Last November we reported on the possibility of The Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner suiting up as the character Hawkeye for Marvel Studios. It was unclear where the character would first show up but rumors dating back to 2008 had the character initially playing a role in Iron Man 2. As we know now, that wasn’t the case at all. If we do get to meet Hawkeye, it would likely be in The Avengers.

Speculation on Renner’s involvement really started to grow when the Oscar-nominated actor went into detail about what the live-action adaptation of Hawkeye would look like and it was clear that the folks at Marvel whom he spoke with were gearing the character towards the Ultimates version. Unfortunately for us fans, Renner shot down the Hawkeye rumors a month later, stating that there was “no truth to [him] doing it.”

Now comes word that our hopes may come true with the rumor that he’s actually signed on for the part!

Harry at AICN has a first-time source who has an “interesting connection” to this and that insider is saying Renner has actually signed on with Marvel for the part. At the moment, there are no other reports validating this yet but if it is true, this is big.

Let’s play with the idea that Renner is in fact, playing Hawkeye. According to what he said last year from his talks with Marvel (he’s friends with The Avengers writer Zak Penn who penned the early drafts), his thoughts were that Hawkeye could have a brief introduction in Thor.

“I met with the Marvel guys, actually, but we didn’t talk about Captain America. But one of the writers, Zak Penn, we’ve become friends over time and he was thinking maybe Hawkeye could be interesting. He sounds like an interesting character.”

“If I was a betting man, I would bet that Hawkeye would probably show up in Thor, and then be in The Avengers… But do I know for sure? I can’t say. But I’d love for that to happen. It’d be fun.”

Thor is just wrapping up production and its star Chris Hemsworth has already completed principal photography for his scenes. That means that if Renner’s Hawkeye were to play a part, it would like be a cameo, perhaps something for fans after the credits.

The more likely scenario however, is that Renner will be a part of the growing roster in The Avengers film and could get a larger role in the S.H.I.E.L.D. movie which we know is coming after The Avengers. That movie would focus on Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury character and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents including Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. If you’re familiar with the Ultimates (the Ultimate universe version of The Avengers where the movies are drawing ideas from), Hawkeye and Black Widow are partners for the organization under Nick Fury.

They’re pretty good at killing aliens, like the Skrulls who are the rumored villains for The Avengers, but that’s another topic for another time.

Continue to page 2 for more on Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye…

The Hawkeye we can expect to see form Marvel Studios is definitely closer to the Ultimates version which we can tell from what Renner was told in his meetings. When he chatted about the character in November with Ed Douglas at SHH, this is what he had to say:

“They sold me on the idea, too, because I love the idea that Hawkeye’s really not a superhero… He’s just a man with a high skill set, so I can relate to (that). The Marvel guys are great for how they made Iron Man to be, ‘Oh, that’s actually plausible’ so I bought it and I love that. They’re really, really smart guys and I’d love to work for ‘em, and we’ll see if it works out.”

“Yeah, but it’s going to be modernized, it’s not going to be the guy with the big purple (mask), it’s not going to be a guy in tights. It’s going to be a guy in sunglasses and a vest. He’s going to be more modernized and I’m gonna say, ‘A cooler-looking version’ and not the big weird costume he had on. I don’t think they’re going that route.”

Marvel is only signing multi-picture deals with their superhero actors so if Renner is on board, he’s here for the long haul and we can expect The Avengers to help launch several other opportunities for the character with sequels, the S.H.I.E.L.D. movie and more.

I really hope this rumor turns out to be true. Renner is talented, likable and he totally fits the bill to play Clint Barton. Make it so, Marvel (and Joss Whedon).

What do you think about the possibility of Jeremy Renner playing Hawkeye?

Follow us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

Iron Man 2 is currently in theaters everywhere; Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012. We’ll find out what comes next at San Diego Comic-Con this summer!

Source: AICN