Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers

Two pretty big rumors regarding The Avengers 2 are whipping around the Web today, so we figured they were worth a look. The first one seems most plausible. It concerns the possible inclusion of the Black Panther in the sequel and the hint comes from the chairman of South Africa’s Cape Town Film Studios. He said Marvel has been in contact about filming the Joss Whedon sequel there.

The second rumor is that Hawkeye could be recast. Jeremy Renner played the character in Thor as well as The Avengers, but citing a lack of activity in Phase Two and his negative comments about his role in The Avengers, one source believes the character could become the next War Machine or Hulk.

Bleeding Cool reported the Black Panther rumor:

Anant Singh, the chairman of Cape Town’s film studios, was featured in a bulletin on the Cape Town radio station 5FM yesterday. His big reveal was that Marvel Studios have been in touch and are interested in filming some of the next Avengers film in the area.

Let’s connect the dots. Marvel has so far shot all their films either in the US or the UK. Why would there be a need to film in South Africa? Well, the Black Panther character is from Africa (from a fictional country, but close enough) and South Africa plays a big part in lots of his stories. Could The Avengers go on some kind of recruiting mission?

Also of note, there have been rumors of Black Panther being introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years so it’s a safe bet the character has been discussed. Remember though, this is all speculation. The only fact is the head of the studio said Marvel had inquired. They might not even film there. But it’s curious.

Another Marvel curiosity is the whereabouts of Hawkeye in Phase 2. We know exactly where every single other Avenger is during this time…except the expert S.H.I.E.L.D. archer played by Jeremy Renner.  There’s no confirmation that he won’t appear in Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy, but there’s no suggestion that he will either. His employers at S.H.I.E.L.D. seem to be at the center of the Cap sequel, and his good friend Black Widow plays a role, so where the heck is Hawkeye? There’s no mention of Renner anywhere.

Enter the rumor, which surfaces from Comic Book Movie. They cite an anonymous source (is there any other kind lately?) who says Marvel was unhappy with the actor’s comments after The Avengers (complaining it was not the character arc he signed up for; read them here) and that they’re looking to recast the character, as they did with War Machine and Hulk. One possibility would be to hold him out of the movies and assign the new actor to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., giving the show a weekly Avengers presence without the Avengers paycheck.

It’s important to remember that where the Black Panther rumor at least had some factual basis, this one does not. We don’t know how good CBM’s source is. All we know is when you line the evidence up, it seems incredibly plausible.

Which of these two rumors do you believe more? Do you think just bringing Hawkeye back for The Avengers 2 is sufficient?

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