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When we last saw Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), he had traveled through time, lost his best friend on an alien planet, and faced down hordes of monsters while keeping the Infinity Stones away from Thanos the Mad Titan. Clint helped save the world, but in Hawkeye, the new series on Disney+, he just wants to get home in time for Christmas — and all he has to deal with are a sidekick he didn’t ask for and some tracksuit-wearing goons.
Compared to the Avengers movies, or even the most recent MCU entry, Eternals, the Hawkeye show has considerably lower stakes. And yet, the six-episode series — which introduces fan-favorite Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) to the MCU — is part of the same cinematic universe.
“I think that’s the challenge, right? Making sure that it’s still part of the MCU and that it still has that cinematic scope,” admits executive producer Trinh Tran in an interview with SYFY WIRE ahead of the Nov. 24 premiere. “But, I actually was pretty excited that it was a more intimate, personal story for Clint and Kate here, especially coming off of making Infinity War and Endgame. I wanted to really dive in and focus on two main heroes here.”
Tran, who is quite high up in the Marvel Studios hierarchy, spoke with SYFY WIRE about the challenges of adapting Matt Fraction’s acclaimed Hawkeye comic for the MCU, introducing Kate Bishop, and an inevitable question about Daredevil.
Is it a challenge to make Clint seem like the type of hero who can both fight aliens to save the world and also have an engaging struggle with some street-level goons?
That was actually why the Tracksuit Mafia are part of this particular series. We wanted to make sure that they weren’t going to come off in a way that seems completely silly and not threatening to our heroes. Clint has experienced events such as fighting off aliens and Thanos, [and now] he’s down to fighting Tracksuit Mafias. But, as I said, it is a little bit more of an intimate family story that feels like it’s connected yet still feels standalone. He is stuck on a mission that he is trying to get out of, and these are the goons that he has to deal with. All he wants to do is get home to his family for Christmas for the holiday season.
The Matt Fraction Hawkeye comics run that this show is largely based on is an all-timer, but that Clint Barton is a different character than the MCU version is at this point. How tricky was it to make the somewhat haunted family man Clint fit into a story that was largely about a chill bachelor?
We wanted to make sure we preserved the ten years of Clint that we established in the Avengers movies. That version was largely inspired by the Ultimates version of Hawkeye. What I found so interesting about the Fraction run was his more humorous side. But, we really wanted to preserve that family man that we’ve established [in the MCU]. How do we meld those two together? Kate Bishop was the perfect candidate to bring that side out of Clint that we haven’t seen before. When you put him together with her, she is the complete polar opposite. She’s full of energy, she speaks her mind, she can be annoying at times, to him. She’s stubborn, impulsive, and that pulls out a quality in him that we haven’t seen before while still maintaining the reserved, man-of-few words in Clint that we have seen.
The first episode begins with Kate Bishop and the opening credits are about her, not Clint. Is there some deeper reason why the series begins with her, and not the more iconic Hawkeye?
We actually toyed with two different versions — starting with Kate or starting with Clint. And because we were introducing a new character into the fold we thought it would be interesting to connect them through Kate’s point of view. [The series opens with Kate as a little girl observing Clint’s heroics during the Battle of New York from 2012's The Avengers.] Clint is still in there at this moment in time, but through this little child’s eyes, we see why she is who she is at the present day. It made more sense to start with her but still connect him in a way that’s important to the MCU’s past and then bring her into the fold before we go back to Clint and be reminded of who he is and where we left off with him.
How much of Hawkeye is about putting a bow — no pun intended — on Clint’s story versus setting up Kate as a bold new face in the MCU?
That wasn’t quite the focus. I think our focus was really making sure that Clint and Kate’s dynamic worked. I think that is the inspiration from the Fraction run that we all loved, the constant banter between the two of them. It wasn’t the idea of “this is the end goal” but more “what is the relationship like?” Can we spend that time telling Clint’s story as well as Kate’s and then find the time for them to bond and make chemistry so that there’s a partnership that forms, for trust to build, and for him to let down his guard? Especially after what had happened in the past, where he had lost his best friend, Nat. All that factors into who he is today, and now he is encountering someone new in his life. What is that dynamic like? That’s what was important to us.
Given that this is a street-level series set in New York City, I have to ask... How tired are you of people asking if Daredevil will appear in Hawkeye — or literally any other MCU movie or show?
Look... [Laughs.] We can’t say much about anything when it comes to that. I think our focus is really on making sure that we land these characters right, for this show, and then see how that all works out in the future.
The first two episodes of Hawkeye will premiere on Disney+ on Nov. 24.