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Marvel Loves Having Us Wrapped Around Its Infinity Gauntlet-Clad Finger

Hawkeye fires his very serious bow and arrows

This is it, folks. This week, Avengers: Infinity War debuts and makes good on the groundwork laid by ten years of Marvel movies. As that momentous movie event approaches, one of the biggest questions on fans’ minds has to do with one of the cinematic universe’s smallest roles, at least in terms of screen time: Where the heck is Hawkeye?

While he made one of his earliest appearances in the movie that first assembled our big screen Avengers, Clint Barton/Hawkeye has taken the backseat to Marvel’s bigger heroes, never appearing outside of ensembles in his own movies, but we’ve come to expect him find him alongside the other Avengers when they come together, making his absence from Infinity War marketing odd and—considering what’s at stake in Infinity War and the emotional stakes raised for the character in Age of Ultron by the appearance of his family—a bit concerning. Marvel has been teasing that Thanos is going to do some awful things right off the bat in Infinity War, only adding to the suspicion.

Of course, being Marvel, all of this is intentional, and they’re more than happy to keep us guessing. They know that fans pore over every minute detail of promotional material, so it’s not like they thought they could just outright hide that something’s up with Hawkeye. As Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige and Infinity War directors the Russo Brothers told io9, the mystery surrounding the omission has only raised the character’s profile, rather than left him out in the cold.

Feige told them, “I think it’s one of the best things that ever happened to Hawkeye. We [at Marvel] love Hawkeye.” In between talking about how the choice has worked to their advantage, he also mentioned that there are big things on the horizon for Hawkeye over the course of Infinity War and its sequel, even if we don’t know what those things are yet. (Although going speculation has Hawkeye adopting a whole new identity.)

The Russos reiterated what they’ve said before, about the simultaneous production and rapid release schedule of the next two Avengers movies allowing them to spotlight different characters at different times, and promised a “long play” storyline for Hawkeye, which sounds like exactly the kind of thoughtful use of the full roster of characters that we’d hope for as ten years of Marvel movies come together. They also asked us to do the one thing we can’t, though: be patient.

Luckily, we only have a few more days before we get our first look at what’s to come when Infinity War hits theaters on Thursday.

(via io9, image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best, and he will never stop reminding The Last Jedi's detractors that Luke Skywalker's pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi was literally throwing his lightsaber away and refusing to fight.