After both trailers for Avengers: Infinity War were released and fans picked their collective jaws off the ground, most were left with the same lingering and troubling question: “Where are Hawkeye and Ant-Man?”
While there are no shortage of popular characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Clint Barton and Scott Lang are two of its most charming individuals, which means most fans would be disappointed if they didn't see Hawkeye and Ant-Man in Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, that hasn’t stopped fans from wildly speculating as to why Barton and Lang have been conspicuously absent from all Infinity War footage.
While the production rate of Avengers: Infinity War fan theories has obviously increased as the film’s release draws nearer and more footage is revealed, the fandom has paid particular attention to these Avengers missing in action. They’re all but guaranteed to show up eventually, but patience isn’t something one considers when awaiting the most anticipated film in the universe.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Clint Barton dies a bunch, as do most Avengers. On one such occasion, Hawkeye is killed and revived after a brief stay in the afterlife as the mysterious and enigmatic “Ronin.” The ninja-themed mantle has been worn by a few characters over the years, but Barton wears it the longest. This has led several theorists, like ComicBookCast2 on YouTube, to suggest he’ll become Ronin in Infinity War.
This would explain why Hawkeye hasn’t appeared in any of the trailers, as doing so would spoil his new costume. Unfortunately for Barton, one’s transformation into Ronin is usually paired with personal tragedy, so this theory could mean bad things for his family in the future.
If Hawkeye is going to be off collaborating with anyone during the events of Infinity War, it makes sense for it to be Nick Fury and Maria Hill, two of his former S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses who have also been absent in all promotional material for the film.
That’s what Redditor /u/KINGSLAYER_117 theorizes, suggesting the trio is working in the background of the plot to rebuild the spy organization before the end of the world occurs. They also specifically speculate that Hawkeye, Fury, and Hill will be searching for the lost Captain Marvel, who hasn’t been seen since the ‘90s.
Some have described Ant-Man and the Wasp - which will be released between Infinity War and Avengers 4 - as an “inbetweenquel,” and that’s something with which Disney actually has experience. The company previously released Lion King 1.5, an inbetweenquel that showed fans all the things Timon and Pumbaa had secretly been up to behind the scenes during Lion King.
Redditor /u/AdventurePee theorizes Ant-Man and the Wasp will serve a similar purpose, showing fans what Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne were up to while Infinity War was going down.
This post by Redditor /u/EddiOS42 is more of an observation than a fan theory, but it could be an accurate prediction regarding Clint Barton’s role in Infinity War. During the events of Captain America: Civil War, Hawkeye wryly quips, “I retire for, what, like five minutes, and it all goes to sh*t.”
Perhaps that could be a bit of foreshadowing that Hawkeye will have simply retired before Infinity War begins, only to see the world start falling apart around him, necessitating his return once again.