WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's story began in 2008 with Iron Man (directed by Jon Favreau), and in the decade since, it has introduced over two dozen superheroes, with more on the way. The long, overarching story revolving around the mysterious Infinity Stones culminates in Avengers: Infinity War (directed by Joe and Anthony Russo) in which the mad titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin), battles Earth's mightiest heroes.
Fans expected to see great big battle sequences, astonishing world-changing moments and of course, their favorite superheroes gathered together for one last fight against the end of the world. But while most of the MCU's film heroes did appear, there were quite a few who were inexplicably absent and some that just had flimsy reasons for not being present. Below, we compile the unexpectedly long list of characters we thought we'd see, but who ultimately never turned up for the biggest fight the MCU has ever seen.
When we last saw Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), he was on the Raft, imprisoned after coming out of retirement to aid Steve Rogers against Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. It showed us that he would never turn his back on his friends and allies when they needed him most, even if it meant breaking the law, which makes his absence in Infinity War that much more odd.
The one and only time he is mentioned is when Black Widow explains to Wanda and Vision that Hawkeye took a deal to avoid house arrest. Even though he readily broke the law to save his friends in Civil War, he was evidently unwilling to do it a second time to save the universe from partial annihilation. We know he'll be appearing in Avengers 4, so there's clearly more to his story and absence than the threat of house arrest. We'll just have to wait to find out what it is, exactly.
Also missing from the film was Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), who, much like Clint Barton, took a deal to avoid house arrest after the events of Civil War, also according to Black Widow. Unlike Clint, Ant-Man will be appearing in his own film, Ant-Man and the Wasp (directed by Peyton Reed) later this year. The film takes place after Civil War but before Infinity War, which means there's a chance it'll offer a more valid explanation for Scott's absence.
At the end of Ant-Man, Janet Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) was given the Wasp suit so she could join the fight against evil forces from both our world and the microverse. It's strange, then, that she would be absent during Thanos' assault on the universe -- but no one fully expected her to make an appearance, anyway.
Instead she'll be officially debuting in Ant-Man and the Wasp later this year, and again in Avengers 4 in 2019, so she'll still get her chance to save what's left of the universe alongside the remnants of the Avengers. Some might argue that it's better this way, since she'll be appearing in a major fight after we've had a chance to really appreciate her character, much like we did every other major Avenger in the MCU.