Vera Farmiga’s brief appearance in the trailer for Disney+’s new Hawkeye series certainly set the speculation train alight. “Who could she possibly be playing?” “She looks pretty evil.”
Good news: she’s playing Eleanor Bishop, Kate’s mom; she is in fact pretty evil; and she doesn’t appear to have a whit of ’80s frumpy ex-nun to her character. She’s just going to be a wealthy, amoral jerk. And also maybe a vampire.
Who Is Eleanor Bishop?
Eleanor has a place in Kate’s story going back to her earliest days – she’s mentioned in Young Avengers Special #1 in 2006, shortly after Kate was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung. Eleanor is the wife of Manhattan publishing magnate Derek Bishop, but she was estranged from him and frequently off cavorting around the world before she died mysteriously on a skiing trip in Boulder, Colorado.
She didn’t make an official appearance until recently, when Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero formally introduced her in Kate’s 2017 Hawkeye solo series (which had killer covers by Eisner-nominated Julian Totino Tedesco). It was Thompson who first seeded that there might be something amiss with Eleanor’s death, and shortly thereafter, we were treated to her return as Kate’s solo series turned into the delightful West Coast Avengers. There, we discovered that she had been working with Madame Masque (the closest thing Kate has to her own personal rogue) in an effort to bring Derek down for his involvement in her death. Sorta.
Will Hawkeye Have Vampires?
It’s almost certainly not going to play into the show, but it’s strongly implied that Eleanor survived because she was made into a vampire by a west coast vampire cult, the Temple of the Shifting Sun. Kate’s gang of reality TV star Avengers – including reformed ex-teen fascist Quentin Quire, self-aware reality hopper Gwenpool, Young Avenger alum America Chavez, badass in a vibranium suit Alloy, and Alloy’s brother Fuse (a cooler, younger version of Absorbing Man, basically) – infiltrates a cult meeting where the Temple of the Shifting Sun is trying to use America Chavez to give them the ability to walk during the day. While there, Eleanor and Kate reconnected, she admitted to trying to use Masque to get back at her ex-husband, and Kate called her on the contradictions in her story (Derek was also working with Masque at the time).
This will almost CERTAINLY not be the case in the show. Most MCU media is following one of two tracks. On one track, you have Loki and What If? dealing with multiversal nonsense. On the other, you have shows like WandaVision and The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, working towards an inevitable Young Avengers climax. There is cross-pollination between the two streams, but not enough to justify throwing Blade seeds into a show that’s already stuffed half with story from the Matt Fraction/David Aja seminal Hawkeye run, half with Kelly Thompson’s wonderful work with Kate Bishop. But anything is possible, so maybe those Tracksuit Draculas will be real actual vampires, as well.
Marvel’s Hawkeye premieres on Disney+ on Nov. 24.