Note: This post, which has been updated, is best read while listening to Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”
Marvel touts the greatness of its upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War” like a teenager bragging about their birthday party. All the most popular kids in the MCU have RSVP’d to what the studio refers to as “the most ambitious crossover event in history,” with the film’s official poster billing 19 actors up top and featuring images of 24. The dramatic final trailer, released last month, includes more characters than you can count on your fingers and toes.
Hawkeye’s invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.
Jeremy Renner’s character, known in the regular world as Clint Barton, is glaringly absent from the poster and trailer despite having been a part of the Avengers since appearing uncredited in 2011’s “Thor” and then in the first “Avengers” film in 2012. This unleashed a number of delightful tweets, several poking fun at Hawkeye’s history of being sidelined. But you know who isn’t laughing? Renner’s weirdly passionate fan base. (Yes, it exists.)
In an interview with i09, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige referred to the hubbub as “one of the best things that ever happened to Hawkeye.”
“There are a lot of ‘Guy with bow and arrow jokes.’ He even makes ‘Guy with a bow and arrow’ jokes in some of the movies,” Feige said. “So 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.’”
In addition to expressing their fiery rage on Tumblr, Hawkeye fans created a Change.org petition on April 1 calling for him to appear in future promotional materials for “Infinity War,” which comes out April 27. Though a bit tongue-in-cheek, the petition seems to be an authentic endeavor and not an April Fools’ joke. Below an illustration of Renner emblazoned with the hashtag #JusticeForHawkeye, the petition calls on “Walter Disney” — presumably the company, and not the deceased mogul — to ensure that the character is featured on “posters and that sweet, sweet merchandise such as popcorn buckets.”
“It should be clarified at this point that we are not pursuing an [sic] Renner cut, or Hawkeye edition, but instead a movie trailer where Hawkeye receives a minimum of 2.5 lines,” the petition reads. It later mentions past movies mistreating the character, too: “We believe that in past scenes in previous movies Hawkeye has not been given justice. The inclusion of mind control in such as that in the first Avengers movie was quite frankly offensive.”
At press time, 1,276 Hawkeye stans had signed the petition.
There is no way of knowing whether Renner himself has signed it, but it appears that he does feel a little left out of the promotion. The actor shared a fan-created Entertainment Weekly cover solely featuring Hawkeye on Instagram a few days before Marvel released that final trailer. On April 2, he shared a photo of himself holding the Infinity Gauntlet at a pop culture convention in New Zealand with seemingly random hashtags such as #warmheart and #hotcoffee.
The photo’s caption thanks “all the fans,” some of whom probably have the Jeremy Renner app downloaded to their phones. The app was released in March 2017 and apparently lets fans explore “Jeremy Renner’s world.” In October, the Ringer described the drama surrounding this app, beautifully referring to his die-hard fans as #RenHive. We hope the app includes updates on his house flipping and projects such as “Tag,” an upcoming film that follows middle-aged friends who have been playing the same game of tag for 30 years.
See? This guy has so much going on, he doesn’t need Disney’s marketing department to acknowledge Hawkeye’s existence.
For what it is worth, directors Anthony and Joe Russo do appreciate the character. Joe told Screen Rant that Hawkeye would be “on his own journey in this movie,” and Anthony added that the character’s “unique reaction” to the events that take place in “Captain America: Civil War” put him in “a special spot in this film.”
We can partially blame Hawkeye’s absence on the fictional U.S. government, according to the io9 interview. Joe Russo said approaching the scripts for both “Infinity War” and “Avengers 4″ simultaneously allowed the team to give each Avenger “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,” Russo said. “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.”
All that is left to do is speculate on what Hawkeye’s special path may be. Some believe he was left out of promotional materials because he might surprise viewers by adopting a darker persona he takes on in the comics, called Ronin. Others joke that he might just be at home with his secret family, which was introduced to viewers in “Age of Ultron.” Or maybe he left to continue that game of tag?