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Hawkeye TV series release date, cast and plot

Ever since Hawkeye made his first movie appearance in 2011's Thor, fans of the character from Marvel's comics have wondered if and when the MCU's version of Clint Barton would get his day in the spotlight. But though the trailers for 2012's The Avengers teased a heroic Hawkeye in action — who can forget that iconic shot of him jumping off a building? — the film itself did little to shed light on Barton's character, placing him under mind control early on (in a move that notoriously frustrated actor Jeremy Renner), and keeping him there until close to the end. In 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron made more of an attempt to flesh Barton out, revealing that he was married with kids and lived on a farm. Still, of the original six Avengers, he remained the one we knew the least about.

Although Renner has long been rumored to have a solo film on his six-movie contract, the longer Marvel's cinematic universe went on without a Hawkeye film, the less likely it seemed that Barton would ever be featured in more than a supporting role in the MCU. But that all changed when it was announced that several new Marvel television series, centered on characters who first appeared in the films, would be joining the lineup of the Disney+ streaming service. Among them: Hawkeye. We've set our sights on everything you'll want to know about the Hawkeye series, including when to expect it, which characters might show up, and what it could be about.

What's the release date for Hawkeye on Disney+?

There were rumors in April of 2019 that a Hawkeye series, based around Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton, would be part of Marvel's Disney+ lineup, but information remained scarce about when we could expect the precision archer to shoot his way onto our TV screens. But a few months later, during Marvel's Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic Con, Marvel finally dished up the details, revealing that we can expect Hawkeye to arrive in the fall of 2021

While we don't know yet precisely when in the fall this will be, we can take an educated guess. With only six to eight episodes a season, it won't take fans long to binge all of Hawkeye, but Marvel is still going to likely want at least a little bit of space between the Disney+ series and the theatrical premiere of Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021. Most likely, this puts Hawkeye's premiere somewhere around late September or early October. Hardly a bullseye, but a reasonable assumption.

Jeremy Renner returns as Clint Barton

As with Marvel's announcements for their other Disney+ series, such as Loki and WandaVision, the unveiling of their plans for a Hawkeye series was accompanied by the confirmation that the actor who portrayed the titular character in the MCU would be reprising his role for the small screen. Two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner has long been underutilized in comparison to the other five founding Avengers, and his series will mark the first time the character has ever played a central role in an MCU story. 

Even other actors who have yet to receive solo films, such as Scarlet Johannson's Natasha Romanoff and Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner, have been heavily featured in other films, and Johannson's Black Widow movie is finally coming in 2020. But Clint Barton's only appearances outside the Avengers movies consisted of a brief cameo in Thor and a supporting role in Captain America: Civil War (which basically functioned as Avengers 2.5). Renner didn't even appear at all in Avengers: Infinity War, his absence explained in a single line from Romanoff, who says he's under house arrest. While Hawkeye did have a meatier role to play in Avengers: Endgame, it'll be nice to see him finally take center stage in his own series.

Kate Bishop will appear as the new Hawkeye

Along with the announcement that Renner would be picking up Clint Barton's bow and arrows again came the exciting news that Hawkeye would see him passing the torch to Kate Bishop. As fans of the Hawkeye comics are well aware, Kate is Barton's protege who takes up the Hawkeye mantle herself and is eventually given Barton's bow to use as her own. 

If the series logo is any indication, Hawkeye will be following the recent comics from writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, in which Bishop is Barton's student and frequent accomplice. The character in the comics is young, strong-willed, and has long dark hair. Though Marvel did not initially have any casting news beyond the return of Jeremy Renner, it didn't take long for rumors and speculation to begin flying like well-fired arrows.

Hailee Steinfeld has been offered the role of Kate Bishop

Ever since the Hawkeye series was first announced, fans have been clamoring to know which young actress will be stepping into the role of Kate Bishop. After all, there's a good chance her role will extend well outside the Disney+ series and into the rest of the MCU. Whoever Marvel casts in Hawkeye not only has the potential to eventually become an Avenger, but may also go on to help lead the Young Avengers. It's a tall order, and requires an actor who can really hold her own alongside not only the Oscar-nominated Renner, but the Who's Who of A-list stars that make up the rest of the MCU.

