Previously On: HAWKEYE And The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Hawkeye Jeremy Renner

There are lots of franchises out there and lots of storylines one needs to remember. Previously On is our way of providing a quick refresher with the plot points you may need to keep in mind for that upcoming sequel or spinoff. This installment updates you on all the happenings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it relates to the new Disney+ series Hawkeye.

Clint Barton, Agent Of SHIELD

Hawkeye Thor

Not much is known about the early pre-SHIELD agent years of Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. Even less is known about his time as an agent for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. At some point in his life he trained himself to become one of the foremost archers in the world. It is known that he frequently worked with fellow agent, and Soviet Union defector, Natasha Romanov and the two formed their close friendship during that time. One of their missions was to Bucharest.

In the spring of 2010, while Romanov is infiltrating Stark Industries in order to keep a close eye on CEO Tony Stark, SHIELD director Nick Fury orders Barton off of his vacation and to Puente Antguo, New Mexico, where a mysterious and quite immovable hammer has been discovered. SHIELD has erected a portable field laboratory at the site, and as part of its security detail, Barton almost shoots with his bow a blonde intruder from attempting to steal the hammer. The intruder is later revealed to be the Asgardian known as Thor.

A few days later, Thor and his fellow Asgardians Lady Sif and the Warriors Three defeat the enchanted armor known as the Destroyer, which had been sent by Loki to kill Thor. After the battles, Barton and SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson recover the remains of the Destroyer and transport it back to the SHIELD installation at Roswell, New Mexico.

Clint Barton, Avenger

Hawkeye Avengers

In May 2011, SHIELD scientists discover a way to channel energy from the Tesseract, an alien artifact with nearly unlimited power, into the remains of the Destroyer. Barton is assigned to the security detail at Project: Pegaus where this work is being done, with instructions to keep an on scientists Dr. Erik Selvig, who unbeknownst to them is being controlled by Loki. A year later when Loki arrives at Project: Pegasus to steal the Tesseract, he also brings Barton under his mind control. Loki orders Barton to steal iridium needed by Dr Selvig to build a device which would open a portal to allow an invasion by the Chitauri, a war-mongering alien race under Loki’s command. Loki later orders the brainwashed Barton to lead an attack on a SHIELD helicarrier where Stark, Romanov Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, are. Romanov manages to free Barton from Loki’s control. Together the group of heroes brought together by Fury under the “Avengers Initiative” manages to repeal the Chitauri invaders.

Following repelling the Chitauri invaders and defeating Loki, Barton remained assigned to working with the Avengers. While tracking Ultron, a sentient computer program partly derived from Tony Stark’s JARVIS artificial intelligence program, Banner is forced into becoming the Hulk, and his ensuing rampage goes large amounts of damage and turns the public’s opinion against the team. Barton is forced to reveal his biggest secret – that he has a wife, Laura, and three children living in a secluded farm house, away from all of the craziness of his life as a superhero. Ultimately, the Avengers, joined by two young Sarkovians, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, who had been given powers in a HYDRA experiment and Vision, a synthetic lifeform created out of an artificial body Ultron was building for himself but which was infused with Stark’s JARVIS AI instead, travel to Sarkovia to confront Ultron. In the ensuing melee, Pietro sacrifices himself to save Barton’s life. Barton retires after the mission to spend time with his family.

Clint Barton, Fugitive

Hawkeye Civil War

Barton’s retirement was short-lived. After the assassination of Wakandian monarch T’Chaka, Steve Rogers calls on Barton to help him prove the innocent of the accussed, Bucky Barnes. That puts him in conflict with Tony Stark, who is acting on orders from Thaddeus Ross, the U.S. Secretary of State, to enforce the Sarkovia Agreement, an international agreement limiting the activities of superheroes. Folling a fight between the two factions at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany, Barton and the rest of Rogers’s team are captured and imprisoned in the Raft, a superhuman detention facility. Their incarceration is short-lived as just a few weeks later, Rogers breaks in and frees his team.

Clint Barton, Ronin

Hawkeye Ronin

Rather than go on the run with his fellow ex-Avengers, Barton turns himself in and strikes a deal with the US government. He receives a sentence of home confinement, monitored by an ankle monitor.

In the spring of 2018, the Avengers were unable to stop intergalactic sociopath Thanos from gathering and using the powerful Infinity Stones to extinguish half the life in the universe. While Barton was spared the effects of the Snap, his family wasn’t and he stood by helpless as they vanished from existence. Unable to cope with the loss of his family, Barton threw himself into the newly chaotic world, hunting criminals as the vigilante Ronin.

In the fall of 2023, Natasha and Sam Wilson track Barton to Tokyo where she confronts him and persuades him to rejoin the Avengers for a mission to travel back in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones from before Thanos had acquired them. Ultimately, the Avengers managed to reverse the effects of The Snap, bring back to life everyone who had been killed.But in the effort, Natasha gave her life. Nearly two years later, families who once thought that they were separated forever have found themselves reunited and are just trying to settle back into a normal routine.

And while the Avengers know that Natasha sacrificed herself so that Barton could bring the Soul Stone back to the Avengers to defeat Thanos, the world only knows that that she died. And that ambiguity is enough for Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine to convince Natasha’s “sister” Yelena Belova that Barton was actually responsible for her death and orders her to kill him…

Black Widow

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About Rich Drees 7220 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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