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Every Black Widow Reference In Hawkeye

This article contains spoilers for "Hawkeye" and "Black Widow."

The Disney+ series "Hawkeye" follows title character Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) as he grapples with the lasting effects of "Avengers: Endgame," while going up against the Tracksuit Mafia and Kingpin himself (Vincent D'Onofrio) — all in time to be home for Christmas with his family. Hailee Steinfeld makes her long-awaited Marvel debut as Kate Bishop, who will soon take over the moniker of Hawkeye in the next phase of the MCU. Director Rhys Thomas consciously gave nods to many Christmas classics in "Hawkeye," with its "Die Hard"-adjacent action scenes underscored with Christmas music and the festiveness of New York City. 

Following the untimely death of beloved Avenger, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Marvel fans were delighted to receive a plethora of homages to the Black Widow in the newest Disney+ series. These references came in the form of familiar tactical moves, visual parallels, and strong female personalities. Read on to find out every Black Widow reference found in "Hawkeye."

Cinematic parallels

The Marvel Cinematic Universe often uses visual parallels to drive home the emotional impact of a scene. A huge example that many fans picked up on was in episode 4 during a fight between Yelena (Florence Pugh), Clint, and Kate on a rooftop. Amidst fighting the man she thinks killed her sister, Yelena throws Kate off the roof, only for her to be left dangling mid-air by a grappling hook Yelena had tied to her. 

Marvel junkies might have noticed the striking similarities of this scene to Natasha's final scene in "Avengers: Endgame." When Clint attempts to sacrifice himself on Vormir for the soul stone, Natasha employs a similar tactic by quickly attaching a grappling hook to Clint, in order to keep him suspended in the air, giving her the opportunity to sacrifice herself instead of him. That's in addition to the visual parallels of Clint looking down at both Kate and Natasha as he lets them go in each respective scene.

The similarities don't stop there. Consider the scene where the Tracksuit Mafia is throwing Molotov cocktails at Kate's apartment, when one is intercepted by Clint and thrown right back at them. In this scene, Clint punches through the glass window in order to catch the bomb before it makes contact with the building. Clint seemingly picked up this trick from Natasha — she makes a similar move "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," when she shoots through a window she is about to swing through, in order to minimize the damage.

The shot he didn't take

In Episode 4 of "Hawkeye," titled "Partners, Am I Right?", Kate and Clint enjoy a Christmas movie night, complete with pizza, cozy sweaters, and some light coin throwing. During their bonding session, Kate asks Clint to describe his best shot to her, to which he says it is the one he never took. Clint goes on to explain that he was tasked to kill someone, but upon finding his target, he didn't take the shot because he felt that she wanted out. Turns out Clint was right, and that person was Natasha.

Clint could see in Natasha's eyes that she needed help and therefore saved her, leading to them forming a close bond and partnership. In parallel, during the rooftop fight between Yelena and Clint, there comes a moment when Kate has a clear shot of their opponent, but she ultimately decides not to take it. It appears to fans that Kate could sense that Yelena needed help, and thus spared her life (although Yelena later laughs off the possibility of Kate beating her). 

This marks a prominent parallel between all four characters. Many fans look forward to the new generation of Avengers set to take over in coming years, expectedly with the new Hawkeye and Black Widow counterparts forming a close bond like the previous title holders.

Yelena's idealistic view of New York

Episode 5, "Ronin," opens on a flashback to 2018, heavily focusing on Yelena and what she has been doing since the events of the "Black Widow" movie. It appears that Yelena had continued hunting down all of the remaining Black Widows in order to free them of their mind control with the antidote. Upon sitting down with a few fellow assassins, Yelena explains that when they are done freeing the Black Widows, they will make "good lives" for themselves. Her friend Sonya (Yssa Mei Panganiban) even jokes that Yelena and Natasha will go on to live their "Sex and the City" fantasy in New York. Sadly, this never happens, as moments later it is discovered that Yelena was in fact a victim of the blip, therefore never seeing her sister again.

Many questions, such as the fate of Yelena, were answered in this episode. It also shared a unique perspective of what it looked like to be blipped. Yelena later tracks down Kate in order to interrogate her about Clint's whereabouts. During this discussion, she explains that it is her first time in New York City and that she has a list of places she wants to visit — including the Empire State Building, the "new and improved" Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center. It appears that Yelena still has an idealistic view of the city as well as America as a whole. This is most likely due to her sister's seemingly exciting life as an Avenger in New York, and her perpetual dream of living a calm life there with Natasha.

The whistle

The "Black Widow" movie delves into the childhood and family of Natasha, giving viewers a glimpse into her secretive upbringing. One of the many details learned is that Natasha and Yelena have a special whistle that they use to communicate with each other. During the final battle at Rockefeller Center in the season finale, Clint uses this same whistle in order to convey to Yelena that he is on her side. It stops her dead in her tracks and is what ultimately saves Clint's life.

This is also the moment Yelena realizes how strong of a bond and friendship Clint had with her sister. Clint goes on to explain everything he knows about her and Natasha's time together, including many of the events that take place in "Black Widow." Clint remains the only person with any knowledge of Natasha's family and life prior to being sent to the Red Room. Similarly, Natasha had long been the only person aware of Clint's family, even being referred to as "Auntie Nat" by his kids. This showcases to Yelena the true friendship and love shared between Clint and Natasha, and had fans nostalgic for this great duo.


