Marvel Studios’ Eternals has finally hit theaters worldwide, leaving only two more MCU projects to go for 2021. Next on the docket? Hawkeye.
Inspired by the famous Matt Fraction comics run for the character, audiences will follow Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton and how he meets Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, leading to a Christmas adventure for the ages.
The show looks like it’s going to be an amusing new type of story for Hawkeye, who has never really gotten the spotlight since his debut in the MCU—Avengers: Age of Ultron is the closest he’s come.
According to Kate Bishop’s mother Eleanor (portrayed by Vera Farmiga) in the most recent promo, whatever the two are going to be up to, they may be facing “an Avengers-level threat.”
Could they actually be facing something that serious? There’s a good chance it’s simply an exaggeration from Farmiga's secretive character. Exaggeration or not, let’s go through the threats that the two masterclass archers will likely be facing in their holiday New York City adventure.
The Tracksuit Draculas (And Their Boss)
Now the apparent threat in which Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld’s heroes will be dealing with is the Tracksuit Draculas; off the bat, it’s safe to assume that they are not this so-called Avengers-level threat.
The group first appeared in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s famous run of Hawkeye back in 2012 and are simply goons causing some severe annoyances in Clint Barton’s everyday life, such as getting highly territorial over a particular apartment complex.
In the case of Hawkeye, it’s probably a little more complicated than that. The trailer alluded to a connection from when Barton was slaughtering criminals in his days as Ronin. However, Kate Bishop’s emergence in the very same Ronin outfit may have pressed just a few too many buttons.
One of their leaders, or at least a key figurehead of the organization, is Ivan Banionis. While his role in the comics isn’t much more significant than that of the goons he leads, the story real estate of a six-episode streaming series could provide Marvel Studios the opportunity to make him a more formidable character; or at the very least, a more realized one.
The Tracksuits aren’t responsible for doing much damage to Clint or Kate themselves. However, they did successfully contract someone else to help them with that.
Clown, also known as Kazimierz Kazimierczak, or Kazi, is a serial killer for hire.
An interesting parallel between him and Clint Barton is that Kazi also grew up with a circus family. Unfortunately, though, with Kazi, life events such as the death of his family and his friend Janek led to him going down a dark psychopathic road.
So now, Clown makes his money as a Mercenary, killing whomever he’s asked in the name of money. His signature look includes a powdered white, emotionless face.
The character will be played by actor Fra Free in the show and has only been glimpsed briefly. From what has been seen so far, it doesn’t look like the character will share the same appearance, or even personality, as the one from Fraction’s Hawkeye.
Interestingly enough, he is seen following Aquila Cox’s Echo around in some footage from the show. Could the two be working together?
Either way, he may be trouble for one or two people, but hardly the match for a group of Avengers. So it’s safe to assume that Clown is only one of many pawns on a bigger board.
The Struggle of Family
One of the characters joining Hawkeye is Jacques Duquesne, played by the fantastic actor Tony Dalton. In the comics, Duquesne was a carnival performer and criminal who helped train Clint Barton to gain the archery skills he now is known for.
While he is later reformed and turns into an Avenger named Swordsman, could the MCU lean more into that villainous side of the character? After all, it is an easy way to give audiences a glimpse into Clint Barton’s backstory; something fans have wanted to see for a while now.
They could even introduce Barton’s brother: Charles Bernard “Barney” Barton, who also goes by the alias Trickshot. Barney grew up with Clint and went through many of the same experiences.
However, he tended to feel overlooked next to his brother and would get jealous—notably when his idol Swordsman trained Clint, and not himself, during their time at the circus. Jealousy is a huge motivator, and it’s an easy avenue for the MCU to introduce the character; though, that’s a lot of archers for one show.
In the comics, Barney does go on to be a hero of sorts under the name of Trickshot. However, the history there is complicated as it involves manipulation by Baron Zemo and a membership to The Dark Avengers.
Now, all of these are clearly more personal threats for Clint Barton. It’s hard to see any of them elevating to an “Avengers-level-threat”—let alone being all that impactful for Kate Bishop’s introductory storyline.
That is unless Vera Farminga’s Eleanor Bishop is poised to take on the name of Madame Masque. In the comics, the villain goes by many aliases, one of them being Whitney Frost. Yes, the very same one who got the spotlight in Agent Carter’s second season.
