Shooting Through Hawkeye’s Past

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Spider-Man No Way Home movie.


If you have been connected to media in any way, it is more than likely that you have heard of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as one of the largest franchises in the cinematic universes. Marvel has been playing with the idea of implementing the multiverse into the cinematic universe for a while, and with the addition of TV shows as well as movies to their arsenal, they finally have. 

Starting with the Time Variance Authority, Marvel has introduced the variants in Loki and has moved to have all three Spidermans appear in No Way Home. This confirms that the Marvel cinematic multiverse is canon. While this is all-new for the MCU, the source material for the films has had the multiverse since the 85th issue of The Avengers comic in 1971, with the term “Earth-616″ first being used in 1983.

Earth-616 is the primary planet that the comics take place in. However, it’s been confirmed that the events that take place in the MCU are on Earth-199999. The last Marvel TV show of 2021, Hawkeye, premiered on November 24th. Following Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), also known as Hawkeye, and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), his protégé. The show gave viewers more of an insight into Hawkeye’s character and the struggles he has encountered throughout his time in the MCU.


Not much is known about Clint’s past in the MCU. Some claim to know that he was born in Waverly, Iowa. Those who pay close attention will know that in Endgame, Redskull addressed him as “Clint, son of Edith” while on Vorimir, confirming that his mother is Edith Barton. The MCU has skipped over-explaining his early life and with the absence of it in Hawkeye, it’s likely that they never will. 

In Age of Ultron, released in 2015, Marvel introduced Clint’s family of five. After having no romantic plot nor any indication of one, this revelation came as a surprise and not just to Tony Stark. MCU fans have widely considered him having a family to have come out of nowhere and is unnecessary for both the character and the plot. In the film, Clint’s children, Cooper, Lila, and Nathaniel (named after Natasha Romanoff) were approximately thirteen, ten, and in the womb.

Even less is known about Laura Barton’s (Clint’s wife) past than Clint’s. Introduced along with her children in Age of Ultron, nothing other than her being the mother of Clint’s children and his wife was shown about her. It had remained this way until Hawkeye first aired. There it is shown that she speaks German, has a dangerous past, and, as confirmed in the last episode, is in fact an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D known as Agent 19. Her being an Agent has led fans to believe that she and Clint may have met while working in S.H.I.E.L.D, but nothing has been confirmed.

Throughout Clint’s time in the MCU, his friendship with Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, is heavily emphasized. From Nat joining the Avengers to protect Clint to her being the only Avenger to have a close relationship with Clint’s family, it is obvious that the two of them are best friends. Since the first Avengers movie, it has been common knowledge that Clint was the one to introduce Natasha to S.H.I.E.L.D after deciding to not take her out as his mission had dictated. In Hawkeye, fans were able to see Clint’s perspective on meeting Nat. “My best shot was the one I didn’t take,” Hawkeye says in a line that left fans emotional.

In The Avengers, Clint, like the rest of the original Avengers, is chosen by Director Fury to be a part of the team. Already, members of S.H.I.E.L.D., he, and Nat knew of the initiative and were trained fighters for longer than other members of the team. Then when Loki makes his first appearance, Clint’s free will is stripped from him via the mind stone. Clint serves as Loki’s commander for the majority of the movie, helping Loki acquire the people and materials needed to execute his plan.

When Loki purposely allows himself to be held on the Helicarrier, Clint uses a stolen Quinjet to lead an attack on the flying base with the intention of unleashing the Hulk. While on the carrier, he and Natasha are locked in battle against one another, ending in Nat giving him a “cognitive recalibration,” or as Nat explains, “hitting him really hard in the head.” Finally out of Loki’s control, Clint joins the Avengers in the Battle of New York, officially becoming a part of the Avengers.

The aftermath of the Infinity War left half of the universe’s population “blipped” by Thanos and the infinity stones, effectively killing half of the earth’s population. Unfortunately for Clint, his entire family, Laura, and the kids are blipped in front of him. Falling into depression Clint, takes on the identity of Ronin, becoming the morally gray vigilante that dismantles multiple gangs and cartels around the world that fans see in Endgame. Dropping the persona, he rejoins the Avengers to bring everyone who was lost back, where Nat sacrifices herself once fighting him for it.


When compared to what the MCU has to offer on Hawkeye’s backstory, the comics are as endlessly full of depth as the Starks bank account. Like in the MCU, Hawkeye is born in Waverly, Iowa, to Edith and Harold Barton, the latter of which is a drunk and physically abusive to both Clint and his older brother Barney. Clint and Barney are then sent to an orphanage following the untimely death of their caused by Harold Barton crashing into a tree while drunk driving with his wife.

After six years, Barney and Clint run away from the orphanage and join the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders. While a part of the Carnival, the two brothers work as laborers, and Clint is quickly singled out by the Swordsman, a performer skilled with blades, to be his protégé. As Clint is being taught in the ways of blades, Trickshot, another performer, is also teaching him how to shoot successfully and making Clint into a master archer.

One night, Clint witnesses the Swordsman embezzling money. His attempts to interfere end with him being beaten and left for dead, allowing the Swordsman to escape. Using his archery skills in his favor, Clint becomes Hawkeye: the master archer performer at the Tiboldt’s Circus and the Coney Island Circus. Inspired to become a nighttime vigilante after witnessing Ironman in action, Hawkeye is mistaken for a criminal in his first outing as a hero, forcing him to go on the run.

