Everything Hawkeye's Opening Credits Sequence Tells Us About Kate Bishop

"Hawkeye" has arrived on Disney+ today! The first two episodes of the latest TV series from Marvel Studios are here, and it starts in quite an unexpected way. Flashing back to 2012, we learn that new character Kate Bishop (played by young Clara Stack before Hailee Steinfeld takes over in present day) was caught up in the Battle of New York waged between The Avengers and Loki and his Chitauri alien army. 

The opening sequence reveals how Hawkeye saved little Kate Bishop from a Chitauri soldier who was flying towards a hole blasted into her luxurious New York apartment, igniting a spark of admiration and inspiration inside of her. Unfortunately, the attack resulted in the death of her father Derek Bishop (Brian d'Arcy James), leaving her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) as Kate's single surviving parent. With the fear of another alien attack in her heart, young Kate proclaims that she will protect the family she has left if these aliens ever come back. But first, she needs a bow and arrow. Cue the opening credits sequence, which actually does some storytelling. 

Hawkeye Opening Credits Sequence

Marvel Studios hasn't introduced a character in this fashion before. So when I asked executive producer Trinh Tran why they opted to use the opening credits sequence as a piece of Kate Bishop's origin story instead of revealing these details throughout the series. Tran explained:

"We wanted the moments that they connected and with the incidents from a past event — I know you've seen it. I can't even say it. — But it was something to link them together and pull her into the MCU, and from that moment on, she wanted to start training and getting into archery because she idolizes who he is and how he saved the world and everybody in New York. What was great about that was, it was jumping from, obviously that flashback scene, all the way to present day and telling her present day journey, leading up to her encounter with Clint rather than go through a ton of time with the training process that we all know, especially after what she says to mom, you know, 'I need a bow and arrow.' We figure it might be really interesting because we were going to have to have some sort of credit sequence. Let's fit that within that space and then do it in a stylistic way. That is a nod to [Matt] Fraction and [David] Aja."

Matt Fraction and David Aja are the creators behind the "Hawkeye" comic book arc that revamped the character in an exciting way, giving him a compelling story and a new sidekick (as well as Best Boy, Lucky the Pizza Dog). The artistic style of the credits sequence is directly inspired by the illustrations from Fraction and Aja's comic book run, a story that is well worth reading if you're looking to dive into Hawkeye comics.

What Does This Tell Us About Kate Bishop?

The opening credits sequence for "Hawkeye" doesn't just tell us who's responsible for making the series, but for the first time in Marvel history, it provides some valuable information about a new character. In fact, the opening credits sequence actually serves as part of Kate Bishop's origin story, filling in the gap between 2012 and the present day.

Following up on Kate Bishop's request for a bow and arrow from her mother, she starts practicing. Obviously, she's not very good. Her arrows land nowhere near the bullseye. But she's determined, and we see her constantly trying to get better. She improves to the point where she gets third place in an archery competition. But that's not the only arena that Kate Bishop will be excelling.

As Kate improves in archery, she's also competing in fencing, martial arts, and gymnastics. As the credits sequence goes on, Kate's shelf amasses trophies and medals in all of these areas. But she learns hard lessons during this time too. One shot reveals her face with bandages and scrapes after a karate tournament. Another shows her standing in an arrogant fashion before a fencing bout, only to get parried right in the chest. But in both instances, she doesn't give up and comes back with a vengeance. But I love this detail, because it not only shows her determination, but it shows that sometimes her confidence may be misplaced, and she occasionally has to face the consequences for it.

Back to wielding the bow and arrow, after Kate has done some growing up, we see her shooting three arrows simultaneously, and each of them hits their target square in the bullseye. Calling herself the "world's greatest archer" may not be quite as self-inflated as it might seem.

One of the more intriguing shots before the final title card appears to show Kate leaping over alleys from the rooftops. Is this meant to imply that she may have been doing some light vigilante work on the side before we catch up with her in "Hawkeye" when she's at college? Or is this merely how she keeps up her physical training?

Mother Knows Best?

There's one other detail that I wanted to hone in on from the opening credits sequence. While Kate Bishop gets better and better with a bow and arrow, her mother Eleanor is always right by her side. However, in the final shot that reveals just how far Kate has come, her mother is no longer there. I don't think that's unintentional, but what is this detail meant to symbolize?

Kate's mother is shown to be attentive, but in the opening sequence when she's a child, it makes it seem like she doesn't have the same connection with her mother as she did with her father. Eleanor does her best though, and it appears she did the same even as a single parent. But her absence when Kate has mastered archery makes me think that either she no longer has the time to pay attention to Kate, or the young archer has grown up to the point where she's started to distance herself from her mother.

Based on the events of the first episode of "Hawkeye," I think it's safe to say that both are possible. In fact, I think that Kate not being quite so close with her mother may be what results in her being caught off guard by Eleanor being involved in some nefarious activities. After all, Eleanor has an intimidating conversation with Armand Duquesne, the father Eleanor's new husband Jack Dusquene. Though the series is placing a lot of focus on Jack being untrustworthy, I think there's a twist coming that will reveal Eleanor isn't exactly a saint. We'll find out as the six-episode run of "Hawkeye" continues in the coming weeks.