Oh, for those long-ago days when the season of Renner was first in bloom! In the span of one calendar year, two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner staged a franchise blitzkrieg, playing William “neo-Cruise” Brandt in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Aaron “neo-Damon” Cross in The Bourne Legacy. And the jewel in the crown: A role in The Avengers, the highest-grossing movie ever made by anyone besides James Cameron. And not just any role: Renner was playing an Avenger! What could be better!

Well, as Renner himself admits in a new interview with MTV’s Josh Horowitz, Hawkeye had a pretty thankless part in the first superteam mega-mashup, spending most of the movie playing a nefarious mind-controlled henchmen for the bad guys. Noting that corralling all the superheroes into one movie was a nigh-impossible task for Avengers writer Joss Whedon, Renner sheepishly explains: “The only way he could do it, and have me in the movie with any sort of sizable part, is to have been the bad guy.”

Renner is quite positive about the experience of filming Age of Ultron–“What we talked about for the first one is what we’re able to put into the second one”–but when asked about the possibility of a Hawkeye spinoff, he plays it cool. “I’m happy to be in the ensemble,” he says. “I’m not scratching and clawing to do a solo movie by any means… I think he’s a utility guy that can bounce around into other people’s universes.” Renner pauses. “Especially Cap.” He pauses. “Three.” Then he winks, and winks again:

Lest you think that Renner has just revealed that Hawkeye will be hopping into the untitled Captain America threequel–taking over from Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in the role of “Avenger/SHIELD agent who is Cap’s sidekick/potential love interest”–Renner finishes the thought by explainin’, “There’s whispers of that.” Which could imply that Renner has heard whispers that Hawkeye has a role in Cap 3, or it could imply that Renner reads the same casting rumors that you read.

“Who knows, man,” Renner concludes, perhaps dreaming of another universe where 2015 will be a Renner-ific year and the three biggest movies were Hawkeye movie and Bourne Legacy: Double Cross and Mission: Impossible Origins–Brandted to Kill. Watch the full interview at