Hawkeye‘s main villain is still a mystery, but the Disney+ series could reveal that Kate Bishop’s mother is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest threat. Jeremy Renner’s time as Clint Barton will continue after Avengers: Endgame. Just as Scarlett Johansson got her long-awaited Black Widow solo movie, Marvel Studios decided to give Renner’s Hawkeye a Disney+ show to give the character a proper spotlight. The next chapter in Hawkeye’s MCU story is still shrouded in mystery, however, even after the first trailer was released.
Clint Barton is at the focus of Hawkeye, where his family will return and he’ll become partially deaf, but Marvel also assembled a big ensemble for the adventure series. The trailer highlighted how much the show is borrowing from Matt Fraction’s acclaimed Hawkeye comic run, including the MCU debut of Kate Bishop. Hailee Steinfeld is attached to play Clint’s apprentice and the future of the Hawkeye mantle. Hawkeye’s marketing has focused heavily on their partnership so far, with the rest of the cast barely even shown to this point. Characters like Clint’s former mentor and eventual Avenger, Swordsman (Tony Dalton), were not shown at all, and Marvel only briefly showed Maya Lopez aka Echo (Alaqua Cox), ahead of her Disney+ spinoff show.
Another confirmed cast member of Hawkeye is Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) after Black Widow’s post-credits scene set up her hunting down Clint on Disney+. Her involvement adds another possible villain for Clint and Kate to face off against, but it is unlikely that she is the show’s main villain. That leaves the central antagonist for Marvel’s sharpshooters a mystery. Based on a previous rumor, Hawkeye‘s cast, and Marvel Studios’ increased tendency for late villain reveals on their Disney+ shows, Kate Bishop’s mom may be the main villain–and one that Marvel comic readers are familiar with.
Hawkeye’s Main Villain Is Unknown
With all of the information known about Hawkeye, one mystery that fans are still trying to uncover is who the main villain will be. Black Widow‘s post-credits scene teases Yelena Belova will be a threat to Clint Barton’s life. However, it seems unlikely that a future hero in the MCU would kill one of the original Avengers. Even if she is an antagonist to Clint and Kate when she enters the story, the role of Hawkeye‘s main villain should still be up for grabs. There is no shortage of candidates to make life difficult for Clint and Kate either, but many of them are better served as secondary villains.
Hawkeye will feature Marvel villains The Clown (Fra Fee), Swordsman, Echo, Yelena, and the Tracksuit Draculas. The comics used Clown as a hired hitman, and he will likely fill a similar role in the series. Swordsman and Echo have both wavered between being heroes and villains too. And with Yelena’s seemingly bright MCU future, that just leaves the Tracksuit Draculas. However, they are low-level threats that Clint and Kate have routinely outsmarted in the source material. Unless Marvel plans on greatly elevating one of these characters, it would seem that a surprise villain reveal is in store for Hawkeye.
Hawkeye Is Rumored To Include Madame Masque
There is one more villain that Hawkeye is rumored to include, though. It was reported in late 2020 that the character known as Madame Masque would be in the MCU Disney+ show. There are multiple versions of Madame Masque in the comics, with Agent Carter previously using the Whitney Frost version of the character in season 2. If Madame Masque is in Hawkeye, it would appear that Marvel Studios would use Giuletta Nefaria, the daughter of supervillain and crime syndicate leader Luchino Nefaria. Despite the reported supporting role Madame Masque will have in Hawkeye, there is no one officially cast to play her.
During the infancy of Marvel Studios’ Disney+ shows, a trend has already started to develop about the villains. The first three MCU series included late villain reveals. WandaVision waited until the end of episode 7 to confirm Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes was Agatha Harkness and the show’s true villain. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier then held out on confirming Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp) was the Power Broker until the finale. Similarly, the confirmation that a Kang variant known as He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) was behind the Time Variance Authority didn’t come until Loki‘s finale. The lack of Madame Masque casting for Hawkeye could be because Marvel hopes to pull off another surprise.
Theory: Kate Bishop’s Mom Is Madame Masque
If Madame Masque is in Hawkeye, then there is a chance that the character could actually be Kate Bishop’s mom. Vera Farmiga is confirmed to be playing Eleanor Bishop in the show. Farmiga is a very talented actress and quite recognizable after roles in films like the Conjuring franchise and Godzilla: King of the Monsters and her long-running role as Norma Bates in the Psycho prequel TV series Bates Motel. That’s what made it surprising to learn she was playing Kate Bishop’s mother. Eleanor doesn’t have a large role in the comics, and while Hawkeye could increase her involvement in Kate’s life, it still feels like somewhat of a smaller role than one would expect Farmiga to have. One way to change that would be the reveal that Eleanor Bishop is Madame Masque and Hawkeye‘s main villain.
This might seem like a major change to some, but Eleanor and Madame Masque already have a connection in the comics. Kate believed her mother was dead for most of her life. However, the comics later revealed Eleanor was alive and giving Madame Masque orders to attack Kate. Hawkeye can streamline this connection by turning Eleanor into Madame Masque. This would give Madame Masque a stronger connection to the show’s story and characters, similar to how Black Widow revealed Antonia Dreykov was Taskmaster and tied the villain to Natasha Romanoff’s past. It also gives Vera Farmiga a much bigger role to play in Hawkeye and possibly beyond.
The trailer for Hawkeye doesn’t do much to support or rebuke this theory either. Farmiga is only shown once in the footage, as she wears a red dress and drinks a glass of wine at what looks to be a high-end restaurant. Eleanor could be having dinner with Kate here, making this a moment of mother-daughter bonding. It is also possible, though, that someone associated with Eleanor’s dealings as Madame Masque is on the other side of this table.
What Madame Masque’s Plan Could Be
Combining Eleanor Bishop and Madame Masque into a single character creates some fascinating possibilities about what her role might be in Hawkeye. The Giuletta Nefaria version of Madame Masque has ties to the Maggia, and Kate Bishop’s father was known to do business with criminals in the past. This could bring the MCU to make Kate’s family a secretly powerful part of an underground criminal enterprise run by Kingpin. If that is the case, Eleanor’s role in Hawkeye could involve the