The plot of "Hawkeye" follows Clint as he handles the fallout of Ronin's reappearance. Following the events of "Avengers: Infinity War" and the loss of his entire family, Clint turned to a life of vigilante crime as a masked assailant called Ronin. According to this series, Ronin "decimated the criminal underworld of the city, almost completely annihilating the status and power of the head of organized crime."

While being interrogated by the aptly named Tracksuit Mafia, Clint tells their leader Maya (Alaqua Cox) that Ronin is in fact dead. He explains that Natasha Romanoff was the person that ultimately took Ronin's life and he knows this because he witnessed it. This may just come across as a diversion technique from Clint in order to get the Tracksuits to stop searching, but it is far more important than that. Recounting the details of "Avengers: Endgame," fans may recall the moment Natasha hunts down Clint (as Ronin) in order to recruit him to help the remaining Avengers reverse the effects of the blip. Upon finding him, Natasha pulls him out of the darkness, symbolically killing his masked counterpart, just as he explained.


True Marvel fans understand the significance of the characters' costumes and uniforms, and the Disney+ Marvel series are no different. In "Hawkeye" Episode 1, "Never Meet Your Heroes," Clint's story opens up on him and his kids in New York City, attending the new Broadway show: "Rogers: The Musical." It presents a romanticized retelling of the events of the first "Avengers" movie. Clint is visibly uncomfortable as he watches strangers act out the trauma that he and his friends had to endure, getting noticeably upset seeing Natasha's character.

During this scene, there are many obvious costume homages in the cast on stage and in fans dressed up as the characters in the audience — including a girl dressed as Natasha. However, one costume detail that fans might have missed is on the actress playing Natasha in the musical, who appears in a red shirt under a belted black jacket. This acts as a visual callback to the red hourglass symbol present on the promotional posters for the "Black Widow," movie as well as the markings on the actual venomous black widow spiders.

According to a piece by National Geographic, black widow spiders are entirely black, with this same red symbol on their abdomen and are known to have venom that is "15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's." This hourglass symbol has often been interpreted as someone's time running out after an encounter with a black widow spider, and the red color matches the Red Room.  Natasha also shares physical characteristics with the spider, as she is often dressed in all black with her red hair acting in contrast. 

The score

Marvel junkies are always scouring the MCU for fun Easter eggs and references to connect the universe together. Musical references are a good source of this. The subtle musical references throughout the MCU help to enhance the link between the movies and shows, while evoking specific emotions from specific scenes.

For example, during the rooftop fight that results in Kate being thrown off the ledge, the music heard during this scene is the same Alan Silvestri score used when Natasha sacrifices herself in "Endgame." This further reinforces Clint's continued guilt over losing Natasha and how he doesn't want to relive that with Kate. 

Another great example comes in the penultimate episode of the series, which heavily focuses on Yelena. The audio heard when the episode opens is identical to what we heard when Yelena is finally hit with the antidote and woken from her programming in "Black Widow." Specific dialogue between Yelena and her sister that took place during "Black Widow" can also be heard, followed by Yelena's final whistle at Natasha's grave in the post-credit scene. Apart from this, Lorne Balfe's "Black Widow" score continues to play throughout the episode and various parts of the series, along with Silvestri's "Avengers" theme. 

Kate's childhood

"Hawkeye" pays respect to Natasha in many of the character choices of Kate. Natasha is known to have been raised to be an assassin from a very young age, mastering the arts of "espionage, infiltration, and subterfuge" while also becoming an expert martial artist in many realms. Similarly, Kate was seemingly groomed to be a child warrior as well. During the opening credits of the premiere episode, viewers find out that, once her father died, Kate was put into training by her mother. Kate ultimately became an expert martial artist and earned a black belt when she was only 15. Throughout her childhood, she also became skilled in gymnastics, sword combat, fencing, and (of course) marksmanship.

It is learned later in the series that Kate's mom, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), is hoping to recruit Kate into her security company once she finishes college. This further drives home the narrative of Kate being a personal assassin for someone else's use, much like Natasha was for so many years. In Episode 2, "Hide and Seek," viewers are given a look at the unusual relationship between Kate and her mother, as she Kate into a heated fencing fight with Eleanor's fiancé — without her mother batting an eye. While Natasha remains what Clint calls "the best there is," her and Kate still share many similarities in their skillset and the trajectory of their lives as trained child killing machines. 

Natasha's legacy

Throughout the entire series, countless people praise Clint for his part in saving the world following the blip. He seemingly refuses to accept this role, as he believes the person that truly saved the world was Natasha. Every "thank you" that Clint receives acts as a twist of the knife, as he still harbors immense guilt for letting Natasha sacrifice herself. During their final battle at Rockefeller Center, Clint assures Yelena that her sister is the one that really saved the world.

A long standing point of contention among many viewers has been the way Marvel handled the death of Natasha — or rather didn't handle it. With the huge impact that Tony Stark's death seemed to have on the Avengers and the entire world, Natasha only receiving a handful of mentions following her death always felt lacking. Following the extensive funeral scene for Tony that included nearly every person from the MCU, fans had long been waiting for Natasha to receive an appropriate sendoff as well. 

Fortunately, many fans praised "Hawkeye" for finally showcasing the emotional impact and lasting effects of Natasha's death on her loved ones. It is clear to viewers that Natasha's legacy lives on in many characteristics of Yelena, Kate, and Clint. An infamous line from Natasha, and a parallel to the major themes of "Hawkeye," comes in her final scene in "Avengers: Endgame." She tells Clint, "I don't judge people on their worst mistakes." Marvel fans can only hope that Clint will stop judging himself on his worst mistake, and begin to properly move on from Natasha's death.