WARNING - This article contains spoilers from Episodes 1 and 2 of Hawkeye.
Hawkeye has arrived and the next generation of heroes in the MCU continues to grow.
The sharpshooter series follows Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton and his unexpected protege, Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop, who will likely assume his famed Hawkeye alias by the show's end. This follows a Phase 4 theme of mantle passing, as both Captain America and Black Widow are titles that have been given to the next generation in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow, respectively.
Bringing new heroes into their universe has been an art that Marvel Studios has mastered over the years. Now, post Infinity Saga, the sandbox in which writers are able to play is as big as it has ever been.
In the opening scene of Hawkeye, fans are brought back to one of the most iconic moments of 2012’s The Avengers for the introduction of the next member of the MCU roster, using the MCU's past to help create the future.
Perfect harmony. As all things should be.
Hawkeye Flashes Back to 2012's Avengers Movie
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Direct, Hawkeye Executive Producer Trinh Tran opened up about the opening scene of the series, which shows Kate Bishop as a child during the Battle of New York witnessing Hawkeye fighting off the Chitauri.
“Well, we wanted to find a way in for Kate Bishop that made the most sense. That particular one really spoke out because it was one of the most memorable moments with the Avengers, and seeing it through Kate’s eyes, I think is what’s really special.”
Tran has been working with Marvel Studios in a variety of roles ever since 2008’s Iron Man. She has experienced these legendary characters grow, say goodbye, and open the door for the future of the franchise.
“Finding that way in was really important and it’s, you know, I don’t want to say bittersweet, but it’s nice that there are characters that we told the stories about who have left the MCU. And we’re bringing in new characters into the fold wherever that leads. We’ll find out.”
While connecting Bishop to the MCU's lore helped establish her immediately, Tran emphasized that their biggest focus is getting her character "right."
“The focus really is making sure we get Kate Bishop right in this story and how she’s connected to Clint is really important for the story.”
Kate Bishop: World’s Greatest Archer
One of the biggest events in MCU history is the Battle of New York. Fans would be hard-pressed to find a Phase Two project that did not reference the aftershock of the Chitauri invasion in some way, shape, or form. Even a decade later, the climatic battle of The Avengers continues to provide amazing context for world-building.
Kate Bishop is introduced in Hawkeye as a young girl who witnesses this keystone event and is inspired by Clint Barton’s effort to join the cause and become a hero. Opening this series with this perspective scene establishes connective tissue between these two archers before they even meet face-to-face.
From that day on, Kate uses the loss of her father combined with the motivation of Hawkeye simply being in the fight to train to become the next expert archer. This is the type of efficient storytelling awarded to a cinematic universe that has seemingly perfected the art of world-building.
The idea of new faces coming in to take over for the heroes fans have known for so many years is a tough ask. There needs to be a level of natural influence these characters have on each other. The decision to make the MCU feel so close to reality allows people to relate to the decisions of these young heroes inspired to be Avengers one day.
More Mantle Passing in Phase 4
The passing of the torch is going to continue to be a theme in this universe, with projects like Thor: Love and Thunder coming in Phase 4.
Captain America was handed to a character that fans knew and loved in Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson. Black Widow used a family story to embed a connection between Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova automatically. Unlike those aforementioned projects, Hawkeye is the first time a new character is taking over for an Avengers OG.
If any project is going to make this work, it's Hawkeye. This may be Jeremy Renner's first solo outing as Clint Barton, but the two-time Academy Award nominee has been loading up his quiver for over a decade now.
If any character is going to make this work, it's Kate Bishop. She may be new, but Hailee Steinfeld already has an incredible amount of fan support both in the audience and behind the scenes.
If there's an event to inspire real-world people to join the fight against the threat, it's the Battle of New York. Thanos' first tussle with Earth is directly responsible for Tony Stark's PTSD, the Sokovia Accords, and Project Insight. The third act of The Avengers has been inspiring big picture concepts in the MCU for years, so its only fair to assume it would motivate the little guy too.
Hawkeye's first two episodes are streaming now on Disney+.