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Hawkeye: Everything you need to know before the MCU show on Disney+ takes its shot

Hawkeye arrives on Disney+ with a special two-episode premiere Wednesday, Nov. 24.

By Josh Weiss
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Grab your quiver and load it with as many trick arrows as it can hold, because Marvel's Hawkeye series is almost upon us!

If you told us back in 2012 (the same year the first Avengers movie hit theaters) that Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton would one day receive his own TV show in the world of streaming, we'd have said you were crazier than Ultron trying to wipe out all life throughout the multiverse. But it turns out you'd have been right!

The project's Disney+ debut is still two weeks away, but we thought it might be nice to engage in some light target practice before the real action begins. Head below for a guide on everything you need to know about the fifth and final MCU television program of 2021.

When is it out?

First announced in the spring of 2019, Hawkeye will premiere on Disney+ Wednesday, Nov. 24 just in time for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As a special pre-Christmas treat, Marvel is releasing the first two episodes — there are six in total — on the same day. Rather fitting seeing as the show takes place against the backdrop of the most wonderful time of the year.

Starting with Loki this past summer, the Mouse House-owned streaming service moved its big series premieres from Fridays to Wednesday (presumably so as not to compete with theatrical releases). New episodes usually arrive on the service around 3 a.m. ET.

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How you can watch

Like all of the prestige content on Disney+, you'll need a paid subscription in order to access Hawkeye. The platform has a number of pricing options (including a $7.99 a month plan or $79.99 for the entire year). There is also a bundle package for $13.99 a month that gives you access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN. 

Ahead of Disney+ Day on Friday, Nov. 12, new and eligible returning subscribers can receive one month for just $1.99. The special deal is only available through Sunday, Nov. 14.

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When does it take place?

Overseen by head writer and executive producer Jonathan Igla (a former writer on Mad Men and a current producer of Netflix's Bridgerton), Hawkeye takes place in New York City in the immediate aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. Snow is falling, Christmas is just on the horizon, and the hottest show on Broadway chronicles the life of Captain America

Following the Blip, Clint just wants to put the pieces of his life back together by reconnecting with his returned wife and kids (Linda Cardellini returns as Laura Barton). The only problem is that the criminals he terrorized under the monicker Ronin, between the events of Infinity War and Endgame, have long memories and want revenge.

Oh, and there's just the teensy-tiny issue of Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) — one of the deadliest assassins in the world — erroneously believing that Clint murdered Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in cold blood.

If he wants any chance at staying alive long enough to spend the holidays with his family, Barton needs to join forces with his eventual replacement: a talented young archer by the name of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). Steinfeld actually tried to quash rumors of her casting for several months before it was officially confirmed in December 2020.

"[Kate is] a 22-year-old kid and she's a big Hawkeye fan," Renner told Entertainment Weekly back in late July. "She has a wonderfully annoying and equally charming manner about her, because she's such a fangirl of Hawkeye. The relationship grows from that, but the biggest problem for Clint is Kate Bishop and the onslaught of problems that she brings into his life."

Steinfeld was reportedly super enthusiastic about the role in real life and even took the time to learn the basic ropes of archery (totally unaware that most of the bow and arrow antics would be brought to life in post-production).

"I wanted [the archery] to be second nature by the time I got out to Atlanta to shoot, but the first time we met, Jeremy was like, 'Listen, you're going to get there and you're not even shooting a real arrow, it's all CGI,'" the actress admitted to Entertainment Weekly this month. "But I was still grateful to have the mechanics down."

Production kicked off last winter before wrapping up in late April of this year. The shoot took place in Atlanta and on location in New York City.

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A holly jolly Hawkeye

If you've seen the trailers and teaser footage released thus far, you'll know that Hawkeye represents somewhat of a deviation from the heavy themes and multiversal madness of the last four MCU titles on Disney+. It's clearly going to be a lot lighter in tone with odes to holiday action classics like Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and even Home Alone. All of these are the perfect influences to tap into, given that Clint — like John McClane or Kevin McCallister — doesn't have any superpowers and must rely on his quick wits to save the day.

Recently speaking with GamesRadar, one of the project's directors, Amber Templemore-Finlayson (aka Bert of the Bert & Bertie directing duo) said: "It's genuinely not what you expect from Marvel [Studios]. It's an absurd Christmas story. Just starting from that point, tonally, I was tickled. What does that mean? And it's throughout the whole series. It's not what you're expecting it to be."

"I'm a big fan of a Christmas movie," added Rhys Thomas, who rounds out Hawkeye's pool of directing talent. "Injecting that was super fun. And that’s amazing because you're stepping into this massive universe, where so much has been established and in different directions. But they are excited to find an identity for each of these series. They're always willing to tailor to this new character."

In terms of comic book influences, Hawkeye owes a deep debt of gratitude to the 2012 run on the character by writer Matt Fraction and illustrator David Aja.

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The supporting cast hits the mark

In addition to Renner, Steinfeld, Pugh, and Cardellini, the cast also features Vera Farmiga as Eleanor Bishop, Kate's mother; Tony Dalton as Jack Duquesne, potentially Clint's mentor from the comics known as "Swordsman"; newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez (aka Echo) a deaf Native American girl with the ability to mimic any fighting style — à la Taskmaster; and Zahn McClarnon as William Lopez, Maya's father (in the comics, he's known as Willie "Crazy Horse" Lincoln and was murdered by Kingpin). According to early reports, Marvel Studios is already developing a spinoff project for Echo.