According to Jeremy Renner, the Avengers stars are still close and have a private group text. Since 2011’s Thor, the American actor has played adept archer Clint Barton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making him a founding member of the on-screen Avengers squad. Renner, who has spent years in the background, starring in the Disney+ drama Hawkeye, which launches its first two episodes on November 24.
Despite the fact that fans have been living with this rendition of Marvel superheroes for more than a decade, the Avengers team has altered drastically since its formation in 2012’s The Avengers. This renowned first team-up film included the eponymous squad of Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, as well as a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents offering some essential support. Half of that lineup has either died or reached the age of retirement, with the soon-to-release Hawkeye rumored to be Renner’s swansong as he passes the bow-and-arrow to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop.
An interviewer for Phase Zero brings this up to Renner, playfully asking whether he competes with Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo to be the last man standing in the shrinking Avengers group chat, but Renner assures him that the actors haven’t died. In fact, he claims that the original cast members’ group chat is still highly active. They are still close enough that they don’t use it to discuss their work, but rather to communicate what’s going on in their personal lives:
“Well, just because you die on camera doesn’t mean you die in real life, so yeah, we have a group chat, and it’s all of us. Some that are still alive and “dead on the screen.” Yeah, we’re all very, very good friends, and we don’t really speak too much about our job. And that’s what’s also great about being, you know, Avenger friends… We speak about our kids and, you know, divorces and marriages and house buildings, we speak about just our life stuff… It is cool! Our friendship is, it’s been very, very special.”
Members of the Avengers cast have already commented about their group chat, and the original co-stars obviously remain close, regardless of who’s time in the MCU has come to an end. Renner’s remark is equivocal regarding who qualifies to be a part of the exclusive text chain, considering that other Avengers have come and gone in the years since the team’s inception, including Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, and Paul Bettany’s Vision. Only the originals received the special Avengers tattoo, with the exception of Ruffalo, whom Scarlett Johansson referred to as a “party pooper.”
The camaraderie amongst the performers behind The Avengers has been a wonderful gift for the series, and knowing that they continue in contact outside of a professional environment is gratifying. That extratextual information only complicates the transition into Phase 4, as the founding Avengers are gradually giving way to a new generation of heroes who may not be able to carry the universe as well as their predecessors. The MCU’s future is unknown, but for those who witnessed the Infinity Saga unfold on the big screen, the trek from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame will always be worth it.