Hawkeye Director Rhys Thomas Reveals The Movies That Influenced The Marvel Series [Exclusive]

Over the years since his brief introduction in 2011's "Thor" and particularly his mostly brainwashed role in "The Avengers" the following year, Hawkeye has been cast as something of an underdog amid the much more powerful heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Clint Barton even hangs a lampshade on this in "Age of Ultron," laying out the absurd facts that, "The city is flying and we're fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense."

You might be mistaken to take that same mentality and apply it to the upcoming Disney+ "Hawkeye" series, however. Not only is the archer Avenger finally getting an extended share of the spotlight and bringing along Kate Bishop for the ride, but the creative team behind the show are bringing a whole host of influences and inspirations to punch up the proceedings even more — from Matt Fraction and David Aja's acclaimed comic book run, to classic films dating back to the '70s, '80s, and '90s as well.

A '70s New York Texture

Marvel's newest Disney+ series, "Hawkeye," is led by executive producer and director Rhys Thomas. Even those who don't know him by name, however, may very well be familiar with his work. Thomas has spent years involved with "Saturday Night Live," meticulously parodying all sorts of film genres, as well as taking the same approach in his "Documentary Now" series, which satirizes all sorts of familiar tropes and stylistic approaches to documentary work. In short, he boasts a wealth of knowledge about past and present storytelling patterns and touchstones that should come in handy with separating "Hawkeye" from the rest of the pack. In an interview with /Film, Thomas enlightened us on several of the influences he brought into his contributions to "Hawkeye." Some of these, it must be said, may surprise you!

"Yeah, I sort of took from [Matt] Fraction [and his comic book run.] I really enjoyed the kind of '70s New York texture that he had. A lot of references, sort of early on when I started pulling images and sharing them with my director of photography, Eric Steelberg, came from everything. From 'Klute' and, I remember, 'Thief' was one and 'Point Blank.' But then 'Léon: The Professional' was a big one when we started defining textures. Obviously you could go back to the French New Wave as well. So that's the pretentious answer.

But ultimately, it was really just trying to find portraits of New York and portraits of people that just had a grounded quality to them and that had a real texture of New York as well. And sort of looking at the way that New York is shown in those and an approach to action too. I would also say, on Christmas level, 'Die Hard' and 'Home Alone' were also that."

We probably could've expected the "Die Hard" and "Home Alone" shout-outs, of course, but even a passing reference to the 1971 Alan Pakula paranoid thriller "Klute" (starring Donald Sutherland and especially Jane Fonda in an incredible turn), Michael Mann's noir crime thriller "Thief," and 1994's "Léon: The Professional" is enough to raise confidence in this show's pedigree. Although I'm all-in on the lighthearted holiday aesthetic, hopefully the series won't shy away from diving into all the layers of New York City — both the highs and the lows — than the MCU has previously shown.

"Hawkeye" comes to Disney+ on November 24, 2021.