Out of all the founding Avengers, Hawkeye, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), is the last to receive a titular standalone show. For a long time, Marvel’s greatest archer served as a supporting player by hitting all of his targets dead on with various trick arrows. But now “Hawkeye” marks the first time he gets to step out of his fellow Avengers’ shadows while also reluctantly training a new protegee in Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). The latter made herself the enemy of the very dangerous tracksuit mafia. And all of it is set during the merriest year of all time, Christmas.
ThatsItLA had the chance to attend the “Hawkeye” press conference with their fellow journalists to talk about the MCU’s latest holiday project dedicated to telling Hawkeye’s story.
Rhys Thomas, who directs and executive produces, said the idea of having “Hawkeye” set during Christmas predates his involvement. However, he will take the credit for the “Die Hard” vibes the show has. “I think a character like Clint, just trying to live his life and trouble coming to find him,” Thomas said. “It’s a trope that I think yeah, we’ve all will love and enjoy and sending at Christmas time. I mean, again, that that clash of family time with business time. It’s a classic combo.”
“I would always argue ‘Iron Man 3’ is a Christmas,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige reminded.
“This is fun because it is a Christmas story that is taking place during the holidays,” Feige continued. “It was based on early discussions about a limited time period and setting a series not quite in real-time. But essentially, in a six-day period. Six episodes. Six days. Will Clint make it home for Christmas, which was fun in a breath of fresh air after world-ending stakes, specials, bursting out of planets, and multiverse shenanigans that, like Hawkeye himself, is grounded family based show.”
And we first meet Clint and his kids post-blip at a showing of the Rogers Musical, which had been an innocent suggestion that Thomas brought up at first and Feige ended up falling in love with. “I love the idea, and it gave a reason there. It was a bit of a generic Christmas in New York with Clint taking the kids. It was a daddy weekend before Christmas,” Feige said.
While Feige says he isn’t a social guy, he found himself chatting with Mark Shaiman in the past few events in the past ten years. Eventually, they figured out how to contextualize a musical based on the events of the first Avengers without having it feel forced. “So when we said that, it gave us context for the opening some context for why Clint is in New York, a context for Clint seeing himself in the way the way the world sees Hawkeye, and gave us an opportunity to have an amazing song by Mark Shaiman.”
And there’s nothing like experiencing Christmas in New York. The lights and sounds and holiday spirit collide together to create a special kind of magic. So it was important for Thomas to film a majority of “Hawkeye” in New York. “New York’s very special to me anyway. I think I was kind of a tyrant about being as true to New York as we could,” he said. “Nothing bugs me more than fake geography in movies and the texture. But, I think it was given that we had to go there and get a place, and it’s Christmas time in New York, so you want that real texture. Plus, we’ve got, you know, very human characters in the show as well. So, I think anyone can feel the real world feel, and breathe through the show and take it in.”
As to why the MCU returns to that specific time and place, it’s just something that Feige loves. And with good reason. “I’ve always loved films or shows or specials that take place over the holiday season. I think there’s a heightened amount of emotion and a heightened amount of conflict intention that can occur in this glorious season and have always honestly been looking for opportunities,” he said. “We’ve already announced the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special,’ which literally has been in the works for four years. ‘Hawkeye’ has come up and now come out. In that time, I thought that the Guardians wouldn’t be our first. So obviously, it’s very different, but I just love this time of year for the storytelling possibilities.”
The first two episodes of “Hawkeye” debut exclusively on Disney+ on November 24, 2021.