Hawkeye Director Teases Yelena Belova And Clint's First Meeting: 'We Know Their Past'

Man, Hawkeye just can't catch a break. With the exception of (the now-late) Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton is the only member of the Avengers without any actual superpowers — no, "Can shoot a bow and arrow really, really well" would not fly on a superhero résumé and you shouldn't let it count, either. 

He spent almost the entirety of 2012's "The Avengers" under Loki's mind control, he almost got killed in the opening sequence of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," he lost his entire family to Thanos' snap and subsequently went off the deep end in "Avengers: Endgame." Oh, and he also lost his best friend, Natasha, in a seemingly never-ending series of self-sacrifice attempts. Even the premise of the upcoming "Hawkeye" series is all about poor Barton simply trying to make it home for the holidays. Something tells us those plans are about to go awry, too.

As if all that weren't bad enough, he now has Natasha's adoptive sister, Yelena Belova, breathing down his neck on her quest for revenge ahead of their inevitable meet-up in "Hawkeye."

Awkward Introductions

If you stuck around for the post-credits tag at the end of "Black Widow," Julia Louis-Dreyfus' mysterious Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine made a repeat appearance in the MCU after first cameoing in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." Clearly up to no good, Fontaine goads Florence Pugh's Yelena into targeting Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), the last person to see Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) alive, and is now being held responsible for her untimely death. With Pugh confirmed to appear at some point in "Hawkeye," all eyes now turn to the tense confrontation between Yelena and Clint. GamesRadar+ caught up with "Hawkeye" director Rhys Thomas and asked for more details about the collision course that both superheroes appear to be on in the upcoming Disney+ series:

"I can't speak to that. But yes, we know their past, and obviously what happened in 'Endgame.' We know in these first two episodes that Clint's dealing with the fallout of that. But in terms of how they meet, I can't — I'll just pretend I don't know. Imagine it's a happy meeting, where they talk over coffee and work things out."

If there's one surefire way to avoid spilling spoilers, it's to plead the Fifth. 

Though tight-lipped about the precise details of how Yelena will interrupt the Barton/Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) dynamic in the otherwise separate story, Thomas' comments might seem to imply that "Hawkeye" will be far more interconnected than viewers first assumed. That won't be the case, as Thomas assures us that "Hawkeye" is still very much its own thing altogether:

"It's definitely a standalone thing in that we have this Christmas setting, and this very fixed timeframe story. But it being the MCU, of course, it all connects in some way as well. And we've got new characters, and this was teed up at the end of 'Black Widow' as well. And so everything is always a nice entry point. But I think for the most part, the story is its own little world."

This is surely the minority opinion at this point, but I'm looking forward to "Hawkeye" as a much-needed breather from the increasingly hectic workings of the overall MCU. Crossovers will always be a built-in part of the franchise's appeal, but sometimes you just want to see a low-stakes Hawkeye and Kate Bishop team-up set during Christmastime.

"Hawkeye" streams on Disney+ on November 24, 2021.