The latest episode of Marvel’s What If..? animated series on Disney Plus puts a twist on Natasha Romanoff’s death scene from Avengers: Endgame in a storyline that asks, “what if Ultron won?”
Be warned, spoilers for this week’s episode follow.
In the new episode, which made its debut this morning on Disney’s streaming service this morning, Clif Barton’s Hawkeye and Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow are the only survivors of an Ultron-triggered apocalypse. This time around, the diabolical automaton manages to defeat the Avengers, and it’s up to Romanoff and Barton to set things right.
In the mainline Marvel Cinematic Universe, Romanoff originally chooses to sacrifice herself during a time heist in order to allow the Avengers to obtain the Soul Stone before Thanos has a chance to get his hands on it, thereby eliminating half of all life in the universe.
But in the latest episode of What If..?, it’s Barton who chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save Romanoff. The alternate scene is a clear callback to Romanoff’s tragic death from Endgame, as The Direct points out, and recreates many of the same shots in reverse. This includes Barton telling Romanoff he “doesn’t want to fight anymore,” which makes sense given Ultron murdered Hawkeye’s entire family.
What If..? premiered on Disney Plus on Aug. 11 and has followed several alternate universe possibilities for the MCU, from one where Peggy Carter gets the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, to another in which King T’Challa becomes Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill.
The fan and critical reception to the series have been mixed, with some episodes hitting more than others. But What If…? has provided the MCU with a great opportunity to explore alternate possibilities for familiar characters. New episodes debut every Wednesday at 2pm CT.