Back in 2012, Joss Whedon brought together some of Earth’s mightiest heroes in The Avengers, where characters like Iron Man and Captain America finally met, while others like Thor and Hawkeye reunited after a brief encounter in the God of thunder’s solo movie. While the movie is about a team of superheroes, some didn’t get as much screen time or relevance in the story as their teammates – such was the case of Jeremy Renner’s character Hawkeye.
Fans were very vocal about the lack of Hawkeye in the first Avengers movie and it even became a running joke within the fandom. Avengers: Age of Ultron offered a somewhat deeper look into Clint Barton’s life, introducing his wife Laura (played by Linda Cardellini) and their children, but just like fellow avenger Black Widow, his story hasn’t been explored as much as other Avengers. This resonated in Jeremy Renner as well, whose frustration about his character’s storyline was so high that acted out the character's death on set multiple times.
Speaking at London Film and Comic-Con, Renner explained how he channeled his frustration on the set of The Avengers: by faking Clint Baton's death at the end of every scene, hoping Marvel would kill his character off.
“I never really told anybody this but in the first Avengers… I was just getting to know who Hawkeye was, and then zap, I go round like a zombie, I’m like Loki’s minion. And I’m still not even sure who Hawkeye was at that point. So I’m a little frustrated, because I was so excited to figure out who Hawkeye was. I just had a heart attack in every scene – I’d just be walking with… Scarlett Johansson, and just like be ugh [clutching my chest]. And they said, ‘What are you doing man?’ I’m giving you an option, if you just want to kick me out of this movie. Just you know, at any given moment, if you wanna kill me off, daddy’s gonna be having a heart attack.”
As weird a technique as that might be, it paid off; Renner has now had the chance to explore the character a bit more after the second Avengers and recently with Captain America: Civil War, and said he “can’t wait to explore him more,” teasing that there are some “really cool ideas coming up” and also “great deaths! amazing ways to die.”
Hawkeye has gone through some character development from his first appearance in Thor to his latest participation in Civil War. A character that started as part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then spent 90 percent of The Avengers under Loki’s mind control, is now a father and a sort of guardian to Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) – more so after her brother, Quicksilver, sacrificed himself to save Hawkeye in Age of Ultron.
It’s still early to even speculate on what Hawkeye’s role in Infinity War will be, but we can only hope he will have the on-screen time he deserves, a storyline that explores his abilities and traits, and that those “amazing ways to die” are just a joke – unless there are some fans out there who would like to see Clint Barton’s demise.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.