Surprise! Marvel is going to recast one of the strongest characters from its films!

Black Widow is about to lose her good buddy Hawkeye. This is very bad news for Widow — who, if you haven’t watched the Marvel movies you’re missing out on one of the best parts of them.

Wanda isn’t the only good part of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. In the Captain America: Civil War movie, she was among the most charismatic and also — best of all — not destroyed. Instead, the self-described psychopath-hero is called to act as a conciliatory force, and that’s what Johansson does so well.

Because a smash cartoon hottie is no bad thing when trying to lift a character who is funny and cool. And Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is a suave, likeable Avenger. He’s a good match for Widow, with a good supporting cast of companions who make him feel at home. Hawkeye has most of the key attributes you need to make a comic-book movie great. He’s moody. He’s effeminate. He has a surprisingly good body. And he’s got a fondness for Arby’s.

Let’s say it: Hawkeye can smile, and it looks good on him.

With Hawkeye off the market, Widow will probably be left looking for another partner, and she may fall prey to the M.O. of female superhero movies: lame romance.

I blame each Avengers movie. If you do a slapdash mashup of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, one pretty lady character is really all you get.

Much better to throw Hawkeye in. The trailer shows a really smartass vigilante who doesn’t go around killing people, just dodging bullets. His one-liners are golden, and it looks like he’s in a bookish dude’s body (he has a Jimmy Stewart type feature about him).

We still don’t know what happens to him when he inevitably gets replaced, but don’t count him out for long. After all, he’s survived two other iterations: not really being among the Avengers in the comics — part of the story that made Thor become a warrior on loan from the Collector — and joining the Avengers in the mid-2000s, not long after the death of his wife and daughter.

(Fun fact: one of the reasons why they took Hawkeye out of the 2008 movies is that before his character got his own movie, he wasn’t very popular. He was a supporting character to the first Hawkeye movie and wasn’t given much of a narrative arc. When he didn’t factor in Marvel’s The Avengers, it would seem that he is similarly unrewarded for his own movies.)

The comic book hero was most famous as Clint Barton, a sharpshooter who trained in both archery and martial arts. He once fought for the Underoos as Red Hulk, and he also practiced as a shape-shifter who could warp into various positions to make things look fake when he tried to harm people.

Like Deadpool, Hawkeye is black and anti-establishment. (I wasn’t a fan of the last three movies which included the character, but even they eventually deepened his backstory.) His age does seem to be an issue: he’s a guy who was born in the ’70s.

The debut of Hawkeye may prove that inter-corporate synergy doesn’t need to be sledgehammered away from the Marvel movies, one reason why they’re so successful. Universal is celebrating the Thor and The Avengers movies by launching Universal’s first-ever property based on a Marvel Studios character. It’s launching the studio’s first movie scheduled for next year, featuring the character.

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