Jeremy Renner Wanted Disney+'s Hawkeye to Be Darker

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Hawkeye logo

Hawkeye has been confirmed to be set during Christmas, giving Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton a chance to shine during the in-universe holiday season. 

The upcoming Disney+ series is the fifth small screen entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it follows the post-Avengers: Endgame story of Renner's Avenger. Alongside the bow-wielding hero, the MCU actor will be joined by a stellar cast that includes the likes of Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, Vera Farmiga as Eleanor Bishop, Alaqua Cox as Echo, and Fra Fee as the villainous Clown. 

The exact plot details of Hawkeye are still being kept under wraps, but the first wave of trailers confirmed that Barton is stuck in New York to deal with emerging threats from his past. It was revealed that his predicament was caused by Kate's actions when she posed as Ronin, ultimately leading to a team-up between the two archers. 

So far, the festive spirit has been apparent throughout Hawkeye, mainly because of its Christmas setting. However, based on a new report, it seems that there will still be a shed of darkness within the show's intriguing storyline. 

Jeremy Renner Campaigned for Hawkeye's Darker Tone 

Hawkeye, Ronin

Hawkeye directors Rhys Thomas and duo Bert & Bertie sat down with Total Film, via Gamesradar, to talk about their approach to directing the upcoming Marvel project. 

Bertie first admitted that he wanted everything to feel "real and authentic," citing the fact that Jeremy Renner was on board with the idea for Hawkeye to not be "super serious" the whole time: 

 "I think that Jeremy was on board from the get-go with the tone of the show being not super serious the whole time; the slight absurdity of it and that buddy-cop dynamic."

Despite the lighter tone seen in the show's promotional materials, Bert admitted that Renner initially wanted to have a darker tone for the series, since part of the storyline revolves around Clint's past as Ronin: 

"He wanted the darkness. He wanted to go there. And there are moments that the Ronin Clint resurfaces. It's very important to have those depths that you can explore, so that he can come out of it."

Thomas then praised Renner's performance during filming while also sharing the narrative trajectory of Clint Barton in the Disney+ series: 

“The amazing thing about Jeremy is that he's just this incredibly natural actor in that there's a reality to the way he performs. He finds the pitch of the scene and is 'in it'. To me, the fun was trying to take that quality and find situations to play against. Where would you like to see this character be? Who do you want to see him interacting with to find that comedy? And it's a fine line because you've still got a story to tell and all of the things that Marvel are famous for to incorporate."

Hawkeye's Directors Try to Find the Right Balance

Jeremy Renner has been playing the bow-wielding Marvel hero ever since 2011 when he debuted as Clint Barton in Thor. Given the time that the actor spent playing the character, it's reasonable to assume that Renner knows Clint as a whole, meaning that Hawkeye allows him to do more with the hero in terms of personality. 

Throughout the Infinity Saga, Clint's personality has been ever-changing.

2012's The Avengers showed a more serious Clint during most of the film (thanks to Loki's mind control), but the final battle proved that he can still be funny. The character's comedic personality became consistent in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he leaned on his serious side during Captain America: Civil War

Avengers: Endgame took it up a notch when Clint's violent side was showcased due to his transition as Ronin. Based on the Hawkeye directors' comments, it looks like the show will push all of these personalities to the forefront. 

In many ways, this makes sense, since Clint will be the central character of the project for the first time. This development presents numerous story opportunities for the character while also fleshing him out even more. Clint's personality could also be used to strengthen the buddy cop dynamic between him and Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop. 

Clint's past as Ronin is one of the intriguing plot threads from Endgame, and it appears that this part of the archer's life will finally catch up to him in the series. It will be interesting to find out how Hawkeye will balance the dark and comedic elements throughout its six-episode run. 

Hawkeye's first two episodes will premiere on Disney+ on November 24, 2021. 

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.