Why Hawkeye’s Disney+ Show Should Have His Own Fat Thor Moment
Disney+’s Hawkeye has the potential to echo Thor’s experience in Avengers: Endgame. Focusing on the Avengers’ resident archer, Hawkeye is one of Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ shows, set to follow the already-successful WandaVision, as well as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, and Ms. Marvel. Jeremy Renner will return as Clint Barton in the title role, with Hailee Steinfeld playing Kate Bishop, a newly minted superhero being trained by Barton to be the next Hawkeye. Bishop’s elements of the story seem likely to look forward to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Barton will still have much in his past that he has to come to terms with.
As is underlined by the fact that Endgame opens with a scene of him being left alone on his farm in the Midwest, Clint Barton was one of the hardest hit by the Snap, losing his wife and his two children. Endgame briefly showed the brutal Ronin identity that he assumed as a result in the years following the events of Avengers: Infinity War, but given the lower, more personal stakes that Disney+’s MCU shows look inclined to follow, Hawkeye may find a different way of coping in his new series.
When Hawkeye picks up, in the aftermath of the Infinity Saga, Clint Barton will likely be feeling the same guilt and failure that plagued Thor in Endgame, and for the same reason: his inability to prevent disaster. Although Jeremy Renner’s take on the character usually emphasizes his soldierly, militaristic qualities, Hawkeye is already confirmed to be drawing inspiration from Matt Fraction’s work with the character in the comics, which leaned in a less serious direction. The widely-beloved series sees Hawkeye struggling with personal immaturity, feelings of ennui, and an insecurity in being a superhero without superpowers. However, rather than become dour or self-pitying, these books are known for their off-beat humor and effortlessly idiosyncratic style, all the while never shying away from truly engaging with the absurd, sad, and ultimately endearing idea of a down-on-his-luck Avenger.
The need to deal with a different source of trauma could explain Clint Barton having such an uncharacteristic reaction (uncharacteristic for the MCU version, that is). Whereas the Ronin persona was motivated by the loss of his family, Clint’s post-Endgame malaise, after their return, will more likely be the result of Black Widow’s death. Because Natasha Romanoff notably had agency in the decision to sacrifice herself in order to reveal the Soul Stone, her death is less straightforwardly tragic than the disappearances of the victims of the Snap and as such may lead to a more complicated processing period for Barton, allowing for an emotionally ambiguous tone while he flounders a bit, as he does in the comics. As evinced from the popular depiction of a chill-but-self-destructively-distraught Thor in Endgame, this is an approach that has mass appeal, in addition to offering some tonal contrast to the sequences of Barton as Ronin that the show will reportedly feature.
Perhaps the best argument for Hawkeye taking the “Fat Thor” approach, and the way in which it can distinguish itself from the God of Thunder’s Endgame arc, is the show’s other titular character. Kate Bishop’s introduction and the primary plot thread of her being introduced to life as a superhero suggest that a pillar of the show will be her friendship with Clint. And Barton being slightly more dysfunctional than the all-American dad that the MCU has shown him to be thus far would add an additional dynamic to the initial student-teacher one, with each Hawkeye in a position to help the other, true to relatively balanced, back-and-forth rapport the two have in Fraction’s stories. And naturally Lucky the Pizza Dog, another character specifically from Fraction’s run, can support them both as well.
Next: Phase 4’s Young Avengers Leader Needs To Honor Endgame’s Ronin Arc