Marvel's "Hawkeye," which premiered Wednesday, marks the long-awaited Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Kate Bishop.
Created for television by Jonathan Igla, the six-episode Disney+ series sees retired Avenger Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) reluctantly pulled back into action after Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) stumbles upon his old Ronin suit. She puts it on (for good reason) and manages to catch the attention of just about everyone in New York, including those who have a score to settle with the mysterious ninja.
Lucky for Kate, Clint, aka Hawkeye, shows up just in time to save the day. Again.
"Kate is part of this next generation of heroes who grew up in a world with heroes, like Spider-Man," said Igla. "There are only a couple of them so far and I think that that's a really interesting bit of psychology to examine."
As shown in the opening moments of the first episode, Kate not only grew up in a world with superheroes, she also owes her life to them. Kate's childhood home was destroyed when Loki and his crew rampaged through New York in 2012 (during the events of "The Avengers") and a certain master archer is the reason she wasn't among the civilian casualties that day.
By "opening that way, we could see this emotional connection and also understand her place in the MCU as we've known it," said director and executive producer Rhys Thomas. "And understand the effects of those moments on civilians within the MCU. … Kate, she grows up a fan. She's a fan of the Avengers and a fan of Hawkeye, specifically. So we see [Clint] through that lens with her."
And unlike some of the first-generation Avengers, Kate's journey to becoming a hero isn't by happenstance.
"For Kate, there's obvious intention to it — she has this aspiration, she has this dream," said Igla. "This is a young woman [without any superpowers] who is just a good athlete, and [is] really smart and clever and dedicated. What are the ingredients in somebody's childhood that you put into a blender and spin it around to come out with somebody who is dedicated enough and selfless enough to want to help people the way that she does?"
Set a couple of years after the events of "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), "Hawkeye" also shows that Clint is still dealing with the repercussions of losing his best friend and allies, as well as the joy of having his family back.
"He's coming off a much darker period in his life where he lost his family," said Igla. "The fact that they are back is obviously amazing, but doesn't undo the trauma and the hurt and the fear of having lost them for all that time."