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Thanks to the runaway success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we probably would have gotten a Hawkeye series or movie eventually regardless of who was controlling the character's destiny on the comic book side of things. But the Hawkeye series we did end up getting, which premieres on Disney+ next week, would not look or feel the way it does without Hawkeye Volume 4, the 2012 comics series from writer Matt Fraction and artists David Aja and Annie Wu.
That comic, which went on to win both Eisner and Harvey Awards over the course of its run, is the reason we're seeing a New York City-specific team-up between Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and his young protege Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), the reason they have an adorable one-eyed dog along for the ride, the reason they're fighting against gangsters in tracksuits, and so much more. It ranks among the most influential Marvel books of the last decade, and now its influence will be keenly felt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something fans have already noted many times after seeing nods to the Fraction/Aja/Wu run throughout Disney+'s marketing for the series.
Thankfully, on the production side of things, Hawkeye apparently did more than just throwing stylistic winks in the direction of its comic book source material. Speaking to The Ringer's The Ringer-Verse podcast in an episode that dropped Monday, Fraction confirmed that he was involved in the making of the series as a consultant, which included providing input on every script for the show, singing the praises of his collaborators along the way.
"I am — I think — credited as consulting producer, though I'd have to check with my agent and probably just read the credits," Fraction said. "But it's the best because I get to take all the credit…and I get to cast glory on David and Annie...and hope [take] none of the blame. I read scripts and offered thoughts...sort of throughout the process, and sort of read through...three or four rounds of that kind of reading everything."
Sadly, Fraction also noted in the conversation with host Joanna Robinson that he was originally meant to have a cameo in the series as a Tracksuit villain, but had to back out due to COVID-19 concerns at the time of filming. Maybe if the show gets a second season they can work him into the background somewhere.
It's not the first time Fraction has had input on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the writer of Invincible Iron Man from 2008-2012, he also spent a week working with producer Kevin Feige and director Jon Favreau to help chart the course for Iron Man 2 (he also wrote the video game adaptation of the film), and has some very interesting insights to share in the full Ringer-Verse interview about why he feels the MCU has worked so far. If you've got a free hour today, the full conversation is well worth your time.
Hawkeye premieres November 24 on Disney+.