Enter Hailee Steinfeld, who Variety reports has been offered the role of Kate Bishop. Should Steinfeld officially come aboard the series, this would be her first live-action superhero role. However, she's actually no stranger to the genre or to Marvel's expansive roster of characters, having voiced Spider-Gwen in the Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Additionally, Steinfeld's also already got her own Oscar nomination under her belt for her role in the Coen Brothers' 2010 remake of True Grit — her very first feature film role, to boot — in which she starred alongside Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges. Considering Steinfeld's impressive resume, she seems more than capable of going toe to toe — or perhaps we should say, arrow to arrow — with Jeremy Renner in Hawkeye, and could go on to play an even bigger part in the larger MCU than Clint Barton ever did.

What about Hawkeye's family?

Although no official announcement has been made one way or the other about whether the Barton family will be making an appearance in Hawkeye, it would be pretty strange if they didn't. While Clint Barton was single (with multiple divorces) in Matt Fraction's comics, the Barton family has been a huge part of Hawkeye's characterization in the MCU, with the loss in "the Blip" functioning as his motivation for becoming the assassin Ronin, and the possibility of getting them back incentivizing him to rejoin the Avengers on their time heist

The most recognizable member of the Barton family is, of course, Linda Cardellini as Clint's wife Laura. Cardellini was most recently seen co-starring with Christina Applegate in the Netflix series Dead to Me, which has already been picked up for a second season. Hopefully, Hawkeye's late 2021 release date will allow time for her to work at least a few appearances on the Disney+ series into her Dead to Me schedule. 

Clint and Laura also have three children — the youngest, Nathaniel Pietro, named after deceased MCU characters Natasha Romanoff and Pietro Maximoff — who could conceivably make an appearance in Hawkeye. However, Marvel has already recast the Barton children once, with only their eldest son Cooper portrayed by the same actor (Ben Sakamoto) in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Endgame. So while we can likely expect to see some mini-Bartons running around the world of Hawkeye, don't be surprised if Marvel decides to sneakily recast one or more of them for the series. 

We'll probably meet some new villains, bro

The primary antagonists in Matt Fraction's Hawkeye comics are members of the Russian mafia, whom Clint Barton dubs the "Tracksuit Draculas," due to their heavy accents and their unfortunate affinity for wearing velour tracksuits. These Russian mobsters have an extremely limited English vocabulary, relying heavily on the words "bro" and "seriously" to convey the bulk of their meaning, and drive much of the small-scale conflict of Fraction's comics, which tend to center on the tenants of Barton's apartment building. 

However, considering that the last time we saw the Barton family at the end of Avengers: Endgame, they were still living on their Nick Fury-sanctioned off-the-grid farm somewhere in Missouri, some significant changes will have to take place if the show is to capture the world of Fraction's urban-set comics (which also feature a single, childless Clint Barton). Either the Bartons will have to pick up and move to an apartment in a city, or they're about to get some very interesting new neighbors. It's hard to say which route the series will take, but it's even harder to imagine an adaptation of Fraction's comics without the Tracksuit Draculas. No matter where Hawkeye is set, we're sure Marvel will figure out a way to work them in, bro. Seriously.

