Rumor of the Day: Has Hawkeye's identity change for Avengers 4 been confirmed?

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Production on the still-untitled fourth Avengers film is now well underway in Atlanta, and while Avengers: Infinity War doesn't hit theater for another six months, that means fans are already scouring the internet for clues and secrets about where Earth's Mightiest Heroes are headed. Well, it seems we may have stumbled upon a big one.

Last month, a rumor began circulating that Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), would be adopting a new identity in the wake of Infinity War: Ronin, the katana-wielding hero Barton became in the wake of Civil War in the mid-2000s. At the time, Barton took on a new mantle in order to help guard his identity, and allowed Kate Bishop to take the Hawkeye name in his stead. As Ronin he appeared in New Avengers and was an important part of the Secret Invasion event before eventually returning to the Hawkeye name. As for the movie version of the character, we have no idea what would actually bring about such a codename change, but it's rumored he will be in a "dark place" after the events of Infinity War.

Now, those reports have photographic evidence to back them up, thanks to these set pics of Renner that began circulating this week.

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Now, most of what you see there is just a long black coat. That's because it's common practice for actors in major blockbusters to cover their costumes while in the open air to avoid any spoilers. As the coat billows open a bit, though, you notice shinguards and kneepads Renner's wearing. The black with gold trim is a clear nod to Clint Barton's Ronin costume, which would seem to confirm the rumors.

Is it actual confirmation? No. At this point it's still just speculation, and we likely won't know for sure until after Infinity War lands in theaters. It's possible this costume change is just a nod to the Ronin era for Barton, and not necessarily a full-on identity swap. It's also possible the costume designers just thought the Ronin suit looked cool and wanted to play around with the look a bit. Either way, the change represents what could be an exciting new chapter for Barton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters May 4, 2018, with the untitled sequel arriving May 3, 2019.