Mirrored from esquire
Now obviously we are aware that Avengers: Infinity War is going to feature a squillion superheroes (oh okay, at least 67 according to directors the Russo brothers, and here’s who they all are).
And we know the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer is only 2 mins and 24 seconds long, and they therefore aren’t going to be able to show every single one of the returning characters.
We totally get that.
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) isn’t in the trailer (unless he is, but tiny), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) isn’t in the trailer, and nor is The Collector (Benecio Del Toro). But the absence of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is a bit more significant and could well indicate what the character’s arc might be in Infinity War and beyond.
We last saw Hawkeye aka Clint Barton in Captain America: Civil War. After retiring to spend some time with his family at the end of Age of Ultron, he re-emerged to save Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and then sided with Cap (Chris Evans) over the Sokovia Accords, getting himself locked away in prison The Raft by #team Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). At the end of the movie Cap breaks him and the rest of his allies (Wanda, Ant-Man and The Falcon) out and they go on the run.
You would imagine, then, that with Thanos’s arrival and a massive call to arms for Avengers old and new, Hawkeye would want to join the fray.
His most likely gang would be Cap, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon, as well as his old friend Black Widow (who might have played the sides in Civil War but whom he’d still feel allegiance to).
But there’s no sign of Hawkeye in the scene above, which seems to show War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Cap, Bucky, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) charging into battle with the Wakandan army.
Wanda isn’t in this scene, true, but we see that she’s spending some quality time with Vision (Paul Bettany). These guys look like they’d appreciate some privacy, and don’t need a third-wheel Hawkeye hanging about.
Could he have defected and joined up with Iron Man and his gang? Well possibly, but it looks more like Stark is hanging out with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong), as well as Bruce Banner. It looks like they head to Wakanda together later, too, as we see Stark in the Hulkbuster costume – but still no sign of Hawkeye.
He’s almost certainly not with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who we last saw in space after Thor: Ragnarok and who looks, from the final coda at the end of the trailer, to be hooking up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
No, we reckon Hawkeye isn’t part of any of these gangs. We think the fact that he’s not in the trailer is because he’s going to be taking on the mantle of ‘Ronin’ in Avengers: Infinity War, ahead of Avengers 4.
Leaked set photos from Avengers 4showing a glimpse of the Ronin leg armour back up the theory that he’ll be making this transition to take on the identity of the ‘masterless Samurai’ and lone warrior from the comics, but there’s been no indication yet this would happen in Infinity War.
In the comics, he’s the second character to take this name and it happens when he rejoins the new Avengers after the fall-out from Civil War – which would make sense in the timeline of the movies.
If he is going to become Ronin in Infinity War, that might be another reason he doesn’t make the trailer: a reveal of him in costume could be more of a spoiler than Marvel wants to give out at this stage.
In the comics, Clint Barton does become Hawkeye again later, but given the Russos’ insistence that Avengers 4 will very much mark the end of an era, we think it’s entirely plausible that turning lone wolf will be the final part of Barton’s arc.
Of course, it’s possible he’s not in the trailer because he’s just not in the movie very much. Because, well, he’s not that interesting…