Though they can significantly influence the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, the six infinity stones are relatively easy to wrap one’s head around with regards to their capabilities and powers. However, the soul stone is arguably the trickiest one to understand considering how it can be obtained and what happens if it’s returned to the place from which it was acquired.
Fortunately for those of us who were puzzled by every event surrounding the soul stone in the Avengers: Endgame, the movie’s screenwriters Stephen Mcfeely and Christopher Markus have come forward to explain what actually happened.
A little recap of the Soul stone-related events in Avengers: Endgame. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) took a trip to Vormir; Hawkeye acquired the stone after Nat threw herself off the planet’s massive cliff, and then Captain America(Chris Evans) journeyed back in time to return the stone to the same spot it was before Nat sacrificed herself.
As Marvel fans know, to obtain the Soul stone, one must have to sacrifice that which he loves (a soul for a soul). That established, one begins to wonder, how did Cap successfully return the stone? And more importantly, would putting the soul stone back revive the person who died for it?
Mcfeely and Markus explained during a recent episode of CinemaBlend’s HeroBlend podcast that Captain America had no trouble returning the stone – but sadly, the soul-for-a-soul transaction between The Avengers and the Stone Keeper, Red skull (Ross Marquand) wasn’t reversed at that moment.
“I think it’s an everlasting exchange,” Mcfeely said when asked how someone can successfully return the Soul stone and what happens after they do. Markus also likened it to “a slot” in which one inserts a soul so that the Soul stone can pop out. “It’s like an old-time bank. It’s a pneumatic tube.” Mcfeely added.
Unfortunately, this implies that just because the Soul Stone can be returned doesn’t mean sacrifice made to get it can be undone. It’s a permanent exchange, and the souls that were placed inside the “slot” can never be retrieved. As Markus explained it “you place it back, but you don’t get anything in return. it’s not like a pawn shop.”
Fans had been clinging to the hope that once Captain America is able to return the stone to Vormir, then Black widow could be resurrected. But according to Mcfeely and Markus, there’s no way that’s ever going to happen, as it is simply not the way the Soul Stone works. Sure the duo made use of some playful languages in explaining the Whole Soul Stone mechanics.
Likening the Keeper of the Soul Stone to a pawnbroker, and the whole transaction to an old-school bank where customers were required to put their cash in a little tube and send it shooting straight into the building, but the message would still be the same even if Mcfeely and Markus gave it to us straight. One can’t just say they don’t want the Soul Stone anymore and return it to get back the soul they gave up to get it.
The trade is everlasting, and there are no refunds. Therefore, based on Mcfeely and Markus’ statement, Cap returning the Soul Stone only repaired the timeline – it didn’t undo our dear Black Widow’s death.
This has enormous consequences on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Marvel studios are already working on a Black Widow solo movie. Now that Mcfeely and Markus have made it clear that Black Widow is never coming back from the dead, we can safely surmise that the only timeline in which the hero’s forthcoming standalone take place is in the past.
Marvel has kept quiet about the movie as well as about any works that are coming after Spider-Man: far from home this July. But there has been quite some speculations about when Black Widow is set. Previous findings had suggested that the movie will be a period piece, set partially in Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff’s younger years when she worked with the KGB and the fast forward to 15 years after the fall of the KGB.
If we are to believe Mcfeely and Markus without a shadow of a doubt, if there is indeed no way to resurrect Nat, then there is no other period that Black Widow screenwriter Jac Shaeffer can place the movie other than years before the events of Avengers: Endgame.
It was a painful experience losing Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame, and though we may never get to see her in the present timeline with the Avengers who lived through the endgame. The silver lining of it all is that the hero will at least be appearing one more time on the big screen for her fans to say goodbye forever.