The highly anticipated Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye series is here. In fact, the first two episodes launched on Disney+ last week with Jeremy Renner reprising his role as Clint Barton (Hawkeye) as well as Hailee Steinfeld and Vera Farmiga making their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debuts as Kate and Eleanor Bishop, respectively. This is the fifth Marvel Studios series to launch on Disney+, and like its predecessors—think Wandavision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and What if…?—Hawkeye is also set in a post-blip world. New York City, to be exact.
The series starts off with a simple plot: Clint Barton (Hawkeye) is trying to get back to his family for Christmas. But an unexpected villain from his past resurfaces to threaten all that’s right in the world. This is when Jack Duquesne—also known as the Swordsman (played by Better Call Saul actor Tony Dalton)—comes in.
While it isn’t clear what the Swordsman’s role is in the current MCU, and whether he shares the same unsavoury past and covert identity as his comic book counterpart, one thing is certain: He definitely shares the Marvel Comics Swordsman’s mastery of swords.
And who better to help Hawkeye embark on his quest to defeat evil—once again—than his biggest fan, Kate Bishop? Unlike most Avengers, Barton doesn’t have any superpowers. Yet, he has managed to help save the world several times, which is what drew Bishop to him. His existence gave her hope that she too, with hard work and training, could grow up to be a hero one day. So when she saw her idol late one night in New York City, she had a little fangirl moment. The feeling, unfortunately, wasn’t mutual. But they both understood the assignment: Get out of the mess, and return home to their respective family safely.
Ahead, Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld and Vera Farmiga talk about what to expect in this new series and what has the experience been like. Executive producer Kevin Feige weighs in as well.
What To Expect
By giving Clint Barton (Hawkeye) his own series, what were you hoping to show or take advantage of?
Kevin Feige: We wanted to see more of Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton). His appearances in the MCU have been relatively small, but then we saw a little more of him in Avengers: Age of Ultron and he just started stealing all the scenes. It was always our intention to explore more of the character’s vast history.
There have been moments within all of his appearances where you see this mentor, just beneath the surface. In fact, one of my favourite scenes in all of our films is the one between Clint and Wanda (played by Elizabeth Olsen) in Sokovia when he said: ‘You go out that door, you’re an Avenger’. And that basically motivated her to join the fight. That was the kernel we used to connect the film and series, as well as the Hawkeye storyline and his relationship with Kate Bishop. It’s fun, and it’s a culmination of what we’ve been envisioning for the past two decades.
What do you hope the relationship between Kate and Eleanor Bishop characters might teach mothers and daughters watching this show?
Vera Farmiga: We learn about who we are from our mothers—who we want to be and who we don’t want to be. And I think that’s at the centre of this. I think my character Eleanor sees herself as kind of a superhero because she’s in the business of helping others and keeping them safe. And she has a powerful yet reckless daughter. All mothers try to help their daughters channel that power into something more effective, which is certainly a big lesson for us—or at least, that’s how it starts in this series. But bridling beautiful energy is a mother’s task.
As this series happens post-blip, will we get to see Clint Barton dealing with survivor’s guilt?
Jeremy Renner: It isn’t so much survivor’s guilt as it is about dealing with the loss. There’s a lot of things lost, and that’s addressed in the show which created this beautiful intimacy between our characters. It’s ultimately about dealing with what comes with the superhero game—horror, tragedies and loss. And Hailee’s character comes in and levels it out a bit. So it’s pretty cathartic and quite beautiful.
What It’s Like Being Part Of The MCU
Raising a young Avenger is a tall order. What convinced you to take on this role?
Farmiga: There were a couple of things. Firstly, I love archery. I’m an archer—that’s something you guys probably don’t know about me. At my first acting job in a fantasy television series called Roar, I played an archer alongside Heath Ledger. So if I wasn’t going to be wielding that bow and arrow, I wanted to be next to someone with true grit—Hailee Steinfeld.
And secondly, I love this sort of very delicate and complex maternal relationship with daughters [referring to Kate and Eleanor]. It’s a tricky sport raising a successful daughter, especially when the daughter and mom have different ideas of what success means. And I’m happy to be by Hailee’s side for this.
How did you feel going from one of the biggest horror franchises—The Conjuring—to now the MCU?
Farmiga: It feels amazing. We’re part of the MCU but it doesn’t feel like a universe, because when you work on it, it’s like a really small planet. And to see how it fits into the larger universe is awesome, especially when you’ve got a fan base already built into the project.
How did you prepare for this role? Did Jeremy offer any tips?
Steinfeld: The first thing he told me was that I was never going to shoot an actual arrow. For whatever reason, it didn’t occur to me that this would actually be the case. As far as onscreen chemistry, we really just jumped right into it—straight into the deep end. We were taking it as it was coming, and I feel so grateful to have Jeremy’s support and mentorship in real life as I do as Kate.
Feige: Hailee actually did not audition for this role, and we’re very lucky that she was open to it because we very much believed that she was sort of the prototype for the character that occasionally happens. A dream version of the character. We were very thankful that she wanted to jump into this role because we had a feeling that she would be great and she is.
Was there some kind of MCU initiation?
Renner: No, there isn’t. But I just wanted to communicate with her that I had her back, and that there’s going be a lot of strange things going on. It’s different from other types of filmmaking, and I wanted to let her know that she wasn’t alone; that I had her back, and I’ll give her the answers if she needed them.
Stream Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye exclusively on Disney+ today.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.