With so many wonderful and complex characters headed to the big screen by way of Joss Whedon’s coming sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” it’s very difficult to choose just one to be excited about. But a surprising hero topping many people’s curiosity list is Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
The critically acclaimed series of Marvel comics, written by Matt Fraction, has given some comic-book enthusiasts reason to keep their eye on Renner’s character. Although Barton looms large over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the character has shown up in only two of its eight movies thus far (the first “Thor” and “Avengers” movies). He’s captured fan attention on screen each time with his dry wit and utter nonchalance in the face of superheroes and aliens. Now it seems that the character’s third appearance will take all of the wrapping off of Hawkeye in a way that the first films did not.
Fans of “The Avengers” will remember that Barton spent a majority of the film hypnotized by the villain Loki. Although he comes back just in time for the final showdown in New York, Renner has revealed that even he was a little disappointed that he couldn’t dive deeper into the character.
“At the end of the day, 90 percent of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play,” Renner told HeroComplex. “I’m literally in there for two minutes, and then all of a sudden. … All I could really work on was the physical part of it all, because that didn’t change. That was just the biggest challenge to overcome in playing the guy.”
Luckily for the 44-year-old actor, it looks like he’ll get his wish to explore the character a bit more in the sequel as writer-director Whedon told the crowd at Comic-Con in 2013 that he’s interested to see what he can do with the largely untouched hero.
“Part of the fun for me, definitely this time around, is writing Hawkeye,” Whedon told the crowd (via ScreenRant). “He did get possessed pretty early by a bad guy and had to walk around all scowly for most of the movie, so now it’s nice to actually have the character there and see him with the other guys.”
Even the trailers for Marvel’s coming superhero-packed adventure are focusing the spotlight on Renner’s character, giving him a surprising amount of screen time for someone who has been a largely inconsequential character previously. He’s even received two new hero outfits this time around. This has led many to believe that Hawkeye might be killed off as a stakes-raising device in the movie, but Renner put those rumors to rest months ago speaking to Larry King, when he stated (in what could very well be a Hollywood lie) that his character doesn’t die in “Age of Ultron.”
In fact, the actor recently revealed that he’s fully expecting to be in “Captain America: The Civil War” in 2016. It would make sense for Marvel to keep as many characters around as possible since the comic-book version of “The Civil War” requires a lot of heroes battling it out over the Superhero Registration Act.
As of now, it’s unclear exactly whom the character would side with. Previously Hawkeye’s been an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. but hasn’t been heard from since the organization was torn down in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has explored what’s left of the organization and Hawkeye isn’t there, so who is giving the archer his marching orders now?
“There are rumblings of 'Captain America 3.' I don’t know what’s going to happen there,” Renner told Collider in August, before the “Civil War” announcement. “I’ve got to find the time, man. I’m trying to stay home and I can’t.”
Although Renner is strapped for time, his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may extend to the small screen as well. As CinemaBlend points out, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” will need to tie into Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recently, “S.H.I.E.L.D.” star Clark Gregg posted a really cool photo to his Facebook page showing a comic panel in which his character and Hawkeye are in an intense standoff. Many believe this is Gregg’s way of teasing the hero, whose name was dropped on the show in Season 2, coming to the TV world of Marvel. After all, Renner has proven that he’s not above making TV guest star appearances. In the previous season of FX’s “Louie,” he had a very profound, yet underrated, guest appearance.
Fans will simply have to wait for the premiere of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 15 to get any real idea about the future of Clint Barton in the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Until then, they can see him in the film’s trailer below.