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All Of Hawkeye's Trick Arrows In The MCU Explained

Clint Barton is many things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's an agent of SHIELD, a family man, a superhero, and a founding Avenger — but most important of all, he's a bowman who uses an exciting, eccentric array of trick arrows to defeat opponents who range from dime-a-dozen mercenaries to near-literal gods like Loki. At first glance, he might just be a man with a bow and some arrows, but he's proven time and again that he has what it takes to stand side-by-side with the likes of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America. 

As one user on Reddit put it, through Endgame, the Avengers, as a team, won every battle in which Hawkeye fought on their side and lost every battle they fought either without or against him. In the end, he even the playing field in large part because of his ingenious use of a vast arsenal of trick arrows. So, with Disney+'s "Hawkeye" series adding new tricks to his quiver, here's every unique arrow that Hawkeye has used in the MCU, explained. 

The many Trick Arrows of the MCU Visual Guides and Sourcebooks

For every trick arrow that fans see Hawkeye use onscreen, there were likely a dozen more dreamed up in concept art during the development of the films and TV show. While most of those may never actually see screentime, fans can nonetheless glimpse them in various art and guide books commonly released in conjunction with Marvel Studios' MCU projects. 

For example, in 2012's "The Art of Marvel's The Avengers," readers can find detailed concept art of Barton's special quiver that can rotate and change which arrowheads are attached to which arrow, allowing him to easily select his preferred trick, or recover a previously fired shaft and transform it on the fly into a different weapon entirely. Similarly, one page shows a line-up of different possible arrowheads. 

Many of them are simply different shapes of razor sharp blades. Some might have been options for Hawkeye's "standard" arrow, but several look designed for a specific purpose, such as one arrow that looks like a tiny axe head, possibly intended for cutting ropes. Other arrows seem far more complex, and though specific uses aren't listed, there seem to be several variants of grappling arrows, as well as multiple arrowheads that are more advanced containers to house weaponry like explosives, EMPs, or incendiary devices.

The Explosive Arrow

Of all Hawkeye's trick arrows, the explosive arrow is clearly the leader of the pack, the king among men. It's the only arrow that he uses in just about every iteration across the MCU, and it's arguably the most effective choice when going up against the likes of Ultron or alien armies like the Chitauri. 

The concept is simple, yet its applications are endless. A bomb is placed on an arrow, and when the arrow hits its target, the bomb explodes. Yet, this application carries a tremendous amount of versatility. In "The Avengers," Hawkeye uses the explosive arrow for the first time in the MCU by firing it at one of the SHIELD Helicarrier's four engines. The arrow magnetically attaches, and the marksman waits until the moment is right to detonate it remotely, crippling a state of the art war craft with a single arrow. 

In the same film, he destroys several Chitauri hover craft with the trick, dismounting even Loki from his personal carriage by using an explosive arrow with a delayed detonation to trick the god of mischief into a false sense of security before knocking him back down to Earth. He uses them to destroy Hydra bunkers in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," to slow down Black Panther in "Captain America: Civil War," to keep Black Widow from sacrificing herself for the Soul Gem in "Avengers: Endgame," and to destroy the vehicles of some gangsters in "Hawkeye." 

The USB Arrow

First glimpsed in 2012's "The Avengers," this arrow is tipped with a computer interface device that allows it to download or upload information from a computer. Though not technically featuring a USB interface, it's still commonly referred to as the "USB Arrow," or as some variation of "Hacking Arrow." Out of all of Hawkeye's arrows, this arrow is unique in that it lacks any direct combat application. 

In "The Avengers," Hawkeye uses it to upload a virus to the computer systems of the SHIELD Helicarrier in order to disable a second engine and send the war machine plummeting down to earth. This would be the arrow's one and only appearance until nearly a decade later, in the 2021 "What If... ?" animated series on Disney+. In Season 1, Episode 8, "What If... Ultron Won?", Hawkeye uses the arrow to upload the consciousness of Arnim Zola and transfer him into an Ultron robot so that the living computer program can attack Ultron Prime at his core.

The Burst Shot

Due in large part to Hawkeye's relatively-limited screen time in his appearances across the Marvel Cinematic Universe's original Infinity Saga of films, many of the trick arrows on this list were only ever used once. The "Burst Shot" arrow is one of these. 

Clint Barton uses this arrow in the first "Avengers" film, during the Battle of New York during the movie's climax. After the Chitauri begin their alien invasion of Earth, Captain America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye suit up and head to the city in a Quinjet. After they're shot down by Loki, Hawkeye and Black Widow hold the soldiers off while Captain America helps evacuate a number of civilians. 

