Months have passed since the release of Avengers: Endgame to a rapturous welcome from fans and critics alike. The finer points of the movie are still being hotly discussed, and likely will be for several years. One of the biggest questions going forward that fans want an answer to is, Can the Black Widow death be reversed along with everyone else's who came back after the snap?
It is a loaded question, and one that takes direct aim at one of the MCU's perennial problems. No deaths in their movies seem to actually stick. Loki has made a party trick out of pretending to die and then coming back from the dead. Agent Coulson conked out in the first Avengers, only to reappear in Agents of Shield.
Literally half of all living beings in the Marvel universe have died, only to return in the next film. When you play fast and loose with the concept of death for a decade, it becomes difficult to believe that any character's demise is a permanent one. But this time, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo is very firm in consigning Black Widow to the crypt. In the commentary track for the film's digital release, Russo had this to say:
"Red Skull very clearly says, 'It is an everlasting exchange. And 'Everlasting' would imply that it can't be undone."
So it seems that is the final word on the subject. Whatever power the six infinity gems embedded in the infinity gauntlet had to bring people back from the dead, it was not enough to match the power of a single soul gem that had been responsible for killing them. Granted, that power ratio doesn't make any sense, but the director said it, and that makes it cannon.
The inner working of the soul stone has remained largely a mystery for most of the run of the MCU. We are never told exactly what the stone does that makes it so powerful. Or why it was the only gem that required a living sacrifice to pass into someone's possession. Pretty much the only time we got to see the stone in action was when Thanos used it to detect the real Dr. Strange among an army of doppelgangers.
But even though Black Widow appears to be honest-to-goodness, totally-not-coming back-in-any-sequel dead, that's not going to stop Scarlett Johansson from donning the black leotard once again for the long awaited Black Widow solo movie. The movie is set in the past so it doesn't contradict the events of Infinity War or Endgame.
Meanwhile, the soul stone will most probably be making a comeback to the MCU with the arrival of Adam Warlock, a being who in the comics is the owner of the soul stone. Hopefully, that is when we will be able to learn about the mysterious object in greater detail.
With the MCU going universal in the next few years by introducing cosmic beings like Adam Warlock and The Eternals, something tells us that things such as 'movie canon' and 'internal logical consistency' are going to be taking a toss as soon as Marvel goes into frenzied multiversal overdrive. ComicBook.com reported this news first.