If ComicBookMovie is correct, it appears that Jeremy Renner did not learn the lessons of Terrence Howard and Edward Norton and will now pay the price for it.
The website is quoting “Hollywood sources” in saying that the actor who played Clint Barton/Hawkeye in both Thor and The Avengers is being dropped by Marvel Studios, mainly due to negative comments he made about his role in the latter film.
Renner was candid in his feelings about the way his character was portrayed on screen in an interview with Total Film magazine:
“For 90 percent of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play. It’s kind of a vacancy. [He’s] not even a bad guy, because there’s not really a consciousness to him. To take away who that character is and just have him be this robot, essentially, and have him be this minion for evil that Loki uses … I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. Fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No.”
To be fair to Renner, he does have a point. On the other hand, Hawkeye pretty much serves the same purpose as Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character, and since Johansson joined the Marvel family first, she gets to play the hero and they had to find something else for Renner to do. That being said, even in the 10% of the film where he WAS the character he signed on to play, he really didn’t make that much of an impression. His quiver had more personality than his Hawkeye did.
But regardless, Marvel has made a point not keeping any actor who is unhappy or unable to work the Marvel way. Terrence Howard was rumored to be difficult to work with during Iron Man. so his role as James Rhodes was minimized in the sequel and he was asked to take a substantial pay cut. He balked and was allowed to walk and Don Cheadle (who was rumored to be Marvel’s first choice originally) took his place. Edward Norton was supposedly so hands-on during The Incredible Hulk that rumor has it he even did script rewrites on set. This didn’t sit well with Marvel or Joss Whedon, so in The Avengers he was replaced with Mark Ruffalo (who was rumored to also be Marvel’s first choice for the role). Hugo Weaving has also been very vocal about not being excited about his role as the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger and has expressed not being interested in reprising his role in the future. Well, everyone from Toby Jones to Hayley Atwell to Dominic Cooper will be back for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but not Weaving.
All of this makes the rumor very plausible. And all things considered, this might be the best thing for Renner. He has a burgeoning franchise in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters(which made an inexplicable amount of money overseas), appears to be in line to take over the Mission Impossible franchise in the event Tom Cruise ever lets go of it, and while many view The Bourne Legacy as a disappointing entry into the franchise, it made enough money worldwide that he might be in the mix if they continue with it. While, at Marvel, his next appearance would have been in a similar, low-key capacity in The Avengers 2. Hawkeye wouldn’t be even considered for a solo film until 2016, and there are a lot of characters, concepts and ideas in development ahead of him.
The source also brings up the possibility of the character being recast and appearing on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series. If the role is recast, it will probably be with whoever Marvel’s first choice for the role was.