While we’re currently inundated with superhero movies that are packed to the brim with heroes, all the way back in yesteryear (i.e. 2012), The Avengers was a gamble with incredibly high stakes. Marvel Studios was hoping that audiences would turn out for a superhero movie that served as a sequel, standalone, and franchise-starter all in one go, and they turned out to be right on the money to the tune of $1.5 billion worldwide. One of the biggest hurdles for writer/director Joss Whedon, however, was introducing new characters while at the same time servicing all these heroes who themselves had been the stars of their own films. While the finished product is mighty entertaining, most can agree that one of its weaker spots is the character of Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner. And it turns out Renner himself agrees.
We know that Renner wasn’t exactly pleased with the fact that his character was being turned into a mindless drone 5 minutes into his screentime, therefore removing any and all character evolution from his personal arc in the film, and this is something Whedon wanted to rectify in the sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. And while Hawkeye eventually got his day in the sun, Renner wasn’t crazy about the character’s direction during production on The Avengers and went so far as to try and get the character killed off prematurely.
Speaking at a Q&Q at London Comic-Con (via RadioTimes), Renner got brutally honest about his feelings during the making of The Avengers:
“I never really told anybody this, but in the first Avengers… I was just getting to know who Hawkeye was, and then zap, I go round like a zombie, I’m like Loki’s minion. And I’m still not even sure who Hawkeye was at that point. So I’m a little frustrated, because I was so excited to figure out who Hawkeye was.”
His fix? Give the filmmakers reason to kill Hawkeye off:
“I just had a heart attack in every scene – I’d just be walking with… Scarlett Johansson, and just like be ugh,” Renner said, clutching his chest theatrically. “And they said, ‘what are you doing man?’ ‘I’m giving you an option, if you just want to kick me out of this movie. Just you know, at any given moment, if you wanna kill me off, daddy’s gonna be having a heart attack.’”
But not to fear, Marvel faithful. Renner’s feelings have changed:
“I don’t really want him to die now. I really got to explore him a lot, and I can’t wait to explore him more, and there’s some really cool ideas coming up. Really cool ideas. Great deaths! Amazing ways to die.”
Indeed, Renner is set to reprise his role in Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled fourth Avengers film, which begin shooting concurrently later this year, so there are plenty of opportunities for him to further flesh out Hawkeye. Or die of a heart attack.