Hawkeye was almost the one to sacrifice his life in Avengers: Endgame. The Russo Brothers even shot a version of the movie where Jeremy Renner's character makes the heroic sacrifice on Vormir. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely revealed the information in a new interview and explained why it ultimately had to be Black Widow's sacrifice that made it into the movie. The scene on Vormir is one of the most shocking elements of Avengers: Endgame and it nearly had a very different outcome.
Hawkeye sat Infinity War out and Marvel Cinematic Universe fans were happy to see him return in Avengers: Endgame. In the movie, Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton are tasked with heading to Vormir to get the Soul Stone in an effort to reverse Thanos' snap. In the end, Natasha decides it will be her sacrifice and throws herself off the cliff. Stephen McFeely had this to say about the story decision.
"We certainly thought long and hard about it. We knew we were killing the first female hero of the Marvel Universe. We stupidly came up with these rules in the first movie-someone's going over that cliff. So, we had to decide. By the way, you had to easily love the person next to you, so we couldn't send Steve Rogers and Hulk. So, it's a puzzle of our own making, but it felt like it was the resolution of her arc, that if she could sacrifice herself for her new family and for half the universe, that was worth it to her."
As for making the decision to not have Hawkeye sacrifice himself, it turns out there were some women on the crew who swayed the decision for Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It was the perfect advice at the perfect time for the writers who agreed immediately and made the call to have Natasha Romanoff sacrifice herself. McFeely explains.
"A number of women on the crew, when we said, 'Hey, we're thinking maybe Hawkeye goes over,' said, 'Don't you do that! Don't rob her of this!' And then it choked me up because I think we would have a much different conversation if Hawkeye had pushed her aside."
Black Widow "jumps on the grenade" in Avengers: Endgame, according to Stephen McFeely. He goes on to say, "I'm really proud of that moment. I don't have any regrets." However, the screenwriter actually does have one pretty big regret. "The only regret is that it comes at the end of Act Two," which meant that Natasha Romanoff didn't get the perfect sendoff funeral like Tony Stark did.
MCU fans were upset that Natasha Romanoff did not get a proper on-screen funeral. With that being said, it would not have been what the character wanted. She would have wanted the crew to continue on with the mission and the same can be said for Tony Stark. Regardless, Avengers: Endgame would have been a completely different movie had Hawkeye sacrificed himself. The interview with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely was originally conducted by Vanity Fair.