The very first moment we meet Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye in The Avengers, we really start to learn everything we need to know about him. Claiming to see better from a distance, he sets himself up as a bit of a loner and detached from all the action and people that he is monitoring on the floor below him. The truth is, Hawkeye isn’t really much of a team player, and that element plays an interesting element in The Avengers: Age of Ultron and in how the character processes the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jeremy Renner himself discussed these personality elements last summer on the set of The Avengers sequel, which I had the wonderful opportunity to visit along with a small group of other journalists. With Captain America: The Winter Soldier having come out about two months before the trip, I took the opportunity to ask the actor how Hawkeye was handling the collapse of the organization to which he was loyal. As it turns out, the man also known as Agent Clint Barton isn’t fazed too much by it, as he’s never really been one to play for any team other than his own. As he explained,
For me, my take on it is that [the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.] is probably a good thing. He’s kind of a loner anyway. He’s a team player only 'cause he sort of has to be. He’s not really a company man… I don’t think, was ever really that important to him. [Nick] Fury’s awesome. He likes Fury, and will do anything for him - but a company man is just not done. He doesn’t punch in and punch out.
Of course, just because S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t mean that much to Hawkeye doesn’t mean that his relationship with the organization won’t be addressed in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Instead, Jeremy Renner told us that the issue will be covered in "a few simple scenes." It is within these moments that we will "understand why he is, and thinks the way he thinks."
We haven’t seen Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he drove off at the end of The Avengers, and while he was massively heroic in the Battle of New York, there is a part of me that has to wonder how S.H.I.E.L.D. felt about him once all of those events were concluded. He has the excuse of being under the hypnotic spell of Loki, but the truth of the matter is that he killed a lot of innocent people during that time – and that number includes fellow agents of the clandestine organization. Black Widow was quick to forgive these crimes, and told him to dismiss any thoughts about those lost lives, but one has to imagine that not everyone just forgot. This part of the story may never get exposed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it could very well be part of the tale that explains why Barton isn’t too sad about losing his international spy gig.
Hawkeye will be back slinging his arrows and saving lives on the big screen when The Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters on May 1st, and be sure to stay tuned for more of our coverage from the set of the summer blockbuster!