This article contains Black Widow spoilers.
As the pandemic winds down, Marvel is opening the floodgates with endless movies they’ve been building up alongside their string of Disney+ shows. One of the big series on the horizon is Hawkeye, starring Jeremy Renner reprising his role as badass archer Clint Barton. The retired Avenger gives it one more go in a story inspired by one of his most popular comic book runs.
Hawkeye Release Date
Back at SDCC 2019 Marvel announced that Hawkeye would arrive in Fall of 2021, but it’s not yet clear if the COVID pandemic impacted that. But considering how What If starts its 10 episode run on August 11, that would make the earliest Hawkeye could arrive Oct. 6.
Depending on whether Hawkeye or Ms. Marvel will be the next of the Disney+ live action shows, that will also impact the potential release date. Ms. Marvel is said to be six episodes, which could put Hawkeye as late as Dec. 1. Unless Disney+ decides to start double-dipping on their new releases, but I highly doubt that.
As mentioned, Jeremy Renner will return as Clint Barton. Though Ben Sakamoto, Ava Russo, and Cade Woodward will return as Clint’s children Cooper, Lila, and Nathaniel in some form, there’s been no confirmation thus far of Linda Cardellini reprising her role as Laura Barton.
Hailee Steinfeld will co-star as Kate Bishop, Clint’s partner and protégé who also goes by Hawkeye in the comics. Alaqua Cox will be playing Maya Lopez, otherwise known as Echo, a deaf woman with move-copying abilities similar to that of the Taskmaster. Tony Dalton will appear as Jack Duquesne, also known as the Swordsman, who mentored Hawkeye in his early days. Fra Fee will be the Clown, an assassin sent to kill our hero.
We have more info on all the new characters coming to Hawkeye and the MCU here.
Speaking of assassins sent to kill Hawkeye, Florence Pugh will reprise her role from Black Widow. Yelena Belova will be around in an attempt to take out Clint, both for a paycheck and because of her understanding that he was responsible for her sister Natasha’s death. We wrote more about that here.
Oh, and a dog named Jolt will be playing the part of Lucky, better known as Pizza Dog.
Clint Barton first appeared in Thor as a SHIELD operative watching as Thor rampaged through various agents on his way to reclaim his mystical hammer, Mjolnir. He returned in Avengers, where Loki took over his mind and used him as a pawn against the other heroes. Thanks to getting beaten up by his best friend and fellow agent Black Widow, Hawkeye regained control of his mind. The two of them joined Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk in stopping Loki’s plans for global domination, thereby founding the Avengers.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hawkeye rejoined the Avengers as part of a mission to crush the remnants of the terrorist cell HYDRA. Afterwards, he helped defeat the android threat Ultron, an adventure where he inspired Wanda Maximoff to become a hero. Clint’s rival Pietro Maximoff died saving Clint’s life. The same story also revealed that Clint had a secret family that lived off the grid.
With Ultron defeated, Clint went into retirement, but returned to help Captain America and Wanda fight against Iron Man’s forces during Captain America: Civil War. Hawkeye was captured and put in a special prison. He was eventually released, but put under house arrest. This suited him just fine as it meant he could simply be with his family.
As the villain Thanos removed half of all life from existence, Clint’s wife and children vanished, as shown in Avengers: Endgame. Dressing in black, a broken and furious Clint toured the world and slaughtered any criminal he could get his hands on. Natasha Romanoff came to him to recruit him in a plan to undo Thanos’ actions. As the Avengers used time travel to obtain the six Infinity Stones, Hawkeye and Black Widow went to the planet Vormir to obtain the Soul Stone. To their horror, they discovered that the only way to obtain it was to lose someone they loved. After much fighting, Black Widow sacrificed herself and fell off a cliff so Hawkeye could be awarded the Soul Stone.
Distraught over Natasha’s death, Hawkeye was still able to resurrect his family. After helping defeat Thanos’ forces, Clint retired yet again, happily reunited with his family.
Sometime later, Natasha’s sister and fellow Black Widow Yelena Belova was hired by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine with a mission to take out Hawkeye. Why? We don’t know yet, but it’s definitely going to lead to a big confrontation between Florence Pugh’s Yelena, Renner’s Clint, and Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop on Hawkeye.
The series appears to be based on the critically-acclaimed 22-issue run of Hawkeye written by Matt Fraction with art by David Aja and others, which ran from late 2012 to 2015.
The comic dealt with Hawkeye’s off-time away from the Avengers where he dealt with running his own apartment complex while working alongside his annoyed protégé Kate Bishop. His dealings would get him in trouble with a faction of European mafiosi nicknamed the “Tracksuit Draculas,” known for their habit of constantly calling people “bro.” Their war would soon bring in the Clown, a highly-competent killer in clown makeup. Clint is not only antagonized by the Tracksuit Draculas, but his own failings, which cause him to constantly alienate his allies, leaving him alone and desperate for help he claims he doesn’t need.
How will all of this translate into the MCU?
Kate Bishop still needs to be introduced and established. With little news on Linda Barton being part of the show, it’s very likely that Clint’s five-year stretch as an amoral vigilante would have long-term repercussions and possibly lead to a separation. That would at least put him in the situation where he’d be living alone in an apartment complex.
Echo and Yelena didn’t have any part in the Hawkeye comic series, but it’s not like the MCU ever makes a 100% faithful adaptation to the source material.