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Hawkeye Executive Producer Trinh Tran Opens Up About Clint's Grief Over Black Widow - Exclusive

"Avengers: Endgame" didn't leave a dry eye in the house, and Clint Barton himself wasn't immune to the waterworks. Fans spent much of the team-up films wondering if Clint and Natasha would finally get together before his secret family bomb dropped. Firmly planting them in "best friends" territory, their friendship bloomed into something even more special than the typical short-lived Avenger dalliance. Clint and Nat never cross into anything more than two soldiers who desperately need each other, and it's one of the most compelling relationships in the series. 

When you're fighting for your life in an intergalactic war, there must be casualties, or fans won't believe the stakes are real. Natasha's sacrifice for Clint pissed off many fans. However, whether you loved it or hated it, the trauma and survivor's guilt it left behind are significant. Now, Clint has the space in "Hawkeye" to deeply examine his grief over his fallen soldier and best friend.

Looper spoke to "Hawkeye" executive producer Trinh Tran about Clint's journey dealing with PTSD, coming to terms with his time as Ronan, and working through his grief (and guilt) over Nat. 

The friendship that defined a generation

On what components were most important to include regarding Clint's grief and PTSD, Tran said, "We definitely didn't want to just start his story by ignoring everything else that he has gone through, especially after 'Endgame.'" Noting how pivotal Clint's relationship with Nat was, she added, "Loss of his best friend, Nat, losing his family for five years, becoming Ronin — a whole different identity, and then getting his family back. I think there's a lot that he still has to deal with and work out. And so, from there, we wanted to just continue that journey and have him sort of face those challenges that he feels he needs to get through."

It's no secret how the Blip was a time-stealer for everyone, but particularly for the Avengers — who, as is, have so little of it to spend with their loved ones. "And I think one of the biggest ones is family, and not having that time that ... Sort of, it's the lost time that he had with his family, right? And how does he get that back, which is why this particular series, it's set during the holiday season," Tran explained. "It's thematically about him wanting to spend time with his family, and now there's that urgency of, 'I need to get back home, because I've made such a big deal about wanting to celebrate Christmas with my kids and my wife, but I'm stuck here on a mission that I can't get out of.' And every day is a day that he's missing these moments with them." 

After all of the "Endgame" doom and gloom, it's nice to see an MCU fan sprinkle in some lighthearted aspects to what would otherwise be a pretty dark show.

From MCU blockbusters to Hawkeye

Trinh Tran produced some of the biggest MCU movies of all time, including "Endgame," "Infinity War," and "Civil War." However, "Hawkeye" marks her first MCU TV show. On how some of those projects prepared Tran for her MCU TV show debut and some of the highlights and challenges that each project faced, Tran said, "That's a great question. I wanted to try something different, and as soon as we heard that there was the Disney+ platform, and that the characters can be introduced in that world, I wanted to see what it was like on the TV side." 

However, there's not much difference between MCU films and TV regarding production value and weight given to the script. "Working at Marvel, the great thing is that we have a process, and we treat both our features and our series as if [they] were the same," Tran added. "So the process in itself is similar because we wanted to make the series the same cinematic quality that you guys have seen in the last ten years of all the features."

While we only get around two (or three) hours for Marvel blockbusters, episodic shows give creators a lot more time to play in the sandbox. Tran noted, "I guess one of the biggest differences I find is that there [is] six hours worth of content versus two hours, in the same amount of time in space that we normally have for the feature. So it's a little bit more intense in terms of the schedule and the faster pace, but you know what? I love a challenge, and this is why I'm doing the show."

New episodes of "Hawkeye" are available Wednesdays on Disney+.