Avengers: Infinity War may be a major success for Marvel Studios, but fans will always remember the one big stain on the film: there was no Hawkeye! Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton / Hawkeye was left out of Infinity War's story, due to the explanation that his house arrest following the events of Captain America: Civil War kept him out of battle against Thanos and The Black Order.
We finally caught up with Hawkeye in that most tragic opening sequence of Avengers: Endgame, when his family got Snapped out of existence. However Infinity War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely reveal why the decision was made to keep Hawkeye on the sidelines for that first film.
Speaking on the commentary track for the Avengers: Endgame digital release, here's what Markus and McFeely had to say about Hawkeye's absence from Infinity War, when speaking with director Joe Russo:
Joe: "Now, this scene was supposed to be in Avengers: Infinity War, after Thanos snapped his fingers. We thought it might be interesting to cut to a verite scene between Hawkeye and his family.
I believe we tried it one cut of the film, and looked at it and said 'Oh, that's never gonna work. It's too disorienting.'"
McFeely: "It was busy."
McFeely: "In that movie, not to do a commentary for a different movie, but in that movie that ends with people disappearing on a planet in space, and they're in Wakanda... if you added a third place..."
Anthony: "Right, we're already cutting between a lot of people at that point in the film."
Markus: "But it also works so well to restate the finality of what happened in Infinity War when you put it at the beginning of Endgame."
Joe: "I think so. It brings you back emotionally very quickly. There's a year between these films, and this movie helps to reset, and re-remind the audience of what happened in that movie and how you felt at the end of that film."
Anthony: "But through a brand new perspective."
Markus: "We didn't see Clint at all in Infinity War. Here we have him and he is hit hard."
Joe: "We're not pulling any punches at the opening of the film. This is basically like a scene from a horror film that opens the movie."
McFeely: "And also sort of draws people in. I mean presumably everyone who goes to this movie, by and large, saw the previous movie. So this is one of those instances where the entire audience is ahead of the character and filled with dread."
Anthony: "Which is an unusual move. Usually we never let the audience be ahead of the character."
McFeely: "No, this is playing for suspense and not for surprise."
This has been (more or less) the continuous answer for Hawkeye's absence from Infinity War and reappearance in Endgame since the latter film was released, and it certainly makes sense. Once the decision was made for Hawkeye's Civil War fallout to be house arrest, keeping out of Infinity War's action, it would've been extremely jarring for fans to just see him pop up in one scene during the dusting sequence. As the directors and writers point out, Hawkeye's opening scene in Endgame certainly reminds fans of the desperation and pain that the MCU heroes felt, at the end of Infinity War. It was certainly an effective choice: you could hear pins drop in the theater during that harrowing scene of Hawkeye's loss.
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.
Buy or Pre-order Avengers: Endgame:
- Buy it digitally on Amazon, Fandango Now, and Vudu (7/30)
- Pre-order on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray at Walmart (8/13)
- Pre-order the Steelbook version at Best Buy (8/13)