Will she or won’t she? Until Murphy’s Multiverse got the first look at Hailee Steinfeld on the set of Hawkeye last year, nobody knew if the actress was really going to play Kate Bishop or not. Now we know and it’s clear that Hailee Steinfield is a good representation of the Kate Bishop in the comics, so good, in fact, she’s not only an anchor point for this series but could be one for the future of the whole MCU.
Through the first two episodes of Hawkeye, Hailee Steinfield portrays Kate Bishop as a determined, outgoing, 22 year old. She has grown up idolizing Hawkeye because he saved her life in the battle of New York. Ever since then, she has been protective of her mother. Over the course of the first two episodes, you see Kate openly reject any attempts by her mom’s fiance, Jacque Duquesne, to bond with her while attempting to force herself into Clint’s life.
While her relationship with Clint is very similar in the comics, the death of her father is a change to the story that allows for her to connect with Clint on an even deeper level. If the Battle of New York would have never happened and her father wouldn’t have died, she wouldn’t have gotten so into archery and self-defense. The absence of her father has left her searching for someone to fill that role. While Jacque is all to happy to force himself into the role, Kate is more interested in forcing herself into that relationship with Clint. Daughters seek the acceptance of their fathers, but they don’t just want to be accepted without reason; they want to prove that they are worth accepting. This is what we see from Kate in the first two episodes: the refusal of one father figure’s empty gestures, in exchange for having to prove to Clint that she is worth accepting. Steinfeld is super believable in both those relationships, to the point where she could almost be playing two different characters.
Steinfeld’s talents as an actress allow this to resonate with the audience. There is a subtleness to her hatred towards Jacque even though she loves her mother. On the other hand, there is an over eagerness to her attempts to make Clint like her. In the first two episodes of the show, Hailee presents a character that is funny and outgoing. Even though her mom warned her to stay out of trouble, Kate’s stubbornness has gotten her into exactly that kind of trouble, which ironically involves her mom’s fiance and his family. Her stubborn determination led her into the scene of the murder of Armond and right into the crosshairs of the Tracksuit Mafia. In the end of episode two, Kate is in some serious trouble and we will have to wait and see if her personality traits will do anything other than get her in deeper and deeper trouble.
Even though her story has been changed from the comics, the stubborn determination the character has in the show comes straight from the pages of the Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s Young Avengers and Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye. In the Young Avengers Kate is always trying to help people and get things done efficiently. In Hawkeye, she is always curious and wanting to learn something new. Almost from the moment they meet, Hailee portrays the character as trying to learn from Clint, much to the displeasure of her unwilling mentor. In doing so she nails one after another of Kate’s key character traits. Steinfeld was a great choice for this role because, in my own opinion, she is very likeable and has a wide range of talents. I am looking forward to seeing Steinfeld continue to bring Kate to life in the MCU and become a key player in it.