Note: This post contains SPOILERS for Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as major speculation about and potential spoilers for next year's Avengers sequel, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Read at your own risk.
Nearly two years have passed since Clint “Hawkeye” Barton and Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff stole scenes and hearts in The Avengers, the end of which saw the pair of SHIELD agents/assassins driving off
into the sunset together for parts unknown. Ever since then, many fans—myself included—have been dying to know if there actually is more than friendship between them (I made my case back in 2012 for why I believe they're TOTALLY in love) and how their relationship will be depicted in future films.
Based on new evidence gathered from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (in which Natasha had a part but Clint was mysteriously absent), interviews with the directors and cast about that movie, and a blind item posted by an entertainment blogger, I am inclined to think that not only is there more than friendship between them but we'll get to see at least hints of their romance on screen in Avengers 2. Basically, fellow Clint/Natasha fans, I do believe our ship is about to set sail.
Here's everything I know so far. Let's get to speculatin'. (And to be absolutely clear: This is JUST speculation based on rumors extrapolated from interviews and such, NOT actual knowledge of future films. Your guess about what will happen is as good as mine.)
Exhibit A: You may have noticed that in several scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha is wearing an arrow necklace. Now, people have been sure for months now, since spying the necklace in some set photos from the movie, that this was somehow related to Hawkeye. I wasn't so sure—I mean, would Natasha wear her heart on her sleeve, or rather neck, like that?—but it sounds like those fans were exactly right. Scarlett Johansson, in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, confirms that Natasha's choice of jewelry is, in fact, in honor of Hawkeye.
Interviewer: Now I noticed in one of these close close shots that you had on a little arrow necklace.
Interviewer: Now my brain tied that to Hawkeye.
Johansson: Um, you know, I think that may have been my little nod to Mr. Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye. I guess you could interpret it in different ways, but we thought it would be nice to have something that was a little bit personal for the Widow. You know, you kind of forget—I think because she's so, she's such a badass—you kind of forget she's still a woman and that she has her interpersonal relationships and life outside of work.
Intriguing, am I right? You don't wear a token like that for just anyone! For someone who says that “love is for children” and that she just owes Hawkeye a debt for sparing her life and bringing her in to SHIELD...well, this little symbol around her neck sure seems to say love to me.
Exhibit B: Before Cap 2 was released, a lot of people wondered if, especially since learning Hawkeye wasn't going to be in the movie, Steve and Natasha would become a couple (they have a history in the comics, as does Natasha/Clint and Natasha/Bucky). But we know now their relationship remained platonic throughout. Joe and Anthony Russo had this to say about why Steve and Natasha didn't get together in Captain America 2 on the EmpireMagazine podcast #105 (~19 minute mark):
“We definitely spent a lot of time thinking about what the possibilities were in the relationship between Cap and Black Widow and we went through months and months of sort of playing with different ideas. But at the end of the day, it just sort of seemed like this is—where it is in the movie is where we were kind of all led—us and Marcus McFeely and the producers. It just felt like the right...right way those two would sort of be able to connect to one another. ...
“What if these two are smart enough to know it would never work between the two of them? So it really sort of plays more into a work-wife/work-husband relationship.”
The directors were a bit more closed-mouthed when it came to Natasha's relationship with Clint, however. When asked about Natasha's arrow necklace (~28 minute mark), they said:
“Honestly, it was a choice that Scarlett made as a character, um, and I think it will become clear—her relationship with Hawkeye will become very clear, I think, in Avengers 2.”
Oh, REALLY. Hmm! Don't know about you guys, but this comment has me pretty convinced that Scarlett Johansson had a very good reason for wanting to plant some Hawkeye-related seeds in the audience's mind. After all, she knows where her character's story is headed in Avengers 2.
Exhibit C: Finally, we come to a blind item that, if true, means that Black Widow is definitely dating SOMEONE in the next Avengers film. You should take this with a grain of salt, however—while this blogger has broken some big Marvel news, not all of his predictions have come true (at least so far). (Also, let's ignore the part about Scarlett Johansson's pregnancy because that's not any of our business and by all accounts will have no impact on Black Widow's story.)
I wonder how AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will handle BLACK WIDOW being pregnant since in the script she is dating ************ :)— elmayimbe (@elmayimbe) March 4, 2014
Now, that's 12 stars. What could they stand for? Could it be—could it possibly be C*L*I*N*T*_*B*A*R*T*O*N*? If so, that's our biggest confirmation thus far that Black Widow and Hawkeye will be romantically linked in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Convinced yet? Or do you have a different interpretation?
Plus... Have more tidbits to share? Wanna theorize about what their relationship will mean for the movie? Will it be a part of the plot or just a nice little aside for fans? And how long have they been a couple? Were they one even before the first Avengers movie? I'd love to see your thoughts in the comments!
Budapest gif via het-reccers.dreamwidth.org
Clint/Natasha hug pic via Ironic Snowflake on Tumblr
ETA 3/4/15: The latest Avengers 2 trailers seem to be hinting at not Clint/Natasha but rather a Natasha/Bruce romance. Is this just misdirection, or was I TOTALLY off-base in assuming Hawkeye/Widow would be an item? Only time will tell. Personally, I'm hoping Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican is right that she's just being protective of him, but that moment in the farmhouse with her in a robe does seem pretty intimate... Aaaahhh, can't the movie just come out already?!
Heather Waters is the site manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers and a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_.