Attending a Disney+/Marvel press junket can be a funny thing.
Given the intense secrecy around Marvel projects, journalists typically receive only a handful of episodes to prepare for the press conference. That makes asking — and, for the talent, likely answering — questions about their characters or the series’ story arcs challenging to say the least. In the case of Disney+’s Hawkeye, three new actors join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and they all seemed terrified of spilling secrets.
Secrets potentially spoiled by the vast characters’ history as outlined in the original comics.
Case in point, Tony Dalton (Better Call Saul) plays Jack Duquesne, a popular comics character. When asked about how his relationship with major characters develop over the course of the show, Dalton panicked, “He’s sort of a family friend. Then, he becomes in love with Eleanor Bishop [Vera Farmiga], and they have a relationship. You don’t know where he’s coming from. I don’t know. What the hell else am I supposed to say?”
The questions didn’t stop there. Dalton had to dodge queries about a key sword fighting scene or whether or not the series will see him in an iconic costume from the comics.
Or take Farmiga’s Eleanor Bishop. When questioned about her character’s darker turn in the comics, Farmiga coyly said, “Does it get dark? We’ll see…”
And poor Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the series’s co-lead Kate Bishop, had to dodge a potential monumental question about Bishop and the potential advent of a Young Avengers.
No matter what you know about the comics or where Disney+’s Hawkeye goes when it premieres with two episodes on Wednesday, November 24, audiences will find themselves enthralled with a more grounded, character-driven story. Set during the Christmas season, the series brings Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton together with potential protege Kate Bishop (Steinfeld). Even with the brilliant and exciting action sequences the series offers, Hawkeye takes time to build relationships to engage audiences emotionally.
The heart of the story lives in the high-wattage chemistry between its stars.
“You set up characters that could be polar opposites in several ways, but then they have congruent values and belief systems and skill sets. It’s a wonderfully complicated relationship or partnership,” Renner explained. “I think you can put these two characters in different scenarios, and it’s gonna be a winning scenario. It has a mentor thing. It’s really touching and funny.”
Oscar-nominee Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) also found her way into the MCU through the character development offered in the series. She plays Eleanor Bishop, mother to Steinfeld’s potential hero-in-the-making Kate.
But Hawkeye also had one added benefit for Farmiga.
“Number one, I love archery just hands down. I am an archer. So, if I wasn’t gonna be wielding that bow and arrow, I just wanted to be next to someone with true grit that does,” Farmiga shared. “I also loved this very delicate and complex maternal relationship with daughters. It is a tricky sport raising a successful daughter, especially when the daughter and the mom have different ideas of what that success means.”
Plus, as this action series is set at Christmas (think Die Hard), the sense of the season brings an added emotional context to the story. Director Rhys Thomas and producer Kevin Feige set the series at the Christmas season in near-real time to give the audience the added anxiety of whether or not Renner’s Hawkeye would make it home in time for Christmas.
Plus, literally no one says anything about the Multiverse in the first two episodes which, after the intense, mind-bending Loki, is a welcome change of pace.
“This is fun because it is a Christmas story that is taking place during the holidays. Also, we set the series in not quite real time, but essentially in a six-day period. Six episodes, six days. Will Clint make it home for Christmas?” Feige explained. “Which was fun and a breath of fresh air after world ending stakes and celestials bursting out of planets and multiverse shenanigans. It is, like Hawkeye himself, a grounded, family-based show.”
Hawkeye drops on Disney+ on Wednesday, November 24.