Avengers: Infinity War has become the latest milestone achievement for Marvel Studios, and now that the film is deep into its worldwide theatrical run, we're now getting a lot more of the "What Ifs?" that almost did happen, could've happened, or should've happened. And when it comes to that discussion, there's one clear main point of focus: Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye.
Despite extensive teases in the marketing and promotion leading up to Infinity War, Hawkeye never actually appeared in the film. However, there's been continued theory that the Avengers' top shooter may have, at one time, been included in the film. However, in a recent interview with Collider, Infnity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely pretty much kill that theory, for good:
Collider: "Was Hawkeye ever involved in part 1 of Infinity War?"
Stephen McFeely: "No."
Christopher Markus: "...I'm just thinking back to long-ago drafts. I mean, everything has happened in drafts: we'll roll everybody out and road test them. But once we landed on the movie to make--"
McFeely: "We've said this before: the idea that some characters have great stories in the second movie. And we also gave ourselves permission to use both movies to tell complete arcs for the characters. And that might mean that somebody like Cap or Natasha you might feel like, 'Oh, they didn't have as much to do as say Thor or Doctor Strange, and that surprises me.' It's likely because they have a lot to do in the next one."
So, it's been made crystal-clear now, for anyone wondering, that Hawkeye was never going to be in Avengers: Infinity War - but based on the screenwriters' words, he seems poised for quite a big storyline in Avengers 4. As for why Hawkeye was left out, McFeely says that the type of movie they came up with dictated the roster:
McFeely: "Once it became sort of a smash-and-grab type movie, anything that wasn't involved in the main A-plot in response to Thanos collecting stones, mostly got jettisoned."
Early leaks from the Avengers 4 set pointed to Hawkeye taking up his "Ronin" costumed persona from the 2000s comics, and battling the Yakuza in Japan alongside Black Widow. More recent rumors have pointed to these Yakuza gangsters possibly being Skrulls in disguise - a signal of the big changes that occur in the time since Thanos wiped out half the universe. It's also a pretty obvious way for Captain Marvel to be joined with the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes on earth - especially if Avengers 4 starts with her running one of the Marvel agencies dedicated to monitoring and responding to alien threats (S.W.O.R.D.).
Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universemovies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.