Although Avengers: Infinity War boasted the most ambitious crossover in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, allowing Spiderman, Captain America, Black Widow, Wakandans, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Asgardian kings among others, to hang out together, there were two notable characters missing from the action: Hawkeye, the arrow-wielding assassin portrayed by Jeremy Renner, and Ant-Man, the ex-con-turned-shape-shifting-superhero portrayed by Paul Rudd. Missing from promotional materials, fans were worried about their absence. They found over the weekend that neither figure (who both happen to be fathers) were in the film.
But why? And where are they? In the beginning of the film, Captain America mentions, almost off-hand, that both took plea deals as a result of the Sokovia Accords, the controversial super-hero registration laws that led to the events in Captain America: Civil War. Those plea deals provided that both Hawkeye and Ant-Man were confined to house arrest. The other heroes — Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Captain America, and Black Widow have presumably been on the run since the events of Civil War.
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It’s fairly obvious why the two superhero crusaders decided to take the deal: they have families to protect. Hawkeye’s wife and three children were revealed in Avengers: Age of Ultron as a surprise when Hawkeye takes his superheroes-on-the-lam to a “safe place.” Ant-Man’s entire arc in his own standalone film is related to him working to get custody of his young daughter who he shares with his ex-wife after being imprisoned for essentially being a modern Robin-Hood. A petty criminal, he does his time and is attempting to stay straight, before being recruited by Hank Pym, the creator of Pym Particles and originator of the first Ant-Man suit. The only way he re-gained access to his daughter was by saving her life. Despite his knack for shirking the law, it appears that after fighting with Captain America to get rid of the Sokovia Accords, and being imprisoned on the Raft, the underwater prison for superheroes in the MCU, Ant-Man only has one focus: protecting his family.
Of course, we likely won’t know the full story until Ant-Man and the Wasp, slated to be released on July 6, fills in the dots of the period of time between Civil War and before Infinity War. Chances are, Ant-Man’s ability to stretch into other dimensions will come in handy during the next Infinity War. As for Hawkeye? Let’s hope he puts that bow to good use and aims for Thanos’s head in Avengers 4.