Fired at a group of Chitauri, the arrow strikes one of them in the head before firing off a number of projectiles in a spinning ring around the arrowhead, hitting several Chitauri around the initial target. It's a creative weapon, and though it's not the only arrow in Hawkeye's quiver that can scatter-shoot, it is the only one that does it quite like this. 

The Disintegrating Arrows

Hawkeye has employed several arrows that disintegrate their targets, the first of which appears in "The Avengers." During the Battle of New York in the story's climax, the Avengers finally rally as a team behind Captain America's leadership and begin to push the alien invaders back. Iron Man takes Clint up to the top of skyscraper so he can serve as the team's sniper and lookout, and this is one of several trick arrows he uses to thin the herd of Chitauri hover craft. 

This first version is basically an incendiary arrow. The arrowhead looks like a metal cylinder with blue lining down its sides and several prongs at its tip, but when fired, the blue portions begin to glow a bright white-gold, and once it strikes its Chitauri target, the arrowhead heats up and dissolves both the alien and his metal ship. Another type of disintegrating arrow is seen in the "Hawkeye" series, when Kate Bishop uses an "Acid Arrow" to take out one of the many cars that a gang are using to chase the two archers down. 

The Grappling Hook and Plunger Arrows

Hawkeye's second most famous trick arrow might be the "grappling hook arrow." It's one of the most common tools of superhero archers both in comic books and onscreen, and is basically their equivalent to Batman's "Grapple Gun" — which seems fitting since the original superhero bowman, the Green Arrow, has a history as something of a Caped Crusader derivation.

Though the exact nature, shape, and methodology of the arrow might change, its function remains the same. The arrow is shot at a wall, attaches through one means or another, and stays there so Hawkeye can use the attached line to swing or zipline to safety or climb up to a greater height. 

Hawkeye first uses this arrow to save himself during the Battle of New York in "Avengers." When he's finally forced off of his perch atop a NYC skyscraper, he jumps off its roof, fires the arrow, and swings down to relative safety within the building's offices below. The arrow is used again on "What If... ?" by Zombie Hawkeye in order to infect Happy Hogan, and Clint Barton employs it in "Hawkeye" to swing both himself and Kate Bishop safely off a bridge. A similar style of arrow, the "plunger arrow," also appears in the show — though it's uselessly attached to a car's windshield, likely meant to form as another attachment for Hawkeye's ziplines. 

The Shockwave Arrow

The shockwave arrow is one of the most effective weapons in Hawkeye's arsenal, which makes its rare usage all the more disappointing. The trick first appeared in 2014's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," during the team's first proper fight against Ultron at an African salvage yard. 

Tracking Ultron across the planet, the Avengers managed to track the robot down after he finished purchasing Vibranium from Ulysses Klaue and his mercenaries. It didn't take long for a fight to break out between all three factions, and while Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man engaged Ultron's various robotic bodies and the superhuman Maximoff Twins, it was largely up to Black Widow and Hawkeye to take down Klaue's soldiers. 

While Black Widow engaged a group in an isolated corridor, Barton managed to defeat the bulk of their forces with one well-placed arrow. Fired at a bridge in the middle of the yard that was surrounded by Klaue's troops, the shockwave arrow released a powerful pulse that simultaneously incapacitated every soldier in the vicinity. 

The Electricity Arrows

The "electricity arrow" isn't so much a specific trick arrow as it is a general category of Hawkeye's arsenal. Barton has utilized a number of arrows that rely on electricity in a variety of differing applications, and though he's yet to use them onscreen, any EMP or "stun arrows" could easily fall into this category as well. 

This category's first and most prominent appearance is in 2014's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," when Clint Barton uses a specialized trick arrow to take down the Scarlet Witch. Having engaged Ultron and Klaue's mercenaries at an African scrap yard, Hawkeye has just incapacitated the last of the human soldiers with his shockwave arrow when Wanda Maximoff attempts to mess with his mind. 

Not wanting to repeat the events of the first film, Hawkeye manages to stop and subdue her by attaching a "+" shaped arrowhead from his quiver and attaching it to her forehead. The arrow appears to send electrical impulses into her brain, immobilizing her and keeping her from using her mind-bending abilities. Hawkeye uses other arrows that emit similar electric charges against Ultron sentry bots later in the film during its climactic final battle.

The Multi-Arrows

Why fire one arrow, when you can instead shoot a bunch at the same time? This seems to be the question that Hawkeye's various "multi-arrows" were designed to answer. 

