WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye was kept out of the marketing for Avengers: Infinity War. The character wasn't seen in any of the trailers, nor on any of the posters. No toys were made in his likeness, and the actor didn't appear in any of the interviews or premieres related to the film's release. And as fans became vocal in their need for some, any Hawkeye information, they were told that it was all done for a reason, that it was in service of the character's role in the Avengers threequel.
Depending on how excited you were for Hawkeye answers in the film, you might have ended up a bit disappointed. Jeremy Renner's character was nowhere to be seen -- only a simple line was spoken about the Avenger; according to Black Widow, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Clint Barton was under house arrest, a punishment he opted for in order to be with his family.
While it might not have been the big Hawkeye story fans were longing for, it just might pave the way for a big story for the Avenging Archer in Avengers 4.
Yes, Hawkeye is in Avengers 4 -- this much we know for certain. Renner was spotted on the set of the shoot many times, sporting a new haircut and a costume that, for mysterious reasons, is being kept secret for the time being. These threads have led to the theory that Hawkeye might adopt the superhero identity of Ronin, like he has previously in the comics. Whether that theory turns out to be accurate will have to wait, but knowing what we now know from Avengers: Infinity War, it seems pretty damn likely.
Here's what we know of Hawkeye's current situation: The archer went against the government to side with Captain America in the superhero civil war, which led to his incarceration in the prison facility known as The Raft. However, he wouldn't stay there long, because Steve Rogers showed up to free his allies from their cells. Then, in Infinity War, we learn that in order to protect his family, Clint cut a deal with the government and, as we related earlier, is now under house arrest.
But "house arrest" might not mean much when half of the universe has crumbled to ash. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we learned that Clint's family was the most important thing to him. What would push him to leave them behind, suit up with a new costume and join the fight against Thanos? Easy: he may not have a family anymore.
We believe that what will push Hawkeye back into the thick of it is by witnessing his entire family disappear before his very eyes. When Thanos snapped his fingers, when half of all life on the planet disappeared at random, the act likely took Clint's wife and some, if not all, of this three children.
This would surely give him a strong motivation to undo what has happened, while justifying him going through a dark change that will prompt his need for a different kind of costume. Such a catastrophic event would be the only possible thing that would convince Hawkeye to step out of the confines of his home. With no family to protect, there is no justification to abide by house arrest, and if he becomes on the run from the government, then Hawkeye would truly become a ronin. That is, unless he joins with the Avengers again, who just might know how to fix this whole mess.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston and Josh Brolin. The movie is in theaters now.