The following contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War; you probably don't want to read this until you've seen that.
There are so many questions that we have coming off of Avengers: Infinity War, but a lot of them center around a single character, Clint Barton. Those questions started even before the movie came out, as Hawkeye was strangely absent from all the build-up to the film. While we now understand why that was, this only serves to keep us wondering what's going on with the character. In fact, we have many, many questions related to all of the build-up Marvel has created around the now-mysterious character. As we now start the year-long journey to Avengers 4. Here are the unanswered questions we have about the MCU's favorite archer.
Is He Alive?
This, of course, is the biggest and the most fundamental question that we have to deal with. Did Hawkeye survive "the snap?" Since he never appears in Avengers: Infinity War, we have no clear-cut answer as of this moment. He, like many characters not directly involved in the final confrontation, is never directly addressed. Having said that, odds are that Clint Barton is probably alive. Unless every Instagram photo and video Jeremy Renner made last year was a misdirect, we know he filmed something at some point. Also, every other member of the core Avengers team did survive, so it's very likely that he did as well. Still, we'll have to wait and see.
What Happened To His Family?
While I expect the answer of Hawkeye's own fate is likely to work out for the best, this question, I'm afraid may turn out to have a much sadder answer. With 50% of Earth's population having been wiped out, and Clint Barton's family consisting of a wife and three children, Hawkeye's own survival only increases the odds that at least some members of his family became victims of the Infinity Gauntlet. We learn in the one reference to Hawkeye in Avengers: Infinity War that he agreed to government-supervised house arrest because the alternative was too hard on his family. They are the most important thing to him. Which leads to the next question.
If They're Gone, What Then?
If Clint Barton does, in fact, lose some or all of his family, what is it going to do to the most grounded Avenger? There's a pretty good chance it's going to send him off the deep end. There have been a lot of rumors that when we do see Clint Barton again, it may be as a different character. If Hawkeye is about to become the character known as Ronin, this could very well be why. A Ronin is a samurai without a master, and without his family, Barton may lose his way. What sort of man might we see when we're reintroduced to Hawkeye in Avengers 4?
Will We See Hawkeye Before Avengers 4?
Several months ago there were rumors that Jeremy Renner might be seen in this July's Ant-Man & the Wasp and while the director refuted those rumors entirely, it's not like a film director has never directly lied in order to keep a secret. Considering that Scott Lang and Clint Barton were put in very much the same boat when it comes to the reason neither one appears in Avengers: Infinity War, and the fact that that July's MCU movie very much looks like the title characters are on the run, it might make sense for them to turn to somebody like Hawkeye if they need help. This might also give us an indication of why Barton did not decide to join his friends when things got bad.
Why Wait Until Avengers 4?
In the end, there had to be a reason to leave Hawkeye out of Avengers: Infinity War. While keeping Scott Lang out of the massive team up may have been necessitated by the plot of Ant-Man and the Wasp, there's no obvious reason why Hawkeye was left out. It's not like adding one more hero to the mix was going to make the movie too bloated, and whatever plotline they have in mind for Hawkeye in the next movie could almost certainly still have worked if Barton had been in this one. Unless it couldn't. Keeping Hawkeye off the board was clearly an intentional decision, but what could the reasoning be?