Features and Columns · TV

Is ‘Hawkeye’ Leading Us to ‘Blade’?

One of the Disney+ series’ supporting characters suggests the vampiric future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hawkeye Premiere Explained
Marvel Studios
By  · Published on November 29th, 2021

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 the two-episode Hawkeye premiere and ponders Eleanor Bishop’s possible connection to everyone’s favorite Daywalker, Blade. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.

At first glance, Marvel’s Hawkeye seems like a fast, loose romp. Despite opening on the New York cataclysm first witnessed in The Avengers and the traumatic scar it left on Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), the Disney+ series operates with adventurous enthusiasm. Is this the Marvel Cinematic Universe or a very special episode of Simon & Simon? Oh, you don’t get that reference? How about Magnum P.I.?

Episode 1 of Hawkeye is out to have fun. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) returns to the city where he battled Chitauri thugs and Ultron drones. As a farmhouse man, he despises the highrise cage on a good day, but it’s even worse when he has to suffer through a Broadway musical transforming his friends into prancing commodities. He’s almost relieved when he catches a news story about Ronin’s return. Someone else is wearing the suit he donned during The Blip.

Meet Kate Bishop, impossibly the world’s biggest Hawkeye fan.

Barton tries to shed himself of Kate while Kate attempts to evolve her fandom into friendship. Their dynamic is sweet and playfully antagonistic. As they push and pull against each other, a local goon squad draped in tracksuits nip at their heels. Bro, they want what Kate stole before they could steal it.

When Kate nabbed the Ronin costume from her future stepdad’s secret underground auction (more on that in a minute), she also procured a watch that once made its home at the Avengers compound. For some reason, a mysterious third party hired the tracksuit mafia to snatch the timepiece. Hijinks, hijinks, hijinks — what’s this got to do with Blade?

Eleanor Bishop’s Wacko Comic Book Origin

You don’t hire Vera Farmiga just to play mom. You only hire Vera Farmiga to play mom if she’s Mrs. Bates. And while Kate’s mom, Eleanor Bishop, may not graduate to serial killer sainthood, there is certainly some darkness hiding in her basement. And beneath that darkness, vampires could be buried.

In the comics, when we first meet Kate Bishop, her mom is long dead. After striking up with Clint Barton, Kate decides to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding Eleanor’s passing. She discovers that her father, Derek, was actually responsible. Even more upsetting, her father is working in collaboration with Kate’s nemesis, Madame Masque.

During Hawkeye Episode 1, we’re led to believe that Derek Bishop died during the Chitauri invasion. But we never saw him go down. We have no idea how he perished. If he even perished at all. Let’s keep this in the back of our minds.

Kate’s comic book counterpart partners with Clint to take down her father’s criminal organization in Hawkeye #7. They succeed, but her dad manages to shift his consciousness into the body of a younger clone. Oh, comics. Gotta love them. And! Kate uncovers several clues that her mother may actually be alive.

Vampires are at the Heart of Who Kate Bishop is as an Avenger

Kate and Clint form their West Coast Avengers and square off against Madame Masque, Derek’s too-handsome clone, and their West Coast Masters of Evil. Kate is nearly killed in combat, but at the last second, she’s rescued by none other than her mother, who has been working with Madame Masque in secret as one of her goons. Eleanor wants revenge on Derek for leaving her to rot so many years ago.

Later, the West Coast Avengers are hunting Skrulls, who actually turn out to be vampires. Okay, okay, okay. Get ready. This is where it gets really weird.

The vampires capture Kate. She learns that they want to suck the blood of her multiversal teammate America Chavez. They believe that the odd dimensional properties in her blood will allow them to become Daywalkers like Blade, the heroic vampire who does not fear the sunlight.

Eleanor joins the West Coast Avengers, saying she wants to help them rescue her daughter from the vampires, but when America Chavez isn’t looking, Eleanor clamps down on her neck! Mrs. Bishop is nosferatu, the undead, and she wants to be a Daywalker too. The multi-year-long storyline of what happened to Eleanor Bishop and how she survived her death is finally revealed. Thankfully, Kate stops her mom from drinking too deep of her teammate, and Eleanor does not become the next Blade.

Hawkeye is the Perfect, Unususpecting Place to Unleash Bloodsuckers

Based on everything we see in the first two episodes of Hawkeye, it seems unlikely that this series will get as ridiculous as the West Coast Avengers storyline. Hawkeye, as we know him as Clint Barton, has always been the least fanciful Avenger. Maybe even a little snoozy. He’s just a guy with some arrows. How cool is he when standing next to Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man? Not very.

The Disney+ series seems like it wants to play with that perception. As Kate Bishop sees it, his lack of superpowers and choice of weapon is what makes him interesting. He dares to rock a bow while Thanos snaps magical gauntlets. That’s badass. That’s inspirational.

Clearly, her mom is up to something. Eleanor’s fiance, Jacques Duquesne (Tony Dalton), is another Marvel Comics character with a villainous history: Swordsman. Hence all the pointy blades in their apartment. Kate has already caught mom in a few suspicious whispers, and her big party housed the supervillain auction that the tracksuit mafia raided. And again, Vera Farmiga doesn’t do sweet, supporting characters. There must be some meaty, treacherous dialogue for her to chew in the future.

There is No Stopping Vampires from Entering the MCU

Vampires have already landed in the MCU. The Eternals final end-credits scene revealed Dane Whitman’s supernatural familial history. And from offscreen, we heard Mahershala Ali‘s Blade mutter his approval. Obviously, we’re all familiar with this character’s vibe from the Wesley Snipes films, but they don’t quite jive with what we’ve gotten from the Marvel Studios franchise so far.

Incorporating bloodsuckers into the MCU will take work. Hawkeye will probably not consume itself with vampirism, but it is an opportunity to ease their possibility into the greater Marvel saga. Slightly reworking Eleanor Bishop’s comic book origin for Marvel live-action only requires a few tweaks, and it slides neatly into their previously established adaptation strategy. Eleanor may not be nosferatu, but whatever criminal enterprise she’s navigating may touch upon Blade’s immortal family.

What’s the deal with that Avengers watch? When will Florence Pugh bring Black Widow‘s promised revenge upon Clint Barton? Is that Echo at the end of Hawkeye Episode 2? Yes, yes, it is. Those questions and plot points will take precedence over the vampire prospect.

Also, this Blade business may just be another WandaVision Mephisto situation. Comic book history is not movie history.

Vera Farmiga is hiding something, though. When it reveals itself, the revelation will rock Kate Bishop’s universe and propel her into a Young Avengers future. She better take advantage of her fandom and absorb as many Clint Barton life lessons as she can. And she may want to consider a wooden stake for her quiver of trick arrows.

Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)