Avengers: Endgame was the film that finally gave us our dose of Hawkeye after he went missing in Avengers: Infinity War. To make things feel more fitting and sensible, the writers wrote his story similar to that of Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. Both of those family people struck a deal with the government and got to spend 2 years at their homes with their families. So, their absence from Infinity War was totally justified.
We did get a fair bit of Ant-Man since he ran through certain events right before Infinity War happened. In fact, his story led us directly into Endgame. But Hawkeye didn’t have much to do until after the snap. So, his absence from Infinity War actually became important. What’s great is that Endgame actually began with a scene involving him. It was a good scene and was enough to explain why Clint became a rogue vigilante. He became the Punisher!
A great deal of thinking went into keeping Hawkeye on the sidelines for the first film. Obviously there wasn’t much time to give him his own story arc that took place before Infinity War, so the writers decided to keep it subtle and that’s what made the most sense. The commentary track of Avengers: Endgame digital release has finally explained why Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and the Russos decided to bench Hawkeye. Here’s what they said on the commentary:
Joe: Now, this scene was supposed to be in Avengers: Infinity War, after Thanos snapped his fingers. We thought it might be interesting to cut to a verite scene between Hawkeye and his family.
I believe we tried it one cut of the film, and looked at it and said ‘Oh, that’s never gonna work. It’s too disorienting.’
McFeely: It was busy.
McFeely: In that movie, not to do a commentary for a different movie, but in that movie that ends with people disappearing on a planet in space, and they’re in Wakanda… if you added a third place…
Anthony: Right, we’re already cutting between a lot of people at that point in the film.
Markus: But it also works so well to restate the finality of what happened in Infinity War when you put it at the beginning of Endgame.
Joe: I think so. It brings you back emotionally very quickly. There’s a year between these films, and this movie helps to reset, and re-remind the audience of what happened in that movie and how you felt at the end of that film.
Anthony: But through a brand new perspective.
Markus: We didn’t see Clint at all in Infinity War. Here we have him and he is hit hard.
Joe: We’re not pulling any punches at the opening of the film. This is basically like a scene from a horror film that opens the movie.
McFeely: And also sort of draws people in. I mean presumably everyone who goes to this movie, by and large, saw the previous movie. So this is one of those instances where the entire audience is ahead of the character and filled with dread.
Anthony: Which is an unusual move. Usually we never let the audience be ahead of the character.
McFeely: No, this is playing for suspense and not for surprise.
So yea, we are okay with the fact that Hawkeye missed Infinity War. At least he came back in Endgame and had a really important role to play. Sure Natasha, Hulk and Iron Man are being given the most credit for saving the Universe, but people seem to have forgotten that he was going to sacrifice himself instead. He had to sacrifice a friend and live with that after already living with the guilt of what he did for the past 5 years. He had to sacrifice a friend that he loved the most in the entire damn world! And the worst part of it was that he wasn’t given a choice. He wished that it was different, that it was him who makes the jump, but that wasn’t meant to be!