Marvel Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Marvel shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores Hawkeye Episode 6 (“So This Is Christmas?”) and considers the several unanswered questions dangling beyond its climax. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.
Welp, that went smoothly. Much more so than many were expecting.
Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) outed her mom, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), as a murderer and mob collaborator. Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) got revenge on the men who sicced Ronin on her father. Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) received a clearer picture of her sister’s sacrifice and forgave Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) as a result. And Clint reunited with his family and hand-delivered the mysterious Rolex watch to his wife, Laura (Linda Cardellini), confirming her association with S.H.I.E.L.D. Good cheer was had by all.
But Hawkeye Episode 6 also left several threads seemingly hanging loose over the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And we want answers. Will we get them? That’s harder to say, but let’s start the process by putting them out there and working our noodles around them.
1. Is Kingpin dead?
After taking quite the beating from Kate and Eleanor, including an arrow to the chest, a car rammed into his belly, and an array of explosive arrows erupting in his face, Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) stumbles through a back alley. There he’s met by Maya Lopez. He pleads his case to her, but she’s not having it. We see her raise a pistol to his head, the camera pans upward, and we hear a shot. BANG!
Kingpin can take quite a beating, but can he survive a bullet to the head? That seems unlikely. However, we cannot ignore that we didn’t actually see the death. We only heard a gunshot. If you don’t see a body there’s no corpse. And even when you do see a body that’s no guarantee in the realm of superhero comic books.
In the comics, Kingpin has survived numerous close calls. He was once shot multiple times throughout his body, and he survived after a brief spell in the hospital. In Daredevil Volume 2 #15, this scene between Maya and Fisk is played out nearly identically, and that sequence ends with a BLAM! splattered over a blood-red panel. That comic was published in 2001, and Fisk has made many, many, many more appearances in other comics since then.
How’d he get out of that tight bind? The bullet wasn’t fatal, but it did blind him. After some intense, experimental medical procedures conducted overseas, Kingpin returned to Hell’s Kitchen and reclaimed his criminal empire in Daredevil Volume 2 #46. With Maya Lopez getting her own Disney+ series (Echo) sometime later, it’s not too far-fetched to contemplate Kingpin’s angry return there. We have not seen the last of Vincent D’Onofrio.
2. Is Laura Mockingbird?
When Clint gives Laura the Rolex, she flips it over and we see the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem. Toward the bottom is the number nineteen. Yup, that’s interesting.
Laura the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent makes sense. Many relationships spring from the workplace (I met my wife while we were both booksellers at Barnes & Noble; fourteen years later, the store is long gone, but the romance is stronger than ever – yay us). Her hooking up with Clint while plotting assassinations across the globe feels suitable.
The nineteen, though, that’s curious. In the comics (that phrase again), Agent 19 is Mockingbird, the sometimes romantic partner for Hawkeye. On the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the character was portrayed by Adrianne Palicki under the name Bobbi Morse. That show spun from 2012’s The Avengers and frequently referenced the MCU, but the films that came after refused to acknowledge its existence.
If Laura is Agent 19 does that mean the MCU is retconning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Not necessarily. Marvel Studios doesn’t want to alienate that show’s vocal fanbase, but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get a definitive explanation regarding its relationship with the current status quo. Agent 19 and/or Mockingbird can be explained like 007, it’s a code name, and many agents have held it throughout the years.
3. Where is the Contessa?
Last week’s Hawkeye saw Yelena text Kate, saying that her mother hired her to kill Clint. Underneath that job was Yelena’s desire for revenge against Clint for killing her sister, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson). We’ve seen Avengers: Endgame, we know Natasha sacrificed herself in place of Clint, her buddy.
So, where did Yelena get the impression that Clint is the one to blame? From the Black Widow end-credits scene, where Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) said exactly that. We’re still not sure what this wannabe Nick Fury wants. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, she collected John Walker (Wyatt Russell) into her sinister cadre. With Yelena also on her squad, speculation suggests Valentina is forming her own Avengers or Anti-Avengers.
Hawkeye Episode 6 does nothing to confirm or deny this. Valentina is weirdly absent. While we’re super concerned about the Multiverse and Kang the Conquerer, Marvel Studios is keeping quiet regarding this other deadly thorn. She will most likely strike when we least expect her to, and since we were all waiting for her to appear in Hawkeye, we got denied.
4. Will we ever see Ronin again?
Hawkeye concludes with Kate and Clint standing over a roasting fire, and his old Ronin costume smoldering within. He desperately wants to put his Blip history behind him, but when you go on a kill-crazy rampage through the Marvel underworld, can you ever be free? No way. Unless someone else takes up your mantle and does something with it that redeems its dark image.
Again, Echo is coming. Maya’s comic book counterpart was actually the first character to don the Ronin costume. Clint Barton only wore it after she put it down and he came back from the dead, using the Ronin costume to avoid the awkward conversation around Hawkeye’s magical reincarnation. There’s a lot there involving Wanda Maximoff that we’ll most likely never deal with in the MCU.
Maya becoming Ronin could work. In the same manner that Batman wears a bat costume because he wants his enemies to feel the dread he once felt for the furry winged rodents, Maya could take on the Ronin costume because it mirrors the worst day in her life. She wants Fisk to feel the horror she did on that day. If he comes back from the dead, she’ll want to put him in the ground permanently, and the last thing she’ll want him to see is the last thing her father saw.
5. Where are the tiny Bros?
The most comical moment in Hawkeye Episode 6 is when Kate Bishop fires a Pym particle arrow at a Trust-A-Bro truck. Rather than crashing into her and Clint and exploding into a massive fireball, the truck transforms into a tiny toy version, and it collapses on the street with a meek little squeak. Before the two heroes can figure out what to do with these miniature baddie bros, an owl swoops from the sky and lifts the truck into the air.
Are they now rotting in some foul owl pellet somewhere? I sure hope not. I’d love to watch a Marvel short about these little crooks scampering across Central Park like the protagonists from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. There’s an adventure to be had there. Don’t waste the opportunity, Marvel. Let’s call it, “The Bro-owers.”
6. Is Kate the new Hawkeye?
After roasting the Ronin costume, Kate declares herself as Lady Hawk to Clint. He gives her a big “nope.” Kate tries out another name, Hawk Eve. That’s another negative from Clint. What about Hawkshot? Lady Arrow? No way. The series’ final line is Clint saying, “Actually, I have an idea.”
How about just Hawkeye? He doesn’t say that, but the title card appears like a period to his sentence. That’s how it goes in the comic books. There are two Hawkeyes, Clint and Kate. Is it confusing? Not really. We just don’t worry about it, and it’s kinda the perfect semi-awkward anecdote to hang on their story. It’s weird, like them, the two humans who shouldn’t be in the battle next to Hulk and Iron Man but are.