The following article contains mild spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2 of Hawkeye.
The first two episodes of Marvel Studios’ latest series Hawkeye are now streaming on Disney Plus, and fans already have a lot to say about the characters. Since the first trailer was released, fans appreciated the unique camaraderie between Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton and Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop. However, a character who hasn’t even shown up in the series yet is being called upon by fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ever since the Black Widow post-credits scene, fans have been expecting a showdown between Barton and Yelena Belova, and Hawkeye seemed to be the perfect series for it. When Belova’s involvement in the series was confirmed, fans were excited to finally see the two characters face each other, and the first two episodes of the Disney Plus series seem to be setting up the future confrontation perfectly.
Fans who have been following the sacred timeline in the MCU will be aware that Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, sacrificed her life in Avengers: Endgame for the Soul Stone. When Romanoff and Barton were informed by Red Skull that they had to exchange “a soul, for a soul,” the two were initially seen fighting over who would be the one to make the ultimate sacrifice. Romanoff then tricks Barton and falls off the cliff, in order for him to achieve the Soul Stone, an integral part of bringing back the blipped population.
It seems like Barton has been living with the guilt of letting Romanoff die on that cliff. Hawkeye picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, with Barton having lived through Romanoff’s death. In the first episode of the series, he and his family are at the theatre, watching Rogers: The Musical. While the show seems quite entertaining, it reminds viewers of Barton’s trauma, especially when an actor dressed like Romanoff appears on stage to perform stunts.
Barton’s emotions are quite evident as he focuses on this particular actor who happens to remind him of his best friend. His daughter even notices his changed demeanor, and figures out that Barton has turned off his hearing aid. There are other small moments in the first two episodes of Hawkeye where Barton’s guilt over what happened to Romanoff is quite evident. But, apart from reminding fans of the loss that he is living with, these moments are also a reminder of the impending confrontation with Romanoff’s adoptive sister, Belova.
While the first two episodes of Hawkeye did a fantastic job at setting up a brand new character, Bishop, and establishing her back story, fans are ready to see Belova in action. Almost all the supporting characters, and potential villains, have already made an appearance, including the Tracksuit Mafia and Alaqua Cox’s Maya Lopez, aka Echo. The latter seems like the archers’ biggest nemesis at the moment, but fans expect more threats to come their way.
At this point, it is all but confirmed that Florence Pugh’s loveable character will be arriving in Hawkeye, and there could only be one potential reason for that - Barton himself. In the post-credits scene in Black Widow, Belova is seen standing by Romanoff’s grave, which reminds viewers of her sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine then shows up and informs Belova that Barton was in fact responsible for Romanoff’s death, making Hawkeye a prime target for the Widow.
Belova now thinks that Romanoff’s death was Barton’s fault, and so fans do not expect their meeting to be a pleasant one. In Black Widow, the relationship between the two sisters was the main focus, and having lost Romanoff, Belova could be going for Barton’s throat in the coming episodes of Hawkeye. The actors and director have been keeping mum about the plot and Belova’s involvement in the series, but fans have a lot of theories already.
Some fans assume that when Belova does arrive, not only will she be after Barton for blood, she will also try and take out Bishop for being spotted as Ronin. Fans already know that Barton killed several members of the underworld after his family was blipped under the guise of Ronin. While Romanoff convinces him to let go of his mission and help the Avengers bring the world’s population back, it is a past that still haunts him.
In the first episode of Hawkeye, Bishop finds the Ronin suit, wears it, and is spotted sprinting across a New York street and saving a dog, who will later be known as Lucky the Pizza Dog. With this clip of Bishop dressed as Ronin appearing on the news, she could potentially become a target for Belova as well.
Barton and Romanoff have been on opposing sides several times in the past, including in Captain America: Civil War. But, when Belova eventually does show up in Hawkeye, the fight will be a lot more personal, and potentially brutal. At the same time, it makes one wonder whether Barton will be aware of who he is going up against. He should be able to recognize her fight style, considering he worked with Romanoff, who was also a Widow, for several years. But, will he know that Belova is her sister?
After the first two episodes of Hawkeye premiered on Disney Plus on Wednesday, fans immediately started asking questions about Belova on Twitter. Many wondered why she hadn’t been introduced yet, while other keen-eyed fans analyzed each frame and looked for hints of her arrival. It almost seems like fans are impatiently waiting for a possible showdown between the two heroes, and many confess to watching Hawkeye for that sole purpose. It remains to be seen how long they will have to wait until the fan-favorite character shows up for revenge.
Hawkeye is streaming on Disney Plus.
Hawkeye features a Captain America musical and Marvel Studios turned to the duo behind broadway's Hairspray to bring the play to life.