Eleanor has been connected with Masque in the comics, having worked under her at one point. So there’s always the chance that Marvel Studios is aiming to give the character a new spin.
After all, it would provide significant personal stakes and emotional conflict to the story for Kate—and perfectly parallel Barton’s journey if his family plays an equal role in the conflict.
Yelena, Val, and a Band of Misfits
Let’s reel it back and examine the threats that may have already been established before Hawkeye even airs its first episode.
After Black Widow rolled its credits, fans were treated to a touching scene of Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova paying tribute to the late Natasha Romanoff––only to be interrupted by the incredibly rude Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Her reasoning? She’s got a new target.
It’s easy to forget that Yelena will play a role in the show, seeing as she hasn’t made any appearances in promotional material.
Last year, The Direct also reported that Yelena was set to sport a Ronin outfit, similar to the one Barton wore in Avengers: Endgame. So could the two also have shared history during those long five years?
It’s hard to think the feud between the two will last very long. Everyone knows that at some point, Yelena and Clint will have a truce, have a simple conversation, and make peace with each other.
That’s all well and good for the two of them, but it might not sit very well with Yelena’s employer. Val probably won’t be too happy about it, as she likely wants Barton gone for her own selfish needs.
So what will she do next? There are a few other people she’s probably talked to at this point, one of which being US Agent, and the other Baron Zemo, whose involvement was highly alluded to at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Is this going to be the first time fans see them in action?
If the show introduces Clint’s brother Barney, and his Trickshot persona, then having him be working for Val is a perfect fit. Especially since, as mentioned above, his comics history includes membership to the Dark Avengers—the very same group that Val may or may not be forming.
Her group of hand-selected cronies is getting up there when it comes to the threat level, but there’s one more option that would come on top.
The Kingpin of Crime
While Eleanor Bishop’s “Avengers-level threat” was likely only an exaggerated tease pointed at her daughter Kate, there is one guy who fits the bill: Kingpin.
His control tends to run deep, and anyone that has seen Netflix’s Daredevil knows this. The man was basically untouchable by everyone in the city. Not even the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen was able to do anything substantial to him for three entire seasons.
With all of those rumors of Charlie Cox returning in upcoming MCU projects as Daredevil, speculation that Vincent D’Onofrio’s villain might follow suit has been running rampant.
Fanning the fire is how the character happens to be the adopted father of Aquila Cox’s deaf superhero Echo in the comics. The puzzle pieces fit perfectly. Echo may be starting her time in the MCU under some dark influence.
Clearly, in the case of Hawkeye, fans probably shouldn’t expect to see the villain on screen much at all, at least not in this first season. But what will the character look like in the MCU, and why haven’t audiences heard about him yet?
Well, the first possible answer to that is The Blip. An event like that would cause massive power vacuums, which would provide the perfect opportunity for Wilson Fisk to rise from the shadows and claim the fair land of New York City.
But why would Hawkeye cross paths with him? Well, it’s possible that during his time as Ronin, Clint ended up stepping on the wrong toes. After all, killing that many criminals is bound to piss someone off.
Some of those people may have been the Tracksuit Draculas working under Wilson Fisk himself. After all, Kingpin has hired Clown in the past, so that would be a fun connection.
Kingpin may not be superhuman, but he’s got some formidable strength. What sets him apart is his masterminded intelligence and how perfectly he knows how to play the chess pieces of New York City.
Twice the Hawkeye
Clint Barton has tried to retire more than a few times now, and it simply never sticks. If this list of compiled villains doesn’t make it clear, it probably won’t go much better this time around, either.
At least Jeremy Renner will be getting a new partner in crime (heroism?) with Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop. The world could always use another Hawkeye.
There’s a lot of potential when it comes to world-building given the threats the two are going to be facing. If Kingpin is introduced, then that opens the world to Daredevil’s return—not to mention his potential adopted daughter, Maya Lopez, is getting her own spinoff show, Echo.
With Yelena factoring in, audiences could also finally learn more about Val and her makeshift team of misfits.
Hopefully, the Hawkeyes are up to the challenge.
Hawkeye is set to premiere on Disney+ on November 24.