As a fugitive, he runs into Black Widow. In the comics, Black Widow is his first-ever team-up and first love. Following the Widow everywhere, Hawkeye joined her in attempting to steal from Tony Stark. Once the endeavor quickly turned south, she disappeared, leading to Hawkeye becoming the “straight-shooting” archer that is seen throughout the rest of the Earth-616 universe.

The MCU’s depiction of Clint first encountering the team as an enemy works true to Earth-616’s Hawkeye. Due to comic Hawkeye working with Black Widow to steal from Iron Man, Clint is not in good standing with the Avengers. Only able to join after Jarvis helped him stage a fight to clear his name, he gets to be sponsored by Iron Man. He joined the Avengers along with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in the 16th issue of The Avengers in May of 1965.

After a brief stint under the alias of Goliath, an identity that has been repurposed by multiple characters throughout his life, he leaves the Avengers for something many MCU fans wouldn’t expect. Very unlike his MCU counterpart, Earth-616 Hawkeye is romantically interested in Scarlet Witch and after a fight with Vision, it causes him to leave the Avengers.

He travels on his own for a while before returning to the team to help fight the Collector. Hawkeye takes the Collector one on one after the rest of the Avengers were defeated and bested him. But the celebration of his victory is quickly dashed as he was kicked off the team and replaced with the Falcon by the Avengers’ government liaison, Henry Gyrich. Back to being a civilian, he gets a job at Cross Technological Enterprises where he meets Agent 19.

A surprise to some fans may be that Laura Barton never existed in the comics. Instead, Hawkeye is married to Barbara “Bobbie” Morse, AKA Agent 19. Bobbie is known as one of S.H.I.E.L.D. ‘s best agents, graduating top of her class earning the codename “Mockingbird.” Very different to her MCU counterpart, she and Clint never have any kids but instead split after she lets the Phantom Rider, the man who drugged and raped her, die instead of saving him. Although, she did end up returning to help Hawkeye and Trickshot defeat a multitude of villains. She and Hawkeye reconcile but she soon dies in order to save her husband from Mephisto, a powerful villain from the X-Men comics. 

When Mockingbird and Hawkeye are married, the couple approaches Vision, who is the current chairman of the Avengers, and by his instruction travels west and forms the West Coast Avengers. The West Coast Avengers is the company’s first spin-off of The Avengers with the first issue being published in September of 1984. The team originally consists of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Iron Man (Jim Rhodes), Wonder Man, and Tigra with Hawkeye serving as the team’s leader for the first four issues. While on the team, they fought the Phantom Rider, causing Mockingbird to leave. After Mockingbird dies, Hawkeye leaves the West Coast Avengers, leaving the team to disband.

Throughout the MCU, there have been three characters that were presumed dead, by both fans and other characters. Being resurrected is much more common in the comics, Hawkeye himself having died twice before coming back. After rejoining the Avengers once again, Scarlet Witch brought a Kree (a dangerous alien) warship over New York City. Taken by surprise, the Avengers begin the battle unprepared, and during the fight, Clint’s quiver was set on fire. Knowing that he would be unable to get away before his explosive trick arrows were activated, he instead went into the engine of the warship, destroying it and sacrificing himself.

The first MCU show, WandaVision, shows Wanda using her powers to create her own reality inside the town of Westview. Similar to in the show, in the series House of M, Scarlet Witch creates an alternate reality where Hawkeye along with other heroes was resurrected with no memory of their death, much like Vision in WandaVision. Hawkeye is a part of a group founded by Luke Cage, another Marvel hero, called the Human Resistance who fights against the rulers of an alternate reality where he learns of his death from Wolverine who is able to remember his past life. 

During the battle against Wanda, Hawkeye, distraught after the news of his death, shoots Wanda in the back. In retaliation, one of Wanda’s children “erases” Hawkeye, leaving everyone to think he has been killed again. Later, the reality was restored with Wanda muttering the famous line, “No more mutants.” After which, the New Avengers found Hawkeye’s uniform and arrows along with an article covering his death leading them to believe that he has survived.

Unlike in the MCU, Hawkeye becoming the Ronin was not because of a tragic event. On Earth-616 Clint joins the New Avengers in its first volume as Ronin. Ronin is an identity that’s been used by five different characters. The original is Maya Lopez, who gave Clint her blessing to use the alias after he had been already using it for a while. After her came Clint Barton, Alexei Shostakov, Eric Brooks, and Bullseye. As Ronin, Clint went with the New Avengers to a downed Skrull, a fictional race of shapeshifting aliens, ship. There, a Skrull uses their shape-shifting ability to appear as Mockingbird, convincing Clint that she was held captive by the Skrulls.

Later, Clint finds the real Mockingbird, who was actually being held captive by the Skrulls for three years instead of dead as Clint had presumed. Clint drops the Ronin identity in another volume of the New Avengers when he joins a team with his wife, Mockingbird.

The Endgame

Clint Barton has been an essential part of the Marvel universe since he has been introduced. The character has grown, found love, had his fair share of troubles throughout his life, and gained quite a few fans. His future in both piles of the earth is unknown: the only clue fans have for where it may go is his past.