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Endgame Fans Are Ticked Over This Behind-The-Scenes Photo

There are hard-to-please fans, and then there are fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A photo posted to Marvel Studios' Instagram and Twitter accounts featuring most of the MCU's female characters on the set of Avengers: Endgame has stoked the ire of said fans not for who it includes, but for who it doesn't — Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie. 

Along with a few key crew members, the black-and-white photo features the vast majority of the MCU's women posing and smiling for the camera, including Danai Gurira (Okoye), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Evangeline Lilly (the Wasp), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), and Karen Gillan (Nebula) — but there is nary a Russian superspy or Asgardian warrior to be found in the shot.

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💪 #AvengersEndgame

A post shared by Marvel Studios (@marvelstudios) on May 17, 2019 at 2:56pm PDT

There is, of course, a good reason for this. Due to scheduling conflicts, Thompson's Valkyrie had to be digitally inserted into her scenes during Endgame's climactic battle — meaning that she wasn't excluded, simply unavailable. As for Black Widow... well, Marvel fans, we can't quite believe that we have to explain why Johansson wasn't around when this pic was taken, but here we are.

You will recall that during the Avengers' time heist to recover the Infinity Stones at points in time before Thanos had gotten his big, purple mitts on them, Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) were dispatched to Vormir in 2014 to grab the Soul Stone. Of course, once they arrived, they found themselves faced with the same dilemma which the stone's guardian, the Red Skull, had posed to Thanos in Infinity War: in order to possess the stone, one must lose that which they love.

It didn't take long for either Avenger to wrap their heads around what had to happen, and the two old friends wound up fighting each other, each bent on being the one to go over the cliff so that the other could complete the mission and deliver the Soul Stone back to the present day. In the end, it was the Black Widow who ended up making the ultimate sacrifice, plunging to her death on Vormir's rocky shores and leaving Hawkeye in possession of the stone, and none too happy about it.

This being the case, there was — stay with us here — no earthly reason for Johansson to be on set the day that this photo was taken. As you can plainly see, the cast and crew were in the midst of shooting that big final battle, at which point Johansson's contribution to the film was complete. Sure, we suppose that somebody could have given her a ring and invited her to come on back down to the set to pose for this lovely shot with her castmates, but we're talking about a world-famous A-list actress who just might have had another professional engagement that day.

Of course, this didn't keep fans on social media from completely losing their minds over the totally understandable exclusions, especially considering that it's been widely speculated that the all-female team-up scene in Endgame was meant to tease the imminent arrival of the A-Force, a team of superpowered women introduced in the pages of Marvel comics in 2016. One fan even promised an uprising if Black Widow were to be excluded from such a project, completely disregarding the fact that the character is, you know, dead, and that her forthcoming solo film is known to be a prequel.

Others were slightly less inclined to threaten civil discord, with one noting that she was sure Valkyrie was just tending to her "ride."

Of course, for every fan ready to burn down the internet over their favorite lady Avengers being missing from the shot, there was at least one more jumping in to helpfully point out that neither of them were on set that day, and that this — rather than some nefarious, anti-Johansson-and-Thompson-photo-excluding-conspiracy — was the likely reason for their absence. But apparently, there simply aren't enough things in the world for some people to get worked up over, which is the only reason we can think of for there to be any controversy of any type whatsoever over this perfectly charming photo. 

For its part, Marvel Studios has not commented on the kerfuffle, because of course it hasn't. Look, we're hoping for an A-Force movie just as hard as everyone else, but we can't help but feel like there is a certain contingent of fans who will declare such a project an absolute failure if it dares to not completely satisfy every single member of its intended audience, something that... well, is impossible for literally any film to accomplish. Fortunately, Marvel takes its marching orders not from reactionaries on social media, but from Kevin Feige, who has yet to steer the studio wrong. Mr. Feige, if you're reading this, please keep doing exactly what you're doing, forever, if possible. And as for all of you guys and gals freaking out over the minutiae of the most awesome, wildly ambitious film franchise the world has ever seen... please, stop doing what you're doing. Forever, if possible.