Dropping Black Widow from The Avengers in favor of Wasp would’ve eliminated one confusing plot hole in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) joined the MCU in 2010’s Iron Man 2, pretending to be Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) assistant before revealing she was a SHIELD operative tasked with keeping an eye on the ailing genius, billionaire, philanthropist. She became one of the Avengers and, along with fellow non-superhuman Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), would keep the group of gods and superheroes more grounded. She saved the world several times and was even key to saving the universe in Avengers: Endgame, ultimately giving her life to reverse Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) deadly finger snap.
Marvel’s new history book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe, reveals how the MCU could’ve been very different. Authors Tara Bennett and Paul Terry got unfiltered access to Marvel’s stars and creators, learning previously untold behind-the-scenes stories. For instance, Robert Downey Jr. could’ve played Doctor Doom in a previous Fantastic Four movie, perhaps killing his career revival. Additionally, a Zooey Deschanel version of The Wasp almost replaced Black Widow in Avengers due to Johansson’s scheduling conflicts.
By dropping Black Widow from Avengers for Wasp, the MCU could’ve done away with one plot hole. Throughout Avengers, Marvel shows that Black Widow and Hawkeye have a shared history together, but one line is more confusing than illuminating. During the Battle of New York, Hawkeye saves some citizens from a bus before joining Romanoff in fighting off Chitauri aliens. The moment causes Romanoff to quip, “Just like Budapest all over again.” Hawkeye replies, “You and I remember Budapest very differently,” and it seems the MCU remembers Budapest differently as well.
Budapest has been a problem in the MCU since Avengers. In the 2012 film, the line intends to show Hawkeye and Black Widow have gone on previous missions together; however, it became a lingering mystery from the movie. Marvel’s Black Widow finally revealed what happened in Budapest, showing Romanoff’s Avengers line referred to a time she and Hawkeye tried to take down Dreykov (Ray Winstone), the leader of the Red Room. However, since that moment had nothing to do with fighting off an alien attack or saving distressed citizens, the Avengers line is just more confusing. And since that scene also involved Romanoff thinking she helped kill an innocent child, the line becomes an even more problematic Black Widow plot hole.
With Wasp, such a line wouldn’t have been necessary. Wasp is one of the founding members of the Avengers in the Marvel comics, so she comes fully equipped with her own backstories, powers, and abilities. If she were in The Avengers, a line about Budapest, especially one supposedly referring to taking down the Red Room, likely wouldn’t come up. Like Black Widow, Wasp has had a relationship with Hawkeye in Marvel’s comics, so the pair could’ve still had a history together. It’d perhaps just be a little less confusing.