skull during the throes of Infinity War, when the ghost of MCU past informs Thanos that he must sacrifice that which he loves in order to acquire the precious Soul Stone and its near-limitless power. And so, Gamora is sent plunging to her death, never to be seen again… until Avengers: Endgame opens up the Quantum Realm and essentially facilitates time travel and all sorts of mind-melting possibilities. Case in point: the blistering first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Back in the realm of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, though, and co-director Joe Russo recently clarified that the Soul Stone sacrifice is irreversible, meaning Black Widow and present-day Gamora are really gone forever.
Joe Russo clarified the soul stone’s rules during #Endgame’s China press tour — ‘The process is irreversible … The tribute soul for the soul stone will forever be sealed in that place, therefore Black Widow is gone forever’
— Fandom (@getFANDOM) May 6, 2019
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They may be ‘gone forever’ but they’re not necessarily gone forever. For one, Scarlett Johansson has agreed to star in and produce a Black Widow prequel movie, which will presumably be set in and around the same timeframe as Captain Marvel. Gamora, on the other hand, will almost certainly feature in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and it could well be that James Gunn is cooking up a plot that sees our space-faring A-holes attempting to rescue the Gamora of 2014, who was dragged into Endgame‘s timeline (i.e. the year 2023) in order to confront Thanos and his goons.
It’s all very confusing, but on paper, it leaves the door open for Gamora’s second coming – just in time to see the formation of the Asgardians of the Galaxy. Black Widow, on the other hand, looks set to carve out her own place on the ever-evolving MCU timeline in two years’ time.