Lets start at square one on this one. Who is Marvel’s Hawkeye and why is every blog that covers movies talking about him as if he’s a big deal? He is a big deal, just as Black Widow (played in Iron Man 2 by Scarlett Johansson) is a big deal. The character, whose real name is Clinton Barton, was an orphan who ran away at a young age to become a pre-teen member of a traveling circus. There he learned to use the bow and arrow. After having a run-in with his criminal mentors, he was left badly injured and hospitalized. Later in life, he was inspired by seeing Iron Man in action and soon became the costumed hero Hawkeye. Originally portrayed as a reluctant villain, Hawkeye would eventually become linked up with Black Widow, with whom he fell in love. She tricks him into helping her steal tech from Tony Stark.

This general Hawkeye storyline goes with some of the reports we’re hearing from the story of Iron Man 2, in which Black Widow’s motives could be suspect. It would fit for Hawkeye to be a part of Iron Man 2, or perhaps the upcoming Thor, to set up his role alongside Black Widow in 2012’s The Avengers.

Which brings us to Jeremy Renner, the breakout star of The Hurt Locker. In late November, Renner started a press-fire on the web with comments about meeting with Marvel over Hawkeye. At the time, the comments were directed at a possible future role, and nothing was set. Turn the clock forward to this week, where Renner has reinforced that fact in a Movieline interview. As he’s stated twice now, he has just been chatting with the folks at Marvel Studios, but he hasn’t signed on any lines just yet. Here’s the direct quote:

That was just one of those things that got blown way out of proportion. It was an idea. Those Marvel guys, I’m a big fan of them. They’re so smart about how they want to do these things — they have Captain America, and Thor coming around, Iron Man 2, and then I happen to know Zak Penn, who’s writing The Avengers. So they thought Hawkeye is an interesting role, and asked me if I knew anything about him. I said no, so they gave me their sort of spiel on what he was, and I thought that it was kind of interesting. The only reason it came out this early, because Avengers is two years away, is that they’re thinking OK, we may throw him in Thor, we may not, as a cameo. You know what I mean? So there’s truth that we talked about it, but there’s no truth to me doing it.

There is truth to talks, but none to actual casting. That sounds about right. Despite the fact that Renner would be a perfect fit for a mid-level character like Hawkeye, there’s no reason for anyone to get too worked up just yet.

Even if there were something more substantial happening, Renner wouldn’t be in a position to let that out into the wild just yet — especially if Marvel doesn’t want it out. But get this, conspiracy theorists: what if Renner has already played Hawkeye and he appears in Iron Man 2? Chew on that for a while, see how it tastes. Tastes good, doesn’t it?

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