The first variation is seen in "Age of Ultron," after Barton's pep talk to Wanda Maximoff during the Battle of Sokovia. As he finishes, he pulls a rectangular device off the calf-portion of his left boot, clicks a button, and extends nine arrows from the device in groups of three. This allows him to string multiple arrows on his bow simultaneously. Unfortunately, the scene cuts away before viewers can see this tech in action, so it's unclear if he shot all nine at the same time, or if he used the device to fire them one at a time without needing to reach back to his quiver. 

Hawkeye uses a new style of multi-arrow against Iron Man during the iconic airport fight in "Captain America: Civil War," in order to get Ant-Man close enough to sabotage Tony's armor from the inside. This arrowhead resembles the tip of a rocket, with a cone clearly segmented into equal sections and "rocket fins" at their base. After the arrow is released, the segments break apart into completely separate arrows that all fly towards Tony at once, forcing him to defend himself against multiple projectiles while allowing Ant-Man to reach him.

The Disrupter Arrow

Though visually similar to Hawkeye's electricity arrows, the function of this particular device is far more advanced. 

The Vision, as introduced in 2014's "Age of Ultron," is an incredibly powerful synthetic being with a body comprised largely of pure Vibranium, an indestructible metal that absorbs kinetic energies directed against it. If that wasn't enough, Vision is powered by an Infinity Gem, a limitless power of cosmic proportions that grants the hero, among other abilities, complete control over molecular structure and its density. So, when one of Hawkeye's arrows stops Vision in his tracks twice during the course of "Captain America: Civil War," you know it must be doing more than simply electrocuting the android. 

The first instance occurs when Barton retrieves Wanda from the Avengers Compound. After using a diversion to lead Vision out of the facility, he fires two arrows at either side of the kitchen unit to prepare a trap. The arrowheads embed themselves in a wall and a kitchen island respectively, opening up into a triangular claw shape. 

When Vision reenters the room and stands between the devices, they emit an intense energy that disrupts the Vision's entire body. He can't move, his phasing powers seem to be disrupted, and he is trapped until the devices are destroyed. Furthermore, this powerful "disrupter arrow" is just as effective later on, when Hawkeye uses one against the android during the airport battle. 

The Flare Arrow

In the midst of the crowded, boisterous film that was 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," Hawkeye still managed to sneak in a brand new trick arrow during his limited number of scenes. At the beginning of the film's finale, when the Avengers have finally gathered the stones and restored those who were snapped in "Avengers: Infinity War" back to life, a Thanos from the past bombards the Avengers Compound from orbit, sending the team scattering. 

By the time the smoke clears, Hawkeye finds himself in the maintenance tunnels underneath the facility and realizes that their version of the Infinity Gauntlet has landed next to him. He hears some sounds around him in the darkness, draws an arrow, turns around, and fires it into the darkness. This "flare arrow" lights up and illuminates scores of Thanos' "Outriders," monstrous alien creatures the team fought in the previous movie at the Battle of Wakanda. 

This trick arrow is simple and efficient. It lights up, and it does so with intensity.

The Net Arrow

In the first season of the Disney+ 2021 animated series "What If... ?", Clint Barton doesn't have many significant appearances until Episode 8, "What If... Ultron Won?", which focuses on Hawkeye and Black Widow's attempts to destroy Ultron in a reality where he successfully claimed Vision's body and destroyed the world during the events of 2014's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Like Tony Stark told Loki in their first film, "If we can't protect the Earth, then you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it!" 

To this end, they discover a copy of Arnim Zola, the living computer program, and upload him into Ultron Prime's universal network so the android can finally be hurt where he lives. When they finally succeed, however, they discover that Ultron is "out of range" and in another universe entirely, and must escape the many Ultron sentries that have come to eliminate them. 

One of the first arrows Hawkeye unleashes to stop the metal horde is a special one that unleashes a net after it is released. But this is no ordinary net. It's either made of or infused with an energy powerful enough to melt through the first Ultron sentry it touches, then hold down multiple others after that. 

The Force Field Arrow

Later on, during that same escape sequence in Episode 8 of "What If... ?", Hawkeye and Black Widow are forced to climb up a long missile silo ladder in order to flee the pursuing sentries, but their escape plan has a significant flaw. The Ultron sentries can fly faster than the heroes can climb. 

To buy them more time, Hawkeye fires what just might be the most powerful trick that audiences have seen him use yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: an arrow that deploys a number of small energy panels that all link together, forming an incredibly powerful energy shield. The technology packed into that one arrowhead is advanced enough to hold back hundreds of Ultron's most advanced robots for nearly a minute before they're finally able to penetrate the barrier. 

Unfortunately, the sentries do eventually break through. Black Widow is only able to escape because Hawkeye sacrifices himself to save her, leaping down to distract them, and then firing a powerful explosive arrow that destroys the entire silo, and himself along with it.