by Brett White
Listen, there are times in a blogger’s life when they just don’t want to report on a rumor because it hurts too much. When this rumor went up yesterday on Comic Book Movie, I thought I’d just let it slide. But I’ve now seen this story pop up in a few more places, so no matter how dubious the unnamed source is, I feel an obligation to Splash Page to write this up. Even though it hurts.
The unnamed source states that Hawkeye is due for a major overhaul during Marvel’s Phase Two, and it could lead to a diminished role for Jeremy Renner in “Avengers 2” to make room for a set of twins, the character being written out of the franchise completely, being recast for “The Avengers 2,” or being recast and involved heavily in the “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” TV show. But how did these rumors even start?
When “Marvel’s the Avengers” came out, Renner didn’t make it a secret that he was more than a little bummed about Hawkeye’s role in the film. The quote in question comes from an interview the actor gave with Total Film:
“For 90 percent of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play,” Renner said. “It’s kind of a vacancy. [He’s] not even a bad guy, because there’s not really a consciousness to him. To take away who that character is and just have him be this robot, essentially, and have him be this minion for evil that Loki uses… I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. Fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No.”
The article goes on to state that talk like this has gotten actors recast in the past. Talking negatively about the experience is apparently what kept Hugo Weaving out as the Red Skull in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” despite the Red Skull having a part to play in the movie’s source material. And Marvel’s recast roles much bigger than Hawkeye before, most notably Terrence Howard as James Rhodes and Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. The article also points out that Hawkeye hasn’t been mentioned as being part of Phase 2 at all, especially since S.H.I.E.L.D. plays a big role in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and has its own TV series.
So full disclosure about your Splash Page editor: I’m a Jeremy Renner fan. I’m also a big Hawkeye fan. I’ve always gravitated towards Hawkeye, even when I actively did not like the Avengers as a pre-teen comic book reader. I still liked Hawkeye. Nowadays his solo series pulls emotions out of me that I didn’t know existed and he was my second favorite movie Avenger (after Black Widow). So yes, I’m a big Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye fan.
Or to rephrase it, I’m a big fan of what Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye could be. Everyone has to agree that Renner had a point about Hawkeye in the movie. He did not play the role he signed up for! He signed up to play one of Marvel’s most fan-favorite characters, and instead he henchmanned around for two hours before coming back with a ton of epic saves in the last half hour. Renner deserves a whole film where he’s the Hawkeye of the last half hour the entire time. I see glimmers of the big screen Hawkeye we deserve in the cockiness, bravado, and dry wit that Renner gives his (very few) lines in the New York City battle. The guy can do it, and it’d be a shame if they don’t let him do it.
So no, I don’t think he should be recast based on one quote to a magazine. If Joss Whedon found him hard to work with, or if he prices himself out of it, then those are actual reasons to recast him. And here’s the thing to consider if he’s recast: he cannot, cannot be recast with anyone younger (or younger looking) than Jeremy Renner. I just have this fear of Hawkeye getting the CW treatment, using this recasting opportunity to capitalize on the hot bod archer trend that… well, it starts and stops with “Arrow’s” Stephen Amell. But still. Hawkeye is older and cantankerous. He needs to look like he has experience that justifies his cockiness. Renner has that.
This is just a rumor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets asked a bunch of Hawkeye questions while promoting his next film, “The Immigrant.” We just have to wait and see.
Do you think Hawkeye can be recast? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!