Disney+ should already renew Hawkeye for season 2
The Marvel Cinematic Universe post-Avengers: Endgame has been a bit of a mixed bag, with too few creative highs competing with too many narrative lows for a few minutes of attention. There’s an argument to be made that Phase 4 should have been one of consolidation rather than further expansion—one that valued quality over quantity—but I don’t run Marvel or Disney, I just write words on the internet about TV shows. So I’m going to ignore the facts in favor of a silly but sincere Christmas wish: Renew Hawkeye for season 2 you cowards!
Now you might be saying, “Hey, didn’t you just write an article arguing that Disney+ should start moving away from Marvel-and-Star-Wars-heavy lineups to focus on more original ideas?” And to that I will say: Yes, I wrote it! Thanks for remembering. I also still believe in it as an overall programming strategy. But Hawkeye is not a new show and therefore this does not break my own rules that I have made.
Hawkeye was the fourth live-action Marvel series to come to Disney+, arriving on the platform just in time for the 2021 holiday season. After the star WandaVisiondisappointing The Falcon and the Winter Soldierand the potentially-only-exists-to-keep-Tom-Hiddleston-in-the-MCU Loki, the Christmas-themed comedy was proof that the next chapter of the MCU would benefit from more low-key, standalone adventures with distinct personalities that prioritize character development over epic, world-saving stakes. (If that wasn’t a major argument for why the MCU should expand to TV beyond driving Disney+ subscriptions, it should be.)
In addition to introducing us to Hailee Steinfeld’s young archer Kate Bishop, Hawkeye closed the loop on the heartbreaking death of Scarlett Johannson’s Natasha Romanoff for several characters while filling the void left by Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) time as Ronan. Kate’s enthusiasm breathed life into an aging franchise, while her chemistry with Renner as Clint—a jaded, down-and-out superhero three seconds away from yelling that he’s “too old for this shit”—allowed for a goofy, light-hearted atmosphere that we expected to see between Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) i The Falcon and the Winter Soldier but was rudely refused. Secure, Hawkeyethe plot was sometimes clumsy and Vera Farmiga was in a completely different show than the rest of the cast, but a welcome performance from Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, a catchy original song from the Broadway hit in the universe Rogers: The Musicaland a stupid LARPing subplot made sure of that Hawkeye was, while not a perfect show, a perfect balance of superhero and shenanigans.
While Marvel’s Disney+ series naturally have the ability to feed into and support the ongoing narrative of the feature films, they don’t — and shouldn’t — depend on what’s happening elsewhere in the MCU at any given time. In the wake of the coming-of-age series Mrs. Marvel and legal comedy She-Hulk: Lawyerit feels like someone finally told Kevin Feige this, and that’s why there’s a second season off Hawkeye should be high on his priority list. And you can’t tell me Marvel hasn’t considered it; the show was submitted as a comedy at the Emmy Awards, not a limited series. Although it could have been a strategic move to not steal votes from the (underwhelming) Moon Knight, it could also be because Marvel intends to one day continue the story of Clint and Kate. The writers even left a well-placed dangling thread for season 2: the revelation that Clint’s wife, Laura (Linda Cardellini), is not only a very understanding wife and mother, but a former SHIELD agent known as Agent 19, aka Mockingbird . Granted, I doubt anyone at Marvel ever intended this to be more than a fun easter egg for comic book fans, but few viewers would take issue with an opportunity to further explore this development.
In a deeper way, it is also something that Hawkeye offers that few other Marvel shows and movies do right now, which is the perspective of life as a parent and a middle-aged superhero, one in the twilight of his world-saving days. The 2017 movie Logan, which featured an aging Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), was an excellent departure from much of the genre at the time. Since then, we’ve seen older versions of Spider-Man in two different films involving the multiverse: 2018’s Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the 2021 century Spider-Man: No Way Home, the latter of which saw the return of Tobey Maguire as an older Peter Parker opposite Tom Holland (and Andrew Garfield). With so much familiar feeling in superhero projects these days, exploring Clint’s perspective, seen through the eyes of the next generation, is another detour that can lead to narrative creativity.
Also working in the show’s favor is the fact that the show’s low-key approach to superheroes means it’s probably cheaper to produce than some other Disney+ shows. Given the company’s current financial woes, a lower price tag should look pretty good to recently reinstalled CEO Bob Iger. So if the rumors are true that the Marvel train is looking to slow down and rethink as it prepares to enter Phase 5, a new season of Hawkeye undoubtedly ticks a number of boxes. In addition, it has a very cute dog. And who am I to deny the world a very cute dog?
Kaitlin Thomas is an entertainment journalist and television critic. Her work has appeared in TV guide, salon and TV.comamong other things. You can find her tweets about TV, sports and Walton Goggins @thekaitling or read more of her work at kaitlinthomas.com.
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