Why Marvel Wanted Hawkeye To Include Ant-Man And The Avengers In Rogers: The Musical

Hawkeye wasted no time in knocking Clint Barton back into the hero game, and after three episodes, he has the bumps and bruises to prove it. Still, he seems far more comfortable battling bad guys than sitting in the audience for Rogers: The Musical and watching the big climax of The Avengers turned into a musical extravaganza… featuring Ant-Man, of all people. The songwriters behind Rogers: The Musical spoke to CinemaBlend about the notes that Marvel had for the big “Save The City” number, including why a musical version of Scott Lang had a part to play with the Avengers. 

Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman are longtime collaborators coming from backgrounds in Broadway, television, and film, and “Save The City” in Hawkeye proved that they brought their musical magic touch to the MCU. And luckily for Shaiman, he already had a background in Marvel, thanks to his husband as – to quote Shaiman – “a full Marvel nerd” who explained all the movies and the mythology behind them. 

Scott Wittman, on the other hand, watched all the MCU films during the pandemic and wound up, as he said, “totally immersed by the end of a couple of weeks in the universe and loving it,” which involved at one point watching three films in one day. Marc Shaiman shared how they used their MCU knowledge to bring Marvel’s “very specific idea” to create Rogers: The Musical:

They had a very specific idea of what they wanted, that it would take place at the Battle for New York. And it seemed to us, it seemed to everyone, that that would be a kind of a first act closer number. So this kind of Broadway engine, kind of pop rock gospel sound, because it was Scott's idea that it should start with the New Yorkers, beseeching the Avengers to please come, and save the city.

If “Save The City” was the closing number for the first act with the musical version of The Avengers’ Battle of New York, then Rogers: The Musical must have had a lot going on in the second act! Most of the audience in the first episode of Hawkeye seemed to be loving it, but it’s hard to blame Clint for having some issues with watching a singing and dancing version of himself, not to mention seeing a version of Black Widow in musical action. Scott Wittman elaborated on how the song calling on heroes to save the city really came to be: 

That came from the fact that when we were writing it, it was the height of the pandemic. And it was a time where people were out on balconies, banging pots and pans for healthcare workers every night. New York was really hurting, and so that sort of fed into what the theme of the song was.

Fortunately, even though Rogers: The Musical clearly took some hilarious liberties with what actually happened within the MCU, the production stuck with the good guys winning the day in The Avengers. The song actually had to accomplish a lot in not much time, as Marc Shaiman explained: 

And yet, we also knew we had to write a song that is hopefully a good entertaining song that belongs on a Broadway stage, but also something that would make Clint roll his eyes and wonder 'What the hell am I at?' … ‘What have they done to my life?’ Yeah. So we had to juggle that. And that was like the real tightrope of the assignment.

Fans watching from home could appreciate the humor of both the over-the-top musical number and watching poor Clint squirm, even if Clint himself didn't see much in it to enjoy. As Scott Wittman pointed out, this sort of humor was a goal for the song: 

The way the movies do, they have such a sly sense of humor in them. And that was important to get in the song as well.

But why exactly was it important to include Ant-Man, of all people? The Battle of New York of the Avengers vs. the Chitauri and Loki of course happened in The Avengers back in 2012, while Ant-Man didn’t premiere until 2015. When I asked what kind of creative notes Marvel gave them for writing the musical, Scott Wittman explained that Ant-Man's inclusion came as a “request from Marvel that he’d be there,” and Marc Shaiman broke down why it worked so well:

They loved the idea that like any entertainment creation based on a real story will always get something either a little wrong, or stretch the truth. Scott has always told me our whole life writing together, he says, 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.' So that was Marvel's idea to just make it a little off. Knowing that Marvel fans and Clint in the audience would go, 'What is this?!' You know, so that's a perfect example of Marvel's sense of humor about everything. And we were more than happy to put the word 'Ant-Man' into a lyric, and words like 'Tesseract,' and 'Chitauri' and 'shawarma.' All words that I don't think Scott and I ever thought we would be writing as lyrics, but there we were. And luckily, I had Lou, my husband, in the kitchen, I could shout out. He's like a human thesaurus when it comes to Marvel. So we got lucky with that also.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but I didn’t know that I desperately needed a song with “–and get shawarma when we’re done!” as part of the triumphant rallying cry of heroes saving the world until Hawkeye’s preview of Rogers: The Musical. And honestly, what makes Ant-Man’s inclusion even funnier is that he was mentioned in the song before Hawkeye was, which had to make it all the more cringe-worthy for Clint. 

But will we ever see more of Rogers: The Musical? The third episode featured a sign for the musical, but that doesn’t mean that Clint will change his tune about the show and decide to catch another performance. While only time will tell on that front, Marvel did release the full version of “Save The City” that is definitely worth checking out:

See what’s next for Clint and Kate with new episodes of Hawkeye releasing on Wednesdays on Disney+. The plot is thickening quickly with new characters debuting, and possibly hinting at the return of a familiar face. And if you need some MCU action even beyond the show, you can find plenty of Marvel content on the Disney streamer as well.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.