With WandaVision on the way, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier nearly ready to drop, Marvel’s next Disney+ series, Hawkeye, has flown a bit under the radar since its announcement. That changed yesterday, with new set pictures and a massive casting drop. But who the heck are all these characters? And what might the cast tell us about the story? We have some guesses, and only a couple of them involve the Circus of Crime.
Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld)
Probably the biggest news is the finally official confirmation that Kate Bishop would be a co-star of the show. Hailee Steinfield plays this possibly future Young Avenger as she joins her namesake hero (Jeremy Renner) on a quest through New York City.
Bishop was created in the comics by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung as part of the 2005 Young Avengers team. She’s the daughter of obscenely wealthy and inattentive Manhattanites, who discovered her father was a bad sort, was the victim of an assault, and became a martial arts/weapons prodigy because of it. She joined the Young Avengers when the team attempted to save her and hundreds of other guests at her sister’s wedding. The fledgling heroes screwed it up, and Kate ended up saving everyone with her martial prowess.
At the time, Clint Barton was dead, so she took on the name Hawkeye to honor his place in the Avengers. She eventually moved to the west coast and opened up her own detective agency/branch of the Avengers, and is now the far more popular Hawkeye.
For purposes of what looks like this story, she became a good friend/little sister to Clint, and he called her in to help him fight off various criminals trying to steal his apartment building from him.
Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga)
Eleanor Bishop is Kate’s mother. She spent most of Kate’s childhood estranged from Kate’s father, Jack, until she supposedly died on a trip to Colorado. It turned out her husband, Derek, was deeply involved with Marvel’s supervillain underworld, and she was trying to get away from him when she was killed.
Her death was suspicious, though, and when Kate was older, she started investigating her father’s ties to Madame Masque as a means to discover if he had a hand in Eleanor’s death. She discovers some evidence that her mother may be alive, but not before her and Clint get into a scuffle with Masque and her team that ends with everyone getting away, and Masque’s mysterious partner being revealed: Eleanor herself.
We’ll stop there because it gets weird after that (Eleanor is a half-vampire on the board of the Masters of Evil don’t sweat it), but for the purposes of the show, Eleanor is alive and working with the same very bad people Kate’s father was, only for revenge.
Kazimierz Kazimierczak: Clown (Fra Fee)
Kazimerz was created as part of the beloved Matt Fraction/David Aja run that much of this show seems to be drawing from. He was born into a Polish circus family that met tragedy and led to him emigrating to the United States. He lost another friend in an explosion, and that caused a break in Kazimierz, leading to him killing people indiscriminately and eventually farming out his services as a mercenary.
Kazimerz worked with a number of New York crime groups to clear out Clint Barton’s Brooklyn apartment building, and was part of the climactic battle between the Hawkeyes, the apartment residents, Lucky the Pizza Dog, and the Tracksuit Draculas. Please note that as awesome as that sentence is, the execution of the comic is even better.
Jack Duquesne: Swordsman (Tony Dalton)
The Swordsman is enjoying something of a renaissance lately. Jack Duquense was one of the Avengers’ earliest villains, a drunk gambler who taught Clint Barton how to fight with bladed weapons as a member of the Carson Carnival of Travelling Wonders. He bounced back and forth between good and bad, joining the Avengers under false pretenses as a double agent for The Mandarin, then turning on the bad guys, then returning to a life of crime, then eventually completely reforming and joining the Avengers full time.
He sacrificed his life in battle with Kang the Conqueror to save his teammate Mantis, after which he was resurrected in a Coatati (alient sentient plants) body and it turns into a thing in Empyre, but that’s probably irrelevant to the Hawkeye show.
Unless there’s an intergalactic war between the reunited Kree/Skrull empire and the plant people, but that seems like more of an MCU Phase 6 thing.
Yelena Belova: Black Widow (Florence Pugh)
This is the other big news from the cast announcement. Yelena Belova is a fellow Red Room trained Russian assassin (along with Scarlett Johannson’s Natasha Romanoff), and it looks like she’s taking over as the MCU’s Black Widow after the upcoming movie.
Clint and Nat have a long history in the MCU, and an even longer one in the comics – Nat is, along with Mockingbird, one of Clint’s most important exes, and the crux of the very good Tales of Suspense story from a few years back that saw Hawkeye and Winter Soldier teaming up. However, that was Natasha, not Yelena, so it remains to be seen exactly how this new Black Widow will fit into Clint’s life.
Maya Lopez: Echo (Alaqua Cox)
ECHO IS AWESOME. She is a deaf, native, good Taskmaster – she has “photographic reflexes”and can replicate anything she sees. However, she was primarily a Daredevil character until New Avengers, when she was revealed to be the first character in the Marvel Universe to wear the Ronin outfit – the same Ronin costume that Clint was wearing in Avengers: Endgame. She’s also the daughter of…
Willie Lincoln: Crazy Horse (Zahn McClarnon)
Crazy Horse worked for The Kingpin and died at Wilson Fisk’s hands, but as he passed, he made Fisk swear to raise his daughter. Fisk did, giving Maya the best of everything, and sending her to the best schools before bringing her in as an assassin he pointed at Daredevil.
When she discovered that he was Matt Murdock (who Maya was involved with in her civilian identity), she realized the lies Fisk had been telling her, and left his service. She later reappeared, disgraced, as Ronin, and joined the Avengers. She met Barton through her Avengers work, and they eventually slept together during Secret Invasion.
Lucky the Pizza Dog (unknown)
Lucky is a VERY GOOD DOG. If you don’t believe me, just look.
Lucky is a good pup who Clint liberated from the Tracksuit Mafia during their squabble in Brooklyn. Lucky was also the POV character for one of the best issues of a superhero comic of all time, Hawkeye #11.
Hawkeye doesn’t yet have a premiere date, but we expect it in late 2021 or early 2022.