Hawkeye's Ronin Side Will Resurface In The Disney+ TV Series

Remember when Clint Barton slayed a bunch of yakuza goons in "Avengers: Endgame?" After his family got dusted in the Snapture, whereby Thanos willed half of all life out of existence, Jeremy Renner's character adopted a new identity — that of Ronin instead of Hawkeye. He got tatted up and started speaking Japanese and wielding a samurai sword instead of a bow and arrow. When Clint returned after the time jump in "Endgame," Black Widow watched him slice and dice a yakuza boss played by Hiroyuki Sanada in Tokyo, showing how ruthless a killer he'd become.

All of that might seem slightly at odds with the Shane Black-esque, Christmas action movie tone that the Disney+ series, "Hawkeye," offered in its first trailer (see the newer one below). The series is on target for its premiere later this month, and more details are coming out now about the direction it plans to take.

Members of the creative team recently spoke to Total Film, which itself pegs "Hawkeye" as a series with "the lightest tone of all the Disney Plus streaming [Marvel] shows." So, how are they going to square that light and frothy tone with the dark Ronin chapter of Hawkeye's history?

Amber Templemore-Finlayson, the "Bert" half of the directing duo Bert & Bertie, calls "Hawkeye" an "absurd Christmas story," saying it's "genuinely not what you expect." But she also says that Renner wanted to acknowledge the darkness in Clint's past, even if the series doesn't dwell on it. She explained:

"He wanted the darkness. He wanted to go there. And there are moments that the Ronin Clint resurfaces. It's very important to have those depths that you can explore, so that he can come out of it."

Continuity and Characterization in the MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has built its brand on popcorn entertainment, heroes who are fast on their feet, and free-flowing with witty quips. Not counting Marvel TV's canceled Netflix shows, we've yet to really see the MCU deliver a serious drama — though its first Disney+ series, "WandaVision," did deal with grief and trauma this year in its own sitcom-inspired manner.

It feels par for the course that "Hawkeye" might gloss over some of Clint Barton's murderous deeds as Ronin. We'll have to wait and see if the show is able to address them in a way that feels true to the character's arc. Hopefully Hawkeye will be better served than Sharon Carter was in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier;" her character underwent a drastic change between movies and shows, and it didn't feel organic to the character we knew.

The MCU is at a point now where, in order to keep expanding, it has to engage in a little bit of retroactive continuity sometimes — as is the case with "Eternals" explaining why its powerful, centuries-old heroes were absent during the conflict with Thanos. Perhaps "Hawkeye" can somehow retcon Ronin's killing spree into less of a bloodbath.

For now, Hawkeye has got his family back and all is well in his world again. This is his first solo outing; he's the last founding Avenger to get one of those. 

The first two episodes of "Hawkeye" premiere on Disney+ on November 24, 2021.