Hawkeye’s most significant MCU connections

Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Of all the original Avengers, Hawkeye is the only one not to receive his own Marvel Cinematic Universe solo movie. Now he has an entire mini-series on Disney Plus that ties right into the bowman’s occupancy in the films.

The Hawkeye series starts out with yet another glorious retelling of an essential event in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, through a different lens. During the Battle of New York, from The Avengers, Kate Bishop witnesses Hawkeye fighting the Chitauri and he ends up saving her life. It demonstrates how inspirational a hero he was to not only rescue people, but also influence them to fight back themselves.

When Kate grows up, she is an expert archer, but doesn’t always use her abilities in noble ways. The clock tower she destroys is named Stane Tower, most likely connected to Obadiah Stane in some fashion. Even though he became a villain in Iron Man, some of his legacy may remain intact in the form of schools he donated money to.

When the show catches up to Jeremy Renner’s titular Avenger, he is spending time with his family in New York, taking his kids to a play and out to eat. The performance of Rogers the Musical puts a lighter spin on the earth-shattering Chitauri invasion. The musical features callbacks to all things Avengers, most amusingly is Captain America’s famous line “I can do this all day” being the chorus for a featured musical number. More solemnly, the show reminds Clint of his best friend Natasha, who sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame.

Building up to the central plotline, Ronin’s sword and outfit from his Endgame persona re-emerges, which Kate puts on to fight the thieves at the underground auction. Both of these items were recovered from the Avengers compound sometime after the battle against Thanos in Endgame. An expensive watch from the premises was also about to be auctioned, however the owner is a mystery.

In the sophomore episode, Hawkeye tells his wife his plan for finding out information from the Tracksuit mafia – catch and release. This is Black Widow’s old move, which she performed at the beginning of The Avengers with the Russian mafia, where she told Coulson that they were willingly telling her everything she needed to know.

In chapter 3, young Maya asks her dad if dragons are real and he tells her that they may be, but they live in a different place. This is definitely a reference to Shang-Chi where dragons dueled in the mythical land of Ta Lo. The Dweller in Darkness is actually a soul-eating dragon that has been trapped in a dark dimension.

Echo’s father ran the Tracksuit mafia, although he answered to her “uncle”. Echo interrogates Hawkeye and Kate about Ronin – we find out that not only did Hawkeye use his alter ego to dismantle the criminal organization, he had something to do with her father’s death. Hawkeye does not disclose that he was Ronin, but does tell her that Black Widow took out the vigilante. This refers to how Natasha brought Clint back to the Avengers and away from his killing spree during Avengers: Endgame.

Later on, when Clint and Kate are firing off an array of trick arrows, the last one that Hawkeye shoots is a Pym particles enlargement arrow, that he no doubt developed after befriending Ant-Man. Hawkeye was actually a volunteer in the Quantum Realm experiment when the Avengers were testing out time travel by way of shrinking down with Pym particles. In the last episode, the Hawkeye pair use both shrinking arrows and Stark enhanced arrows.

Episode 4 has many references to Hawkeye’s relationship with Black Widow, including her solo movie. Hawkeye tells Kate that the best shot he ever took was the one he didn’t take, when he was sent to terminate Natasha and decided to help her instead. This is perhaps one of the most important MCU moments that we have never actually watched play out. In the Black Widow film, we observe the end result of this decision, where Clint works with Natasha on her final mission before defecting to the Avengers.

The Vormir musical theme plays during Clint’s conversation with Kate. Speaking with Kate about his family and Natasha overwhelms him with emotion; flashbacks show he is thinking about the time his family was blipped away and when he lost Widow on Vormir, both captured in Avengers: Endgame. That was also the movie where he transforms into Ronin, and now a few new glances of his time as the criminal killer are revealed.

The biggest surprise of the episode is Natasha’s sister Yelena coming to assassinate Clint. She works with the conniving Contessa Valentina, who told Yelena that Hawkeye is responsible for her sister’s death in the Black Widow post-credits scene. So on top of dealing with Echo and Swordsman, an even deadlier foe is now targeting the Hawkeye duo.

The penultimate chapter’s prologue takes us on Yelena’s journey directly following the conclusion of Black Widow’s main plot. Natasha’s parting words to her sister, about liberating the various Widow’s stationed throughout the globe, are played in the opening seconds. The red mist antidote from the feature film is utilized by Yelena in the Hawkeye scene.

While taking a pause during her latest mission, Yelena becomes a victim of the blip; disappearing from Thanos’ snap and then reappearing five years later from Hulk’s snap. The blip is one of the most significant events in the MCU and getting to watch the effects on others innately enhances adjunct storylines. What makes Yelena’s account distinct is that, unlike the reinstatements presented in Spider-Man: Far From Home and WandaVision, here viewers comprehend how Yelena experiences the entire ordeal in what feels like a matter of seconds.

When Yelena has a sit down with Kate, she cooks up some mac and cheese, which one may remember was the meal she requested as a kid in the Black Widow film. During this sequence, Yelena counters Kate’s argument about Hawkeye’s heroism by pointing out that it was her sister who saved the world. The Vormir music can again be heard when Hawkeye visits an Avengers memorial plaque in the following segment.

Hawkeye, Yelena Belova
Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop and Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

The final MCU connection in the episode is the big reveal that Kingpin is the crime boss pulling the strings. This is not even a certified MCU link because, although Vincent D’Onofrio is reprising the role from Daredevil, that series was not directly connected to the MCU. That show’s hero recently made his own official entrance in this universe, when Spider-Man hired Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock as his lawyer in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Kingpin gets his time to shine in the series finale, where he is seemingly gifted with superhuman durability, similar to his comic book counterpart, yet definitely more emphasized when compared with his Daredevil tenure. It is still not clear whether this is the same Kingpin from Daredevil… sure the same actor is playing the same villain from a show made by Marvel’s television branch, but there are no other references to Daredevil in Hawkeye. Fisk was imprisoned at the end of the Daredevil series, and while he can certainly find his way out, we have no way of recognizing timeline compatibility between that show and the MCU.

Also in this culminating episode, Clint and Yelena find closure in their shared love for Black Widow. He whistles the tune that the two sisters used as children to prove to Yelena that Natasha was close enough to Clint to share intimate details about her past.

If there is one missing link in Hawkeye, it is the absence of Contessa Valentina. Kate’s mother worked with Kingpin to hire Yelena, so Valentina’s suggested proposition in Black Widow can only be explained as her guiding Yelena toward the archer, and then the assassin’s presence in New York was possibly picked up by Kingpin.

In the end, Clint returns to his family farm from previous Avenger movies, where the target that he and his daughter were practicing on right before she blipped away is highlighted in the foreground. We also learn that the Rolex watch belonged to Laura Barton and that it proves she was once a SHIELD agent who is concealing her time with the organization. Whether or not this will be explored in the future is to be seen, but this is a hint that she was the super-agent Mockingbird, given the comic book history between Hawkeye and Mockingbird.

All six episodes of Hawkeye are now available on Disney Plus.

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Do you think this will be the last time we see Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye? Are you looking forward to more Kate Bishop in the MCU? Let us know in the comments below.