Jeremy Renner’s superhero marksman Hawkeye hasn’t exactly been the most prominent figure in Marvel’s cinematic universe, with his presence thus far limited to a cameo in Thor and a role in The Avengers that had him spend more on-screen time as a mind-controlled stooge than a hero. Still, many wondered what the popular S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was up to during the events of the recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier, given his connection to Captain America and the agency at the heart of the film’s story.
In an interview with Screen Rant, The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed that Hawkeye was indeed intended to have a role in the film, and described the sequence they had planned for Renner’s character.
“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,” explained Joe Russo. “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?”
According to the film’s directing duo, Renner’s schedule prevented him from being available for The Winter Soldier, and the scenes they had planned for his character had to be excised from the script. However, that didn’t stop them from describing the scenes that would have featured Hawkeye chasing Captain America down throughout Washington, D.C.
“There was a great sequence where Hawkeye was chasing Cap through Washington D.C. [and] 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, [with] Cap closing in on him,” said Joe Russo. “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.”
“It was a cool sequence, but look, there’s a million iterations of films, and especially when dealing with Marvel movies where characters can come in or come out during the creative process,” he continued. “And you keep working and working like a Rubik’s Cube till you find the right configuration where everything lines up. So even though we lost that sequence, I think we may have streamlined the movie and made it a little bit more propulsive.”
Even though Hawkeye didn’t appear in The Winter Soldier, he’ll return for Avengers: Age Of Ultron on May 1, 2015 — possibly with offers some explanation of his whereabouts during the events of The Winter Soldier.