Why ‘Hawkeye’ Went All-in With Christmas Theme

“It felt like a great way of heightening the stakes,” director Rhys Thomas tells TheWrap

Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios 2021

With “Hawkeye,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally embracing the holiday spirit.

The six-part limited series, which debuts next Wednesday on Disney+, not only takes place in the week leading up to Christmas, but it’s the first time the MCU has explicitly made its plot revolve around a specific time of the year. That also made it the one thing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s vast calendar that could not be moved around in the same way the studio has had to shuffle around its slate amidst the pandemic.

(Before you scream at us, yes we know “Iron Man 3” was set during the Holiday season, but outside of being a longrunning theme of director Shane Black’s movies, it has nothing to do with the film’s story.)

“I don’t think that it occurred to a lot of the MCU veterans that it was an immovable thing, because they’re very much used to having that shuffle ability. I remember there was a moment where it was like, no, it’s going to go by this point, and this sort of look of panic,” Rhys Thomas, executive producer and director told TheWrap. “The Christmas thing? It predates me. The [Matt] Fraction run has a little bit of that there. It was like this organic thing. I don’t know if it was released-oriented or what, but the six days before Christmas run up was like an early hook. It felt like a great way of heightening the stakes, and also it felt very grounded to our human character.”

“Hawkeye” takes place after some time after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and finds Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton on the run and dealing with his time as the murderous Ronin (as seen in “Endgame”) with a young Hawkeye fan and archery nut named Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld. The throughline in the story is Clint’s desire to get home to his family in time for Christmas.

The series is heavily based on Matt Fraction and David Aja’s “Hawkeye” run between 2012-2015.

“He was like a spiritual guide,” Thomas said of Fraction’s involvement with the Disney+ series (he’s credited as a consulting producer). I mean, honestly, there’s so much there in the run already. It was sort of understanding it and tonally kind of getting on the same page. I emailed with him and he shared playlists with me.”

“Hawkeye” premieres its first two episodes on Wednesday, Nov. 24 on Disney+