The Marvel Cinematic Universe is on the edge of an exciting precipice, as Phase Three has finally come to a close. The massive fandom was treated to the first glimpse into Phase Four at San Diego Comic-Con, where Kevin Feige revealed the outline for the next set of films and Disney+ series. Cate Shortland's Black Widow will kickstart the next slate of releases, with Scarlett Johansson's Avenger finally given her own solo movie.
The starring cast of Black Widow was announced at Comic-Con, as well as concept art containing new villain The Taskmaster. The upcoming movie will delve into Natasha Romanoff's mysterious past, and how she eventually became a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The movie will reportedly feature her often-referenced time in Budapest, so fans are wondering if Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye will have a role. Scarlett Johansson was recently asked this very question, and expertly sidestepped giving a concrete answer. As she put it:
Black Widow's release date and cast were only confirmed days ago, so it makes sense that Scarlett Johansson and company will have to the secret of the movie under wraps. So there's no way that Scarlett Johansson could answer the question about Hawkeye so definitively. After all, the movie isn't set to arrive until for almost a full year, in May of 2020.
Scarlett Johansson's comments about Hawkeye come from her recent discussion with Good Morning America at San Diego Comic-Con. While fielding questions about her long overdue solo movie, she was forced to dodge potential spoilers. Luckily, ScarJo has been doing this for years, so she's about as adept as her comic book character when it comes to keeping secrets.
Before Black Widow was announced, fans had been waiting for Natasha Romanoff to get the attention she deserves with a solo movie. While she has a relationship with all of the OG Avengers, Hawkeye is truly her family in the MCU. As such, a team-up movie seemed like the perfect opportunity to give both characters the time and spotlight they deserve.
A prequel makes Hawkeye's possible role make all the more sense, especially given teases about Budapest in Cate Shortland's upcoming blockbuster. But Jeremy Renner hasn't been mentioned in any of the announcements, so it's unclear if/how he'll factor into the upcoming story. But Black Widow is filming, so those decisions have certainly been made. And since the movie will be the first in Phase Four, we should hopefully get information regarding the upcoming blockbuster shortly.
If Hawkeye does end up having a significant role in Black Widow, it would even further highlight just how important their relationship was throughout the last decade of filmmaking. What's more, it should illuminate their emotional scene in Avengers: Endgame.
Since Black Widow has been featured in so many Marvel franchises, she's had a close relationship with Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America. But her bond with Hawkeye stands above it all, and was made super obvious during Joss Whedon's The Avengers. Jeremy Renner's signature hero spent much of that first Avengers movie under Loki's mind control, thanks to the powers given to him by The Scepter. And through his possible betrayal and inability to regain consciousness, Widow remained focus on getting back her friend. After all, he's the one who brought her out of darkness.
This is the exact scene that fans are hoping to see in Black Widow, finally revealing exactly what went down with the two OG Avengers. Their friendship is a through line through all three Phases of the MCU so far, despite audiences never being shown how their bond was started. Hopefully that'll change in the upcoming prequel, allowing Hawkeye to become an even more important character in the shared universe.
Natasha and Clint's familial relationship was highlighted in Avengers: Age of Ultron, specifically during the second act of the movie. When James Spader's titular villain got the upper hand on the Avengers, Hawkeye took the group of heroes to his top secret farm house. There it was revealed that Hawkeye had a wife and children. While most of the heroes (and the audience) were surprised by this turn of events, Black Widow wasn't. In fact, Clint's kids called her their Aunt during the visit.
This scene further showed just how close the two Avengers were, as Natasha was an adoptive member of the Barton family. What's more, she withheld this information from the rest of the group, despite her bond with Tony, Steve, and Bruce respectively.
While Hawkeye was noticeably absent in Avengers: Infinity War, he had a meaty role in Endgame. And his story was deeply connected to Natasha, and their love for each other. Following Thanos' snap and the five-year time jump, Clint took on the mantle of Ronin, and was murdering criminals as an agent of vengeance after his family turned to dust.
Natasha personally travelled to Tokyo to find her friend and former teammate, and was noticeably distressed at seeing how far he'd fallen. But she offered him a chance to reverse the snap, and finally give him hope for a future. After Hawkeye tested the Quantum Suits, the two friends traveled to Vormir to procure the Soul Stone during the epic Time Heist.
Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. The Soul Stone requires a sacrifice, and it became clear that Hawkeye and Black Widow weren't both making it out alive. They squared off in an attempt to sacrifice themselves, but Natasha ultimately won. She fell to her death so that The Snap could be reversed, and her best friend could once again be reunited with his family.
Hawkeye should have a major present in Phase Four, as he'll be getting his own limited series on Disney+. It would be extra thrilling to see him back on the silver screen as well, especially in his grief for Natasha and joy over being reunited with his family. It's a complicated tapestry of emotions, and one that can really be fleshed out in the future.
Black Widow is currently set to arrive in theaters on May 1st, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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