‘Hawkeye’: How Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye Fandom Is a Departure From the Comics

Hailee Steinfeld tells TheWrap why her young archer becomes “unbelievably inspired” by the retired Avenger

Photo: Marvel Studios

(The following story contains spoilers from the first two episodes of “Hawkeye” on Disney+)

Hawkeye is probably not your favorite Avenger, but don’t tell that to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, who can’t stop fangirling over Jeremy Renner’s retired archer throughout the first two episodes of Disney+’s “Hawkeye.”

It’s a fairly major departure from the pair’s relationship in the comics.

In the comics, the connection between Kate Bishop and Clint Barton is more of a coincidence than anything else: After Barton is presumed dead, Bishop, a master archer in her own right, ends up taking up the Hawkeye mantle because she has a similar skillset. The two would eventually partner up in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s celebrated run, which the Disney+ series is largely based on.

But in the Disney+ series, which debuted Wednesday, Kate is a full blown Hawkeye super fan, even going as far as asking Clint to sign her bow. Steinfeld told TheWrap that Kate’s love of all things Hawkeye starts in that opening scene, in which we see the Bishop family home get caught in the middle of The Battle of New York from 2012’s “The Avengers.”

“We first meet Kate as she is experiencing this great loss. In that moment, she makes this incredible new discovery, and that is Hawkeye. This human who is saving the world. This person who is doing good and is helping people and he’s doing it single handedly on his own, by himself, as a human. And she’s unbelievably inspired by him,” Steinfeld says.

Unlike his fellow Avengers, Clint is not a demigod, enhanced soldier, gamma-induced rage monster or even a tech billionaire. Steinfeld attributed that aspect, plus the loss of her own father, Derek Bishop, in the show’s opening moments, to what leads Kate to taking up archery herself. (Note: Derek dying off early in her life would also represent another major detour from her comics history.)

“Her father is someone who was equally as ambitious and maybe reckless as she was, but they shared a similar view of the world. And I think she sees that that sort of point of view in Hawkeye. I do think it has a lot to do with the fact that he is human,” Steinfeld continued. “She meets him and realizes and sort of feels a similar connection in that great adventure that she might have felt was her dad.”

Kate’s father issues crop up again when, coming home for Christmas break during her senior year at college, she finds out her mom, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) is newly engaged to Jack Duquense (Tony Dalton), and immediately rejects that whole idea.

“When a parent is at all in any way replaced or trying to be replaced, there’s an automatic rejection that is put off from the child,” Steinfeld continued. “There’s something about him initially — he’s sitting at their their dinner table, maybe where her dad used to sit. He’s treating her mom like how no other person in Kate’s world has ever treated her, outside of her dad. It’s hard for her to cope and understand that this person might possibly be in place of somebody that’s irreplaceable.”

The whole nature of Kate and Clint’s on-screen relationship starts when Kate puts on the Ronin suit after sneaking into a secret black market auction (where the suit and Clint’s nifty retractable sword he used during his time as the Ronin are up for bidding), that gets ambushed by the appropriately-named Track Suit Mafia. Kate, pretending to be a waiter, ends up putting on the suit without thinking twice.

Seinfeld says Kate had a very teenage reason for putting the suit: She didn’t want to get in trouble.

“She’s not supposed to be down there, and if her mom finds out then she’s dead. So she sees a disguise and she sees an opportunity to stay down there and figure out a way she can get involved,” Steinfeld says. That ends up leading her to come face to face with her idol, though she doesn’t get the warmest of welcomes.

“It goes from her not being able to contain her excitement and her wants to ask him a million questions and get him to sign a million things and her being his biggest fan, too, then containing that a little bit, bring it down a couple notches, understanding that now they’re in a situation that she needs to be present for and she needs to take seriously,” Steinfeld continued. “It goes from this sort of mentorship to this partnership.”