The world shook as the Avengers: Endgame trailer dropped early Friday morning. Not only did we get our first look at the movie, but fans were finally given the long-awaited title of the movie. While the title of the film was debated in the months leading up to it and conflicting reports about whether it would, in fact, be called Endgame or if the Russo brothers would go with Annihilation. An image posted by the Russo brothers which instructed fans to “look hard” appears to confirm the title was always going to be Endgame. No matter the title, the world was ready for the trailer and it only took 24 hours for the trailer to become the most viewed in history.
One of the surprises the trailer revealed was the debut of Clint Barton as Ronin rather than his familiar, old Hawkeye look. While many comic readers will be familiar with Hawkeye’s time as Ronin, casual fans may be wondering the difference between the two. It’s obviously the same person playing both characters, in film and in print, but the actions, motives, and feeling behind the characters is different. There are also some subtle differences in the origin of the character, as well. Let’s take a look at his comic book origins.
In the comics, Barton takes on the mantle of Ronin following his death, resurrection, and events of Civil War. At the time, Kate Bishop had been using the Hawkeye name after Barton had been killed. He sacrificed himself after his arrows had caught fire during a battle against the Kree, who were brought there by the Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, after she went crazy during the House of M storyline. When Hawkeye returned to existence for the second time, he adopted the name Ronin and began using swords instead of a bow and arrow. He had borrowed the name from the original Ronin, Maya Lopez AKA Echo.
Several other characters would go on to use the name Ronin, ranging from Blade to Marc Spector to Alexei Shostakov. Whether the character was good or bad or antihero depended on who played them and the time at which they were playing them. The look, feel, and weaponry of Ronin is largely the same. Swords, nunchucks and batons rule the day with Ronin. He is also an expert at hand-to-hand combat, as one would expect from a person donning ninja gear and rocking swords.
How and why Hawkeye becomes Ronin in the MCU has yet to be revealed. It seems incredibly likely that Hawkeye lost his family in the Decimation and he is traveling the globe as Ronin, either looking for a way to bringing them back or meting out justice. This isn’t meant to criticize the reasons behind his change, it just seems fairly straightforward given how Avengers: Infinity War ended. As the movie draws closer, this seems like one of the clips they could show in a second trailer without giving away extra info.
But Ronin wasn’t the only character we saw that will change the outcome of the war against Thanos. Marvel revealed that Ant-Man is back, out of the Quantum Realm, and has tracked down the Avengers to help them out. While the trailer is sure to mention that the images Captain America and Black Widow are from the front door, eagle-eyed viewers should notice that “archive” is lit up, possibly hinting at the fact that this is old footage. Whether or not he is actually at the door or sent the message through other means — think Janet Van Dyne in Ant-Man and the Wasp — wasn’t revealed in the trailer. But regardless of how he is delivering the message, the fact that he’s managed to leave the Quantum Realm means plenty of good things for the Avengers.
For the uninitiated, the Quantum Realm is more than just a mini-world. It is capable of allowing people to travel through space and time, something that our heroes could desperately use. What seemed to be a passive warning to avoid a “time vortex” in the post-credit scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp by Janet Van Dyne is actually a look toward the future of the MCU, which will rely heavily upon the cosmos and the Quantum Realm. The time vortex is likely how our heroes are going to try and undo much of what was done in the Decimation by the Mad Titan.
We’ve known about the Quantum Realm since Ant-Man, but we don’t know the full capacity of its usage, even after Janet became a superhero with healing powers after spending 30 years in there in Ant-Man and the Wasp. We know that “all concepts of time and space” do not apply in the Quantum Realm, so it’s conceivable that they could use it for everything from time travel to healing and regeneration. It’s not exactly out of the realm of possibility that Ant-Man helps Captain America and Black Widow travel through time to regain their lost friends and family.
Time travel is something that the MCU has flirted with by way of the Time Stone, but the Quantum Realm allows for time travel outside of the Infinity Stones. As the movie approaches, more and more people are going to speculate on what happens when the good guys get control of the gauntlet or acquire the Infinity Stones. If they use the Gauntlet like they did in the comics, which is to say that they undid everything Thanos did, some people might not care for that. It will lessen the impact of any sacrifices and diminish the moments of raw emotion, such as when Thanos killed Loki.
Avengers: Endgame is sure to shatter records of all types. Fans have been anxiously awaiting the close to the Avengers franchise as we currently know it. Whatever happens, this is going to be the last ride for the original cast of Avengers. It’s going to be an emotional goodbye and that’s without any on-screen deaths. The end is here, but the film promises one last, great ride for the viewers.
Avengers: Endgame will open worldwide on April 26, 2019.