In an earlier interview, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said that the Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, would be heavily featured in Avengers: Age of Ultron because director Joss Whedon wants to focus on characters who do not have their own franchises. Now, Feige has let us in on another plot revelation…that the Hulk and Hawkeye would also have large roles in the Avengers sequel, for the same reason.
Feige says, “Part of the fun of Age of Ultron was saying, ‘You’ve seen another Iron Man adventure before, you see another Thor adventure and another Cap adventure, but we haven’t seen the Green Goliath again.’ So that was important in the characters you haven’t seen – Hulk being one of them and Hawkeye being one of them – Ultron will make up for it. They have very big parts in The Age of Ultron.”
Given that Marvel/Disney are reluctant to make a Hulk sequel, due to the middling box office response to the two previous Hulk films, Whedon and Feige feel that the only way to ensure the success of a Hulk film with Mark Ruffalo is to increase the characters popularity to the point where audiences are clamoring for a solo film. The best way to do that, Whedon and Feige reckon, is to use the forum of the Avengers films to play-up the best aspects of the character, such as the already-classic “Puny God” scene in the first film, as well as other memorable moments that green-skinned hero had in The Avengers.
As for Hawkeye and the Black Widow; they may never be marquee material for their own films, but they are interesting characters who have a following from the comics, and are played by talented and popular stars, so it would be a shame to keep them limited to supporting roles; forever in the shadow of Downey, Evans and Hemsworth.
Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye, has gone on record about being very unhappy with the way his character was used in The Avengers, so it’s not surprising that Whedon is making an effort to keep Renner happy this time around.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled for release on May 1st, 2015.