Sadly, everything is still heavily delayed without any official update when we could expect the MCU’s first foray into Disney+. To build up some hype again, I watched the short documentary Expanding the Universe. It offered our first look at the future of Marvel Studios. While being mesmerized by the visuals to showcase the various shows, I was curious about some small statements about the shows. The short video gives us a brief rundown of last year’s SDCC panel. Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige invites the actors to the stage and talks about what you can expect from the shows. The segment on Hawkeye piqued my interest the most. A lot of focus since the event was set on the inspiration from Matt Fraction‘s amazing run and the introduction of Kate Bishop. What I somehow managed to forget was that Feige points out that we will explore Clint’s time as Ronin. It’s an interesting aspect of the character that wasn’t fully explored in Avengers: Endgame so it made sense to include. Yet, how does it connect to the strong focus set with the introduction of Kate Bishop? Let’s start connecting some of those imaginary dots on how the show may tackle this storyline.
What We Know So Far
Let’s start off with what we know from Avengers: Endgame. Hawkeye spent many years killing criminals after he lost his family to the snap. It wasn’t until Natasha found him in Japan that his violent rage found its end. We don’t get much in-universe explanation on where this persona came from. Going by the Japanese origins of the name, it would point to him having been active in Japan for quite some time. This would be supported by the Yakuza recognizing him instantly. He also seems to speak Japanese fluently but this could also be due to his training with SHIELD. This is all the information we get on Ronin, as he returns to his original mantle once he rejoins the Avengers. Naturally, there is an entire story to tell that offers us a glimpse into his past.
If we look at the comics for a minute, Clint is only the second person to hold the title of Ronin. The mantle was originally carried by Maya Lopez, who is also known as Echo and has close ties to Daredevil. In the comics, she was adopted by the Kingpin after he killed her small-time criminal father. She started off as a villain to Daredevil before turning over a new leaf. This character is noteworthy as a casting call was sent out for a character that closely resembles Echo. The only thing missing was which show she would make an appearance in. Now, looking at the character’s history, Hawkeye would be fitting through the Ronin connection. The casting states that she would be between 18 to 20, so it’s uncertain if she will be in a flashback or the present day. There is a chance that the upcoming Disney+ series might tell the story with two potential protégés.
Now, the question remains how she would fit into the overarching story that seems to focus on Kate Bishop. While we got some visuals showing both of them, we barely know anything about the show. The only info we have is that it will be heavily inspired by Fraction‘s run. Bishop has an interesting history in the comics. She grew up with an estranged father, who worked with a villain named El Matador. After being saved by the Avengers, she was impressed by Hawkeye because he didn’t have any powers. She became part of the Young Avengers and inofficially took over his mantle. At the time, Clint was dead so it wasn’t until his revival that she would officially receive it. So, she was operating as Hawkeye without his involvement for some time before the actual “passing of the torch” even started.
No Rest for the Archer
The clear goal of the Hawkeye series seems to focus on the passing of the torch. Let’s take the character’s comic origins and what we know to potentially put the story together. Clint Barton has tried to retire quite often throughout the MCU. All he wanted was a quiet life with his family on their farm. Somehow, destiny always arrived and pulled him back into the fold. So, the only way he can finally free himself of this responsibility is to pass it on to someone else. People wondered why they went the Kate Bishop route if we saw him training his oldest daughter how to use the bow. He most likely doesn’t want his daughter to go through this and keep her safe, especially after what happened in Endgame. So, he tries to at least break away from it one last time even if he knows that his luck will just get him dragged back in. To his dismay, he was exactly right about that.
Someone is using his Hawkeye moniker as a vigilante. As everyone assumes Clint is involved, he once again gets pulled back in when a small-time mafia starts attacking him. He gets his family to safety and has to briefly use an apartment to hide out in New York City. On a stakeout, he runs into the person using his moniker and the culprit that got him into this mess. Naturally, this turns out to be Kate Bishop, who wants to take over his mantle. He takes her under his wing, as they try to end the mafia’s career. They start to bond and he sees her as a daughter throughout the series. The tracksuit mafia starts getting taken down by a rival mafia throughout the series. This one is led by a young Maya Lopez under the guise of Ronin, who is the adoptive daughter of the local kingpin.
Echo from the Past
Clint sees the name as a call for him to repent. His killing spree as Ronin still haunts him to this day. To some extend, he always knew that someone would try to take their revenge on him. What unfolds, is a last-ditch effort for him to make up for his mistakes and maybe even save the young woman from this life of crime. His own past as an influence, he does his best to make things right. Yet, Lopez doesn’t wear the Ronin mask as a sign of revenge but admiration. Little did she know that it was Clint that wore the mask of the killer she admired.
There is, however, one person that is using his identity to take revenge. At least, that was the original plan. It was Kate’s father that was involved with one of Clint’s past mistakes. The mafia used her father’s warehouse as cover for their operations. Ronin killed them but was unable to save him. She blamed the man named Ronin for his death. Used her time to research carefully who he truly is before she stumbled upon his real identity. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to do it anymore once she got to know Clint. He ends up passing on the mantle of Hawkeye to her while also giving Maya a second lease on life. That way, she can strive to echo the things he wasn’t able to do. Something that would stick with her as she continues her own journey once she meets another devil vigilante Finally, Clint could return home to his family with the weight of the Avengers off of his shoulder.
This is just an idea of how they could be integrating the Ronin backstory into the overall narrative of Hawkeye. It would play on the concept of Hawkeye’s regret of his time as Ronin and the legacy it left behind. Through this, they can explore what it means to pass on the torch, especially when it happens without your direct influence. It would allow for a parallel between Kate and Maya, as two people affected by the same person’s actions. Ronin and Hawkeye are two sides of the same coin. This way, Clint is forced to face both versions of his past. Especially with Kate, he also comes to understand his imperfections.
There are other directions they could take this story. They could also go down the route that Kate and Maya are rivals trying to be picked as Clint’s successor. I also didn’t touch upon exploring the origin of Ronin, which could be a factor in the story. They could even make some connections between Hawkeye’s story and Daredevil to expand the mythology. If this story takes place in New York City, they could tease his existence without being forced to explore it. There are also rumors of Clint’s brother Trickshot making an appearance. Perhaps the Ronin character is connected to his time with the circus. Maybe they spent a lot of time in Japan before he was found by SHIELD. Speaking of, we don’t know if his history with the spy organization will also play a key factor in this story. Whatever they have planned, we can’t wait to see what direction they will take when it is released on Disney+.