Jeremy Renner’s new comments about his future as Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe perfectly set up Phase 6’s replacement for the Avengers. Hawkeye’s MCU timeline started when Renner first played Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, in a small role in 2011’s Thor. Since then, Hawkeye has become a member of the Avengers, appearing in all but one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ movies — the one in which they lost — which shows his importance for the world that Marvel has created. Alongside Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Renner’s Hawkeye is one of the three remaining original Avengers in the MCU.
After a little over a decade from his debut as Hawkeye in Thor, Renner got the chance to lead his own MCU project as Clint Barton. While the other original Avengers got solo movies — with Edward Norton leading The Incredible Hulk before being recast with Ruffalo — Renner starred in Disney+’s Hawkeye. As one of the remaining members of the original Avengers team, Hawkeye has become an important player in the MCU. However, last year, Renner sustained life-threatening injuries from a snowplow accident. While the actor recovered, his ability to return as Hawkeye was left up in the air — until now.
Despite breaking several bones and being slowly recovering from his snowplow accident, Renner revealed to Entertainment Tonight that he is up to return as Hawkeye in the MCU. While saying that he is “always game” to play Clint Barton, Renner made a heartfelt comment, saying, “All those guys [at Marvel] come to my bedside and they’ve been with me all along through this recovery, so… if they want me, they could have me.” Hawkeye currently has no MCU project lined up for Renner, though the character’s past adventures have set up a key return. Check out his full quote below:
“I’m always game. I’m gonna be strong enough, that’s for sure. I’ll be ready. All those guys come to my bedside and they’ve been with me all along through this recovery, so… if they want me, they could have me. It would be something.”
The MCU has been setting up an alternative to the Avengers for some time now. Marvel Studios introduced or developed a lot of young heroes across the MCU’s Phases 4 and 5, with a rumored Young Avengers project on the horizon. Having Renner’s Hawkeye serve in a mentor role to the Young Avengers would be the perfect payoff to the character’s MCU arc. In 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron gave the first taste of what that mentor version of Renner’s Hawkeye could look like. Clint Barton showed his paternal side to Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, similarly helping Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver.
Then, Renner’s Hawkeye series further built on that. On the Disney+ show, Clint cared for and trained Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, who idolized him and had put in the effort to follow Hawkeye’s footsteps after he saved her during The Avengers’ Battle of New York. With Kate Bishop being recruited by Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel in The Marvels for her team — the Young Avengers — it would make even more sense for Hawkeye to be involved with the upcoming superhero squad. Hawkeye teaming up with Kate Bishop again while also mentoring the Young Avengers would make sense for Renner’s MCU journey.
While it would make sense for Renner to return as Hawkeye in a Young Avengers project, that is not the only way the actor could continue in the MCU as Clint Barton. Loki aside, Marvel’s live-action Disney+ series have yet to receive second seasons, and Renner coming back with Steinfeld for Hawkeye season 2 could change that. The duo had electrifying chemistry in the series, and Hawkeye season 2 could either come before Clint and Kate team up in the Young Avengers project, setting it up, or immediately after. That way, Hawkeye season 2 could deal with Young Avengers’ fallout.
If Hawkeye season 2 or Young Avengers are not part of Marvel’s plans for Renner’s Clint Barton, then there are still a few possible places where the character could pop up. Hawkeye could make a cameo in Thunderbolts, building on the connection between Hawkeye and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. Renner could also return as Hawkeye in one of the two upcoming Avengers films. In Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, Hawkeye could join the MCU’s new heroes to stop the Council of Kangs. In Avengers: Secret Wars, the multiverse could bring the original Avengers back together, giving Renner’s Hawkeye a perfect send-off.