Despite the show’s low-level stakes, Hawkeye boasts one of the most explosive openings of any MCU property yet. The series boldly opens with the iconic Chitauri invasion that took place in the first Avengers movie, this time from the vantage of a young Kate Bishop. The sequence is nothing short of jaw-dropping as it pulls into focus the horror of ground zero from the perspective of a child but also the inspiring moment she witnesses her future hero.
Head writer Jonathan Igla elaborated on the impetus for such a killer opening in an interview Collider, saying:
Yeah, that was part of my original pitch when I went into Marvel. I can’t remember exactly where it initially came from, but it was definitely one of the very first things that I came up with. Partly, I was already thinking a little bit in terms of wanting to set up the notion of there being different points of view. That ends up being not as important in the series as I initially thought it might be, but in the comic books that, obviously, heavily influenced the series that everybody at Marvel loves, that I love so much, the Matt Fraction/David Aja run. And in Matt Fraction’s, generally, he plays with point of view in a really fun and fascinating way.
Igla references Mad Men in his interview, a show he worked on prior to getting the Hawkeye gig, pointing out some emotional similarities between the death of a character in that show and a defining moment for Kate Bishop.
I’ve always been fascinated by the way that we psychologically… the way that we pair events in our brain that are either only a little bit related, or not really related, or that we think happened at the same time and maybe didn’t. There was a moment in the premiere of the last half of the last season of Mad Men where we did something like this, where Don has not found out that Rachel Menken had died. And he’s talking to that waitress, and she sort of challenges him to think hard about the order that some of these things that he thought were coincidental had happened in.
The episode wastes no time in showing how the Battle of New York impacts the life of Kate Bishop on every psychological level. It’s the moment that inspires her to start bettering herself in order to protect others and one that begins her thorny relationship with her mother.
So this is a very roundabout way of saying [that] I wanted to pair the death of Kate’s father with her seeing Hawkeye. Because the trauma of losing a parent, and also an alien invasion right outside your window — which, apart from the death of a parent, is obviously a gigantic, terrifying, traumatizing event. Seeing [Hawkeye] who is not out of control in that moment, but seems completely in control, even though it’s completely terrifying. [For] Kate, somebody who doesn’t have superpowers, that felt like the type of thing that would make a lifelong lasting mark on a child.