Clint Barton is the final member of the original six Avengers to receive a title project. The first two episodes of Hawkeye premiere on Disney+ on November 24, and the show promises to dive deeper into Jeremy Renner's MCU sharpshooter than any project before it.
Fans have gotten to know Clint Barton as a supporting character in some projects and a core member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in others. First introduced in 2011's Thor and last seen as an image in the post-credits scene of Black Widow, the opportunity to dive into Barton has come few and far between.
The most time for audiences to get a look into the life of Hawkeye was in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. The famous (or infamous) Barton farm scene was the first time a peak behind the Barton curtain was shown. MCU fans learned that Clint has a wife, and kids, and a private life of his own when he is not being an Avenger. This was a great look into the everyday superhero that Clint Barton is as a man amongst gods.
But another scene from that movie gave another look into Clint's personality and a character trait that ended up being a major part of the foundation for his upcoming solo series.
Clint Barton: The Mentor
During Hawkeye's virtual press conference, Comicbook.com's Brandon Davis asked Chief Creative Officer at Marvel Studios Kevin Feige what he was hoping to see from Hawkeye and what he was hoping to take advantage of in this story that we hadn't gotten to see before.
Feige's response began by praising the man behind the bow, "Jeremy Renner".
"Well, primarily it's Jeremy Renner. We want to see more Jeremy Renner. And more Jeremy Renner. And that goes back to the earliest days. We are both grandfathers now of the MCU. And the trust that Jeremy had to jump into the MCU before moderators said things like "welcome to the MCU". It was "hey do you want to do this thing with us, and it would be pretty cool, and I think it could be neat." And he said yes, and then he won an Academy Award, and he still said yes. And I thought that was pretty cool."
After gushing over one of his most loyal leading men, the MCU producer went into the time fans have spent with Clint Barton so far in the MCU.
"All of these roles have been fairly small. And then Ultron, we got a little more. And then he just starts stealing all of these scenes. But it was always the intention to explore much more. The character's history is vast. And also, the Matt Fraction comics, which I am sure people have been spending a lot of time talking about, was a big tonal inspiration for us. And seeing that and this new dynamic."
Feige went on to talk about Hawkeye's knack for being the mentor for younger heroes and how one specific Avengers: Age of Ultron scene featuring Wanda Maximoff acted as a "kernel" for the Hawkeye series storyline:
"There are moments within all of Jeremy's appearances where you see this mentor under the surface. This reluctant hero, this reluctant mentor under the surface. One of my favorite scenes in all of our films is the scene with Clint and Wanda in Sokovia. Where he basically says, 'When you go out that door, you're an Avenger.' And motivates her to join the fight. And that was the kernel of how we could connect our MCU incarnation of Clint Barton into the Matt Fraction storyline in relationship with Kate Bishop."
Marvel fans will remember this endearing moment from a pause during the Sokovian-based final battle of Age of Ultron, where the non-superpowered Clint Barton comforted a young and regretful Wanda Maximoff while offering her an opportunity to join the good fight with the Avengers:
Clint Barton: "Are you up for this? Are you? Look, I just need to know cause the city is flying. The city is flying. We're fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow, none of this makes sense. But I'm going back out there 'cause it's my job. And I can't do my job and babysit. Doesn't matter what you did or where you were. If you go out there, you fight and you fight to kill. Stay in here, you're good, I'll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger."
Wanda, of course, did step up to the challenge as she stepped out that door.
For those who do not know, the Matt Fraction/David Aja comic book run of Hawkeye is a heavy influence on the Disney+ series. In that run, the dynamic of Clint Barton (the mentor) and Kate Bishop (the mentee) is a huge focus in the story. This also seems to be the case for the Hawkeye series in the MCU.
Wanda Maximoff and Kate Bishop: Students of Clint Barton
The idea of leaning into Clint Barton being a mentor is such an ideal way to merge the Barton from the famed Fraction/Aja comics and the Jeremy Renner version in the MCU.
Barton has been a character waiting in the wings to get his spotlight since 2011. This is not discrediting his major role in the Infinity Saga as one of the original six Avengers. Unfortunately, Clint has been the victim of the script in his biggest moments in the MCU so far.
In The Avengers, Clint drew the short straw of being possessed by Loki, thus taking him out of the formative moments from the Avengers team. In Age of Ultron, the Barton family scene is viewed by some as the "low point" of the film because it slows the pace down to a conversation around a dinner table (even though others love this character work.) And he was completely removed from the Avengers: Infinity War story in order to add impact to his journey in Avengers: Endgame.
So, for an entire series to dive deeper into the Clint Barton character, Feige and company needed to find the moments in his catalog that were worth building upon. For as many people there are that don't love the Barton farm moments of Age of Ultron, there are twice as many who praise the pep-talk scene from the same movie where Clint Barton is candid, encouraging, and honest with Wanda Maximoff about taking the leap into being a superhero. Because it is his job.
Being able to take the energy from this scene and extrapolate it into an entire series where Clint is the grizzled veteran superhero mentoring the young up-and-coming Kate Bishop is a stroke of genius and world-building. From that point on, Wanda's story began and grew into one of the most beloved character arches in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hitting a climax in WandaVision earlier this year. If that is any sign of what is to come from Kate Bishop under the wing of Hawkeye, fans should be prepared for the next great MCU superstar.