I think this is probably the first installment of Connecting Imaginary Dots that I’ve done since coming over to That Hashtag Show, so before you read, allow me to explain the idea. Connecting Imaginary Dots was the title I came up with for my speculation pieces when I was writing at MCU Exchange. These types of pieces basically allow me to unload a bunch of junk that’s circulating in my brain in a way that should never be confused for things I actually expect to happen. I basically take a bunch of facts that are almost always entirely unrelated and do my best to connect the dots with by stretching my imagination. In the past these types of pieces have resulted in me theorizing that the Spider-Man sequel which became Far From Home might end up being a team-up outing of Spidey and Hulk in the Savage Land; to counter that, I also wrote one theorizing that Sterling K. Brown would be playing the father of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther LOOOOOONG before anyone else was considering it. The bottom line is this: these are fun spec pieces that allow me to just be a fan. With that out of the way…
While the Avengers: Endgame trailer was by no means a disappointment, it certainly did not give fans much to go on as they try to puzzle together how the film is going to go down. The focus was, as it should be, on Tony and Steve as they build towards the resolutions to arcs that have been building for a decade. Each of the other original Avengers did get their face time in the trailer, however, but the one that had fans buzzing the most was that one that most fans could have gone without 6 years ago. Clint Barton’s brief appearance in the trailer gave us our first official look at him as Ronin, something we all knew was coming but, apparently, weren’t quite prepared for. Those of you who have been following me for a while may remember that I scooped not only the appearance of Ronin, but also that there was a reason behind the dark turn. At the time, I did not detail the events that would cause Barton to go off the reservation, and I’m going to stick to that now for those of you who haven’t already figured it out, but here’s the original scoop as it was written:
We don’t want to get to deep into spoiler territory here, but we are told that the events of Avengers: Infinity War (one specific event in particular) leaves Barton in a VERY dark place and is the inciting moment in the archer’s shift into this darker superhero mantle. Given the nature of events that cause the shift, it’s possible that they may not make the final cut of the film, but trust us when we say that if they do, you will absolutely know it when you see it.
It’s pretty evident that we’ll definitely be finding out a bit more about what Barton went through in Avengers: Endgame and it has a whole lot to with why he’s not only getting all stabby with Japanese Yakuza, but also why he look so absolutely broken when Nat finally sees his face. While that’s going to make for a sad story, it’s not really the point of this piece, just one of the points I’m trying to connect. What I really want to know, the question that really drove me to finally develop this piece is: what is Clint Barton doing in Japan killing Yakuza? I’m fairly certain that there are plenty of people worth stabbing back stateside, after all, so what made him suit up and head to Japan? The answer…a rescue mission.
The Clint Barton we see in the picture above is broken. As people pointed out after the trailer, Clint’s seen some shit. To me Clint can be broken. Clint can be shaken to his core. But Clint, this version of Clint, can never have his moral compass thrown off and so I refuse that he’s out here killing Yakuza for the hell of it. I’ve read the fan speculation that he’s killing them because they’re Skrulls and, to be honest, I love that idea, and that idea and mine could easily coexist but here’s the point: Clint is in a dark place in a a dark world, but the world still needs Avenging and he’s doing it.
In late October, rising star Katherine Langford was officially announced as part of the cast of Avengers: Endgame. Her role remains a secret to this day, but it was revealed at the time of the announcement that Langford had already filmed her scenes, meaning she could have been on set at any time. Now I have no idea who Langford is actually playing. Rumors have been all over the place, but the first name that popped into my head when she was announced was Kate Bishop.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the character, Kate Bishop was introduced into Marvel Comic continuity in 2005’s Young Avengers #1. The daughter of a wealthy publisher, Derek Bishop, Her father was less than an honest man and, because of his misdeeds, Kate was abducted by the criminal known as El Matador. She was rescued by the Avengers and, during the rescue, became fascinated with how Barton, a man with no superpowers, could hold his own amongst gods and monsters. Kate, who was sexually assaulted as a young girl, trained herself in martial arts and as an archer, eventually met Barton, became his protege and took on the mantle of Hawkeye and fought as a member of the Young Avengers.
Many people, myself included, believe Kevin Feige when he says they have plans to bring the Young Avengers to the screen. Actress Emma Fuhrmann is rumored (by me) to be playing an older Cassie Lang in the film, so if Langford is playing Kate Bishop, that would give us two members of the team in Endgame. We’ve also heard rumors that Feige and his team have toyed with the idea of developing a Barton/Bishop team-up film, so laying the groundwork for it here would work nicely and it’s possible that those scenes of Clint in Japan are doing just that.
I’ve had a lot of scenarios go through my mind, but one that keeps coming back around is this. The world post-snap is a bad place and a lot of bad people are taking advantage of not only the lack of super heroes, but the lack of governments and law enforcement officials as well. Whether by chance or because he’s been paid by her father, Barton crosses paths with the Yakuza who have kidnapped Kate Bishop in hopes of blackmailing the billionaire businessman. Clint, in his Ronin garb, is happy to accept the job. The idea of a father possibly losing a daughter doesn’t sit well with the Avenging Archer, so as we see in the trailer, he’s more than happy to end a few gangsters to reunite the Bishop family. From there the rest sorts itself out: Bishop’s admiration for Barton and need to be able to protect herself drives her to train. I can even see a situation in which we flash forward to some point in the future where Bishop has teamed up with Cassie Lang, teasing the beginnings of the Young Avengers. I don’t think we’ll see Clint and Kate develop the deep bond that the two share in the comics during this film, but I can absolutely connect the dots that the two might meet and plant the seed for a future Hawkeyes movie down the line.
Of course this is all very unlikely to play out. While I think Langford is too big of a potential star to just play a small, one off role in the film (and I do think that whichever actress ends up playing Kate Bishop will quickly become a major star), there are just too many unknowns to be able to say with any certainty who she is actually playing. Additionally, as likely as it is that Marvel Studios subtly plants some seeds for the future in this movie, there’s no reason for anyone to think that this specific seed is about to be sewn. I love the Young Avengers. I love the books and I love the idea. So this is where my head goes when I see young talent being added to the MCU. Other people certainly see other options and, at this point, they’re probably all a lot more likely than this one. So will Clint’s trip to Japan be to rescue Kate Bishop, showing us the beginnings of one of the most endearing partnerships in recent Marvel Comics history? As with all our fan theories and speculation, we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.
Avengers: Endgame will open in theaters around the globe April 26, 2019.