To call Jeremy Renner a "franchise player" would be an understatement; at the time of writing this, the Oscar-nominated actor has no less than three major franchises that he's rotating between. In just summer 2015 alone he's back for his third onscreen appearance as superhero archer Hawkeye in Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he'll round out the season by once again playing agent William Brandt aside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. Meanwhile, many fans are still waiting for Renner to reappear in his third secret agent franchise role: playing rouge sleeper agent Aaron Cross in the Bourne Legacy spinoff series.
We sat down with Jeremy Renner at the NYC junket for Mission Impossible 5, and while we had topics of that film to discuss, talk also turned to his high-profile role as Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including a starring spot in the highly-anticipated threequel Captain America: Civil War in 2016 and beyond that, looking to the future of the MCU after Phase Three and the epic climax of Avengers; Infinity War 1 & 2.
Here's what Renner had to say about Civil War when we talked to him about the varying level of physicality in each of his franchise appearances. Bottom line: Hawkeye won't be just showing up to trade banter with Chris Evans' Captain America, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and Anthony Mackie's Falcon, he'll be in on the action:
Screen Rant: So do we take that there’s something a lot more active [for you] coming in Captain America: Civil War?
Jeremy Renner: Yeah, yeah. It’s more active. A lot of fun stuff happening in that one. I can’t speak too much for it. They’re still filming that sucker right now. But yeah, there’s a lot of stuff happening in that one physically for me anyway. Then who knows in the future? I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Indeed, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a topic that's always being discussed - whether its the storyline and new characters that Marvel plans to unveil, or the more practical, behind-the-scenes issues like budgeting, casting, or the looming question of re-casting. For some time now, we (along with other hardcore fans) have wondered just how long Marvel actors can keep up their enthusiasm, given the repetitive storylines (good guys beat bad guy), grueling physical requirements (that Marvel phsyique tho...), and time-consuming promotional tours.
All road signs so far have pointed to Avengers: Infinity War being the culmination of not just Phase Three, but possibly the entire MCU as we've known it. After the War is done, there's no telling whether or not actors like Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth or Robert Downey Jr. will remain onboard - or if Marvel could use any number of tricks (many of which are seeded in the comic books) to recast Captain America (as Bucky or Falcon), Thor (as a woman) or Iron Man (remote controlled). Of course, the continued profits of the MCU could keep all of these major actors onboard after Phase Three; according to Renner, it's still up in the air:
SR: Speaking of the future, you are in an interesting place, especially in the industry now. There’s a lot of this franchise building going on. You are in kind of in three of them. When you look at the future of this and you see something like Marvel after this next Phase 3 they’ve lined out and Infinity War, do you think that that’s something where actors like yourself can keep going after that, or do you think there needs to be new blood and kind of recycle and bring in new faces?
Jeremy Renner: I think it’s probably both. It’s always great to know that you are going have a job next year or something. That’s a fantastic blessing for any actor. It’s nice to be able to continue things and characters that you’ve kind of grown with. But it’s always great to have new faces come in. They’re not big on replacing people and characters so much, which I think is smart, because there’s so many different characters. I think there’s going to be a lot of new faces coming up in that world. I’m happy just to be a part of that big universe.
Phase Three of the MCU will bring us Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain Marvel (no casting announced yet), The Inhumans (TBD) and a new Spider-Man (Tom Holland); there's no telling what the possibilities for Phase Four are. With new characters like Ant-Man rising to prominence, and those aforementioned recasting possibilities, there's every opportunity for Marvel to present an entire "fresh blood" version of the MCU, while still retaining their respective character brands. Then again, as Renner points out, Marvel isn't big (yet) on replacing major personnel - so only time will tell how they approach this issue.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation will be in theaters on Friday, July 31st.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters; Ant-Man will open on July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Black Panther - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 - May 3, 2019; Inhumans - July 12, 2019.