The mystery surrounding Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) role in Avengers: Infinity War has practically become a meme at this point–even to Robert Downey Jr. As one of the founding members of the Avengers, you’d think he would be a lock to help in the fight against Thanos (Josh Brolin).
However, he’s not in any of the trailers, hasn’t ended up on a single poster, and for all intents and purposes is absent from the film’s promotional tour. Renner isn’t even scheduled to attend the Infinity War premiere. The absence has struck a chord with fans, many of whom have taken to championing Hawkeye on social media.
According to Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, speaking with io9, the situation is “one of the best things that ever happened to Hawkeye.” After all, Hawkeye went from essentially being the butt of jokes about these movies–in a world of superpowers, he has a bow and arrow–to being an in-demand character. “I love that people go from ‘Oh, Hawkeye is just lucky to be there’ to ‘Oh where is he? He’s not there? What’s going to happen? We need Hawkeye. We want more Hawkeye.’ I love it,” he tells io9. “It’s the best.”
And it’s going to pay off for the character in the end. “We [at Marvel] love Hawkeye,” Feige says. “There are big, big story things coming up for Hawkeye and Jeremy Renner is as strong an actor as anyone in the MCU and awesome as this character.”
As co-director Joe Russo explains, Hawkeye’s story in the next two Avengers movies is a function of how they were written and filmed together. “As we were working on both films, we were thinking about story real estate,” he says. “We had the luxury of cracking both scripts at the same time and we wanted to give each character, especially the original Avengers, their moments. It led us to certain choices, especially considering the events of Civil War where [Hawkeye’s] included in this group of insurgents and has to deal with the ramifications of siding against the U.S. government. So that led us to a very specific story with him that, as I’ve said before is a long play, not a short play. Audiences just need to be patient.”
Patience is a virtue for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans, it seems. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too long before fans get some kind of idea about what happened with Hawkeye–even if it happens in a post-credits scene. Besides, it’s not like he’s alone in missing out on the fun. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is nowhere to be seen either. Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters on April 27.