In my recap of the first two episodes of Hawkeye I mentioned at one point I got misty eyed. Well, it was in the show’s very first scene which, basically, had the biggest spoiler to find in both episodes. So when we spoke to Hawkeye executive producer Trinh Tran about the show, of course we had to ask about the scene in question, and find out what went into making it happen.
The opening scene of Hawkeye takes place in New York City circa 2012. Now, 99% of us all had the same thought in that moment. “Oh, if this is 2012 New York City, we’re at the battle of New York from the end of The Avengers.” Which, it turns out, is the case. Loki and the Chitauri are invading New York, the Avengers are trying to stop them, but the collateral damage is unthinkable. Spider-Man: Homecoming already dealt with this and now, Hawkeye does too. When a corner of Kate Bishop’s apartment is smashed, one of the Chitauri warriors goes in for the kill. Kate is frozen like a deer in headlights until an arrow kills the alien. An arrow from none other than Hawkeye himself. As he swings down from the building, you instantly understand why this character wants to be a hero, and why Hawkeye is her favorite Avenger. Which, according to Tran, was exactly the reaction they were going for.
“We wanted to figure out a pivotal moment that made sense for Kate to enter the MCU, especially through her eyes” Tran told io9 via video chat. “Out of all of the moments, the most memorable one is battle of New York and we were trying to figure out, obviously, her age and how it fits within that time frame, as well as the experience and the events and everything. And battle of New York was just the perfect time [especially] because of [Hawkeye’s] iconic shot when he does that flip. I mean, I remember it to this day the first time I watched it.”
[Note: To be fair, in the show the arrow that saves Kate happens right before the jump and in the clip above you clearly see that didn’t happen. Thankfully, it’s a movie and he fired a lot of arrows so we suspend disbelief a bit.]
So they had a moment linking a young Kate to Hawkeye that everyone would recognize. Now, it had to be flipped. “We wanted to figure how do we get Kate’s perspective on it?” Tran continued. “How does she witness something like this that forever changed who she thinks she wants to become and start training in archery and wanting to learn and do what she does? So that moment just made perfect sense in terms of how it fits within Kate’s story in terms of the timeline, and in terms of how old she is in the present day as well, too. And like I said, the lens through her and her perspective pushing her to want to learn archery is that moment that I think everybody really remembers from the first Avengers.”
And because Marvel was linking back to one of its own movies, the process wasn’t as difficult as one might think. “The footage is actually from he first Avengers movie, so it was really going through and figuring out what moments we haven’t seen yet and how we can pull that into the world of Kate and creating it from her perspective,” Tran said. “And and some of them were obviously CG shots that we had created in this particular series as well. But most importantly, all of our storylines and all of our series are connected and this was our way into the MCU.”
One that fits so perfectly, and tapped that vein of of nostalgia so poignantly, it made me a little emotional. The first two episodes of Hawkeye are now on Disney+.
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