In the summer of 2012 The Avengers took the summer by storm. It gave new fuel to fire our love of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Plus resurrected our interests in Black Widow and The Hulk. Then there's Hawkeye. The steely archer of this dysfunctional superhero ensemble got the short end of the stick, playing Loki's brainwashed henchman for most of its running time. And it turns out Hawkeye got spurned once more in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which his killer action scene was scrapped before it even shot.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors confessed that Jeremy Renner was initially supposed to have a pretty thrilling part to play in the sequel. However, it's one that not even the DVD release will show you, though a commentary track alludes to it. Joe Russo explains:
"What it was going to be, we were trying to complicate the relationship between Cap and his S.H.I.E.L.D agent friends. If Hawkeye got a call from S.H.I.E.L.D saying Captain America is a fugitive, would he listen to that call or not listen to that call? That sequence actually was heartbreaking for us to cut it. I think it ultimately might have been a conflict with Renner’s schedule. But there was a great sequence where Hawkeye was chasing Cap through Washington D.C. there was an awesome sequence where they confronted each other in a ravine on the outskirts of D.C. and Hawkeye was shooting a series of arrows closing in on Cap, Cap closing in on him. And then Cap took him down and he realized for the first time that Hawkeye was trying to trick S.H.I.E.L.D, where he whispered something into Cap’s ear that Cap had a tracker on his suit and to punch Hawkeye to make it look real, because there was a Quinjet hovering above where they were watching the feedback back at S.H.I.E.L.D.
Russo is right of course. On the way to a final cut, films can take on a wide array of variations and possible paths. And Captain America: The Winter Soldier thrived without Hawkeye's inclusion. The $170 million tent pole pulled in $259 million domestic, which made it a front-runner for highest domestic grossing movie of the year. (It's since been beat by Guardians of the Galaxy, but is still outpacing the $553 millione worldwide blockbuster on the global market with $714 million.) The Captain America sequel also earned rave reviews from critics, and has proved so solid that even the deeply snarky webseries Honest Trailers struggled to mock it:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a great superhero movie and a suspenseful political thriller. Still though--how cool would this Hawkeye sequence have been!? It's all the more a bummer when you consider how eager Renner has been to dig into Hawkeye. But some scheduling conflict has cast the arrow-slinging hero to 2015, when Avengers: Age of Ultron will hit on May 1st. Following that, Hawkeye is expected to finally play a role in Captain America's continuing saga with an appearance in Captain America 3.
Here's hoping between these two films, Marvel will finally take full advantage of Jeremy Renner's full skill set, from attitude to clear wit. And a little bit of this wouldn't hurt.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on September 9th.