Jeremy Renner Nearly Passed on Playing Hawkeye in Marvel's Avengers

The Avengers star Jeremy Renner nearly shot down any chance of playing Clint "Hawkeye" Barton over multiple movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the time known for roles in The Hurt Locker and The Bourne Legacy, Renner first took aim at the MCU when he signed on to cameo as eagle-eyed archer and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Clint Barton in 2011's Thor. Renner told MTV in 2014 he initially signed on for three Avengers movies and a potential Hawkeye solo spinoff, ultimately reprising his Thor role in 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Endgame

Looking back at The Avengers in a career retrospective for Vanity Fair, Renner reveals how a multi-movie contract caused the then-40-year-old actor to reconsider signing up to play a Marvel superhero. 

"I remember going in to talk with [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige and [Marvel Studios co-president] Lou D'Esposito, and they'd show me the Ultimates version of Hawkeye. Iron Man had come out, and I said, 'I'm into what you guys are doing because I loved Iron Man. I like how you made Iron Man plausible,'" Renner told Vanity Fair. "So that's where they wanted to go with [Hawkeye]. I'm like, 'Great!' You gotta kinda sign on for a bunch of Avengers films and potential Hawkeye films, kind of sign your life away. I'm like, 'Wait, I might be 50 in tights.'"

"That was my main concern," Renner said. "I'm like, 'I don't know if I want to do this. I don't know if anyone wants to see me in tights at 50.'" 

A decade later, the now 50-year-old actor suits up a sixth time in Marvel StudiosHawkeye. The six-episode series now streaming on Disney+ is set after Endgame and partners reluctant mentor Clint with young archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). 

Renner has since said he has "no idea" about his Marvel future after retiree Barton passes the torch — and the bow — to the new Hawkeye in the Avengers spinoff series. According to Endgame and Hawkeye executive producer Trinh Tran, "There are always new stories to be told, especially with Clint Barton." 

"There is so much more to explore. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, but it's amazing to work with Jeremy," Tran told CinePOP when asked about Renner's return to the MCU. "He loves his character, he's the only person who really knows who Clint Barton is. I think there are possibilities. We'll see."

New episodes of Marvel's Hawkeye premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.

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