The Young Avengers could make an appearance in Hawkeye

In the Matt Fraction comics, Kate Bishop is already a former member of the Young Avengers, but considering the Young Avengers don't yet exist in the MCU, it may make more sense for Hawkeye to be the property that sets up their eventual introduction. Kate will be the second potential Young Avenger to enter the MCU, with the first being Ant-Man's daughter, Cassie Lang. Although Cassie was portrayed in the first two Ant-Man films by pint-sized actress Abby Ryder Fortson, she was revealed in Avengers: Endgame to have been unaffected by the Blip, aging into a teenager (Emma Fuhrmann) during the five years between the end of Infinity War and the time jump in Endgame

In the comics, Cassie follows in her father's footsteps by using Pym particles to become the size-altering superhero Stature, and is close friends with Kate Bishop's Hawkeye. The other founding Young Avengers include Nathaniel Richards/Iron Lad, Elijah Bradley/Patriot, Billy Kaplan/Wiccan, and Teddy Altman/Hulkling. But considering how much the MCU loves shaking up their fans' expectations, we wouldn't be surprised to see some alternate characters as founding members for the screen version of the team, such as America Chavez/Miss America, or David Alleyne/Prodigy. It's also entirely possible that Marvel could surprise us by creating entirely new characters to inhabit some of these superhero aliases. Basically, watch any teenage or twenty-something character who appears in Hawkeye closely, because they could one day be a Young Avenger. 

The Hawkeye comics feature a colorful cast of characters

Fraction's Hawkeye comics feature a wide assortment of interesting characters, any of whom would make an interesting addition to the MCU. There's no telling which subplots the Disney+ series will choose to adapt, but hopefully they'll find a way to incorporate as many of the comics characters as possible, even if their role in the story has to change. Possible allies for Clint and Kate include Clint's brother, Barney Barton; his friend and neighbor, Grills; or Penny, the ex-wife of one of the Tracksuit Draculas. Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird and Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman also appear in the Hawkeye comics, although their roles as Clint's ex-wife and current girlfriend, respectively, would no doubt have to be rewritten for the show, since the MCU version of Clint is happily married.

Bobbi Morse already appeared in the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., portrayed by Adrianne Palicki, but while the MCU films have often affected the events of the show, things rarely go the other way. Since the Disney+ shows seem to tie in more to the movies than the existing Marvel TV universe, if Bobbi does show up in Hawkeye, don't be surprised if the character gets a significant makeover, including a likely recast. 

Meanwhile, if Hawkeye decides to pull in some of the villains from the comics, then Clint and Kate could wind up facing off against Madame Masque, Clown/Kazi, or the Agents of A.I.M.

Could other Avengers cameo in Hawkeye?

In one issue of Fraction's Hawkeye, Clint briefly teams up with sometimes-Avengers Wolverine and Spider-Man to battle the Agents of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), an organization of villains that functions in the comics as a sort of anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. (a variation on the group was featured in Iron Man 3). However, it's only a minor subplot, and the Hawkeye series could easily nod to it while swapping out most of the details. Not only could Hawkeye substitute some different villains — although introducing the Agents of A.I.M. to the MCU would certainly open up a lot of interesting story possibilities — but it could also pull in a totally different pair of Avengers, possibly with closer ties to Clint than Spider-Man or the still-not-introduced-in-the-MCU Wolverine. 

Perhaps instead, Clint might team up with Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), with whom he already has somewhat of a mentoring relationship. With Wanda getting her own Disney+ show, it might make sense for her to make a cameo appearance in someone else's. Other candidates could include Clint's former S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), or even Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who are also getting their own show. Even someone like Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) could make sense, especially if Cassie shows up.

If we're lucky, Hawkeye will introduce us to Pizza Dog

Arguably one of the best parts of Fraction's Hawkeye run is Clint's dog, Lucky. The two are introduced when Clint saves the pooch from one of the Tracksuit Draculas, and then adopts him. While his tag reads "Arrow," Clint renames him Lucky. However, in an issue told entirely from the dog's point of view, it is revealed that he thinks of himself as Pizza Dog, thanks to his great love of pizza. 

While we may not be so fortunate as to receive an entire episode from Lucky's point of view (although, counterargument: why not?), fans and dog-lovers alike will undoubtedly enjoy seeing Lucky make his small-screen debut. In the comics, he even partakes in a few adventures of his own, accompanying Kate when she moves to L.A., helping Clint track down Tracksuit Draculas, and even getting shot at one point. If the series goes this route, don't worry — Lucky recovers just fine, remaining a Very Good Boy and getting many pats. 

Jonathan Igla has been tapped to write and executive produce Hawkeye

Since Marvel announced their Disney+ shows, they've been assembling an impressive stable of talent in order to get them off the ground, including veterans from some of television's biggest shows, like The Handmaid's Tale and Empire. Now, another TV heavy hitter is joining Marvel's Disney+ ranks in the form of Jonathan Igla, who will act as writer and executive producer for Hawkeye, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  

While Igla has produced several other shows, including the short-lived but critically beloved Pitch, he's best known for his work on AMC's juggernaut series Mad Men, where he served as a writer and executive story editor. Although Igla's resume doesn't boast much experience with the high-octane action the MCU is known for, his style may just be perfect for the more subdued, character-driven Hawkeye. After all, while Mad Men wasn't exactly famous for its action scenes, it's been widely celebrated for its outstanding characters, snappy dialogue, and strong storytelling, leading us to conclude that Hawkeye is in more than capable hands with Igla. 

Introducing Hawkguy

One of the biggest clues that Marvel dropped during their presentation at San Diego Comic-Con about what to expect from their Hawkeye series was simply the logo, which was obviously heavily inspired by Matt Fraction's highly-acclaimed run of Hawkeye comics. Fraction's storylines — which gave Clint the apt yet slightly disparaging nickname "Hawkguy" — all rotated around the question of what does a superhero does when he's not being a superhero. While Fraction's run did have its fair share of bad guys and sinister plots, each issue tended to focus less on Clint Barton's extraordinary abilities and more on his regular, unexciting, day-to-day life.

Even narrowing down the potential routes for the Hawkeye series to just Fraction's storylines, that still leaves plenty of possibilities. But no matter which way the Disney+ series decides to go, if it's using Fraction's comics as a roadmap, we can expect for it to be focused on small-scale personal conflicts and character relationships far more than giant world-threatening stakes and hugely powerful supervillains. 

What's Hawkeye's life like after the events of Endgame?

Clint Barton had a rough time during the first act of Avengers: Endgame. The sequel to Infinity War opened with Barton's wife and three children turning to dust before his eyes, and the next time we saw him after the film's five-year time jump, he had left the superhero mantle of Hawkeye behind, and had become the ruthless vigilante known as Ronin. His best friend Natasha eventually tracks him down in Japan after he has just murdered a street full of Yakuza, offering him hope with their plan for the time heist. But while Clint is ultimately able to get his family back by the end of the movie, it's at the cost of Natasha's life. 

With the Hawkeye series assumed to take place after the events of Endgame, that leaves a lot for Clint to be reckoning with the next time we see him. Not only will he likely still be mourning the loss of Natasha — and probably dealing with a decent amount of survivor's guilt, to boot, since he also tried and failed to sacrifice himself for the Soul Stone — but he'll also have to face the horrible things he did as Ronin. Additionally, we can probably expect to see how the Barton family is coping with the aftermath of "the Blip," as it was dubbed in Spider-Man: Far from Home — which, as we saw in that film, can be pretty a sizable adjustment.

The theme of the series is "anyone can be a hero"

As Renner quipped when introducing the series at San Diego Comic-Con, "I get to teach someone else how to be a superhero without superpowers." Hawkeye's lack of powers has been a running theme in the MCU, most notably when he pointed out the absurdity of fighting an army of robots with a bow and arrows in Age of Ultron. But for Clint, being a hero has always been more about a mindset than superpowers, and it seems that theme will carry over to his solo series.

When taken alongside previous reports that Hawkeye would see Clint Barton pass the torch to Kate Bishop, it seems safe to assume that the main focus of the series will be on Clint training Kate and grooming her to eventually take over for him, teaching her that she doesn't need powers in order to accomplish great things. This is in line with Fraction's comics, which are much more interested in Clint's everyman qualities than in his enhanced skillset. And with a theme like "anyone can be a hero," we won't be entirely surprised if Clint Barton winds up taking a backseat at some point in the season, and Kate steps up as the new main character.