It sounds like one Avenger might not be down for the count once Avengers: Infinity War rolls around.
During a recent press conference for Infinity War (via CNA Lifestyle), co-director Joe Russo addressed the almost-deliberate absence of Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) throughout the film's marketing and promotional material.
“It’s crazy." Russo joked. "There are so many characters that we’re dealing with, that we were literally halfway through shooting and I think [Robert Downey Jr] said 'Where’s Renner?!' And we went 'Oh my god!'"
Russo's sentiment - even as a joke - is sure to make some laugh, considering the sort of fan outcry around the lack of Hawkeye. In recent months, fans have started petitions, made over subreddits, created plenty of fanart, and even gotten a tattoo to celebrate the archer. And judging by Russo's later comments, those fans will hopefully be satisfied over the next two Avengers films.
"Listen, we did not forget the twice-nominated Jeremy Renner from Infinity War." Russo reassured. "We have two movies that we’re working with, Avengers 3 and Avengers 4. That’s a lot of story real estate. I think last week we released 22 character posters. There’s only so many people that you can put in one film. And we have a really interesting story cooked up for Hawkeye. But I would say that patience is a virtue, and it’s a long play, not a short play.”
The Russo brothers have said similar comments in the past, but it hasn't stopped fans from theorizing about what Hawkeye's role could be. Some have wondered if Hawkeye could be the one to uncover the long-lost Soul Stone, while others have assumed that he could take on another comic book persona. But it sounds like either way, Hawkeye's "long play" storyline could be shaped by the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War.
"Hawkeye coming out of Civil War is in the same position that the Cap and Falcon are in at the end of that movie," Joe Russo explained during a set visit last year. "And Ant Man. And coming into this movie, the characters who are on Cap's side coming out of Civil War, some made certain decisions and others made other decisions that led to different paths and them dealing with oversight in this movie in a different way. So, Hawkeye's on his own journey in this movie."
All will be revealed - including Hawkeye's role - when Avengers: Infinity War lands in theaters on April 27th.