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Theory: Here's Why Hawkeye May Become Ronin in Avengers 4

Avengers 4 Introduces Ronin

It’s in 2019 that things get particularly interesting for Hawkeye’s wardrobe. Rumors and speculation have long pointed towards Renner’s Clint Barton embracing elements of Ronin, an alter ego of his from Marvel Comics over a decade ago. Recent set photos confirm this to be the case.

In Avengers 4, Hawkeye becomes – or at least suits up – as Ronin. We’re talking black and gold, straight from the comics, to go with that new hairstyle and an arm covered in tattoos. This could also mean Hawkeye, like several of his costumes from the source material, may finally sport a mask as well.

So, what does Ronin’s introduction mean?

Avengers 4 will be drastically different than Avengers: Infinity War, hence the separation of the two movies from what was originally announced as a two-part story. In many ways it still is just that, obviously, but we know in Infinity War the focus is on introducing Thanos as the big bad, and more importantly, justifying him as the ultimate MCU villain. The other focus is on re-introducing virtually every MCU (movie side only, of course) character and putting them all together.

That means Infinity War is about Thanos, his Black Order elite henchmen, and his armies seeking to collect the six Infinity Stones and assembling them into the Infinity Gauntlet. And then using that to win. Thanos must win in some form since that’s the only way this film can end and earn its title and followup. Avengers 4, and perhaps even elements of the movies in between (looking at you Ant-Man and the Wasp where, by the way, Hawkeye was once rumored to appear) will deal with the fallout and making it right. In the comics, when Thanos assembled the stones into the Infinity Gauntlet, he wiped out half the universe before the heroes turned it around and undid the damage.

What we Know About Hawkeye’s MCU Phase 3 Role

Hawkeye in Thor Cameo

In the Avengers: Infinity War footage played at D23 and Comic-Con International this summer, Hawkeye wasn't present. That means his story may follow him on his own (he is a lone wolf, after all) for at least part of the movie, or he may not have that big of a role to play yet. We know his priority is to his family who reside on a secret farm and with S.H.I.E.L.D. still disassembled as far as the films are concerned, his only loyalties are to Steve Rogers and Nick Fury.

From our Avengers: Age of Ultron set visit interview with Renner:

"He’s kind of a loner anyway. And he’s a team player, only 'cause he sort of has to be. He’s not really a company man. You know what I mean? Cap I guess can be that guy. Hawkeye’s on his own court. Again, a lot’ll be revealed with a few simple scenes. You’ll understand why he is and thinks the way he thinks. But, yeah, S.H.I.E.L.D., I don’t think, was ever really that important to him. Fury’s awesome. He likes Fury and will do anything for him, but a company man is just not him. He doesn’t punch in and punch out."

The tease of understanding why he is that way is in reference to his family who played a key role in the first Avengers sequel and we suspect will still have a role to play. When I questioned Renner personally about some of the story beats he and Marvel discussed from the comics many years ago, he held back and explained that we've not seen them yet and that they could still come to fruition. He seemed genuinely excited to delve into some of the Hawkeye lore eventually.

So far, the MCU films have drawn inspiration from the Ultimate Marvel Comics universe for the design and backstory of Hawkeye, and in introducing him as a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative. In Ultimate version of The Avengers (where they're a celebrity team called "The Ultimates") Hawkeye's family is murdered by a traitor, setting him off to becoming lethally violent and unafraid of death. Note: He even later helps Hank Pym locate his missing wife Janet, knowing the feeling of losing one's family - which plays nicely into the rumors he could be in Ant-Man 2 (note: director Peyton Reed shot this rumor down).

Key Release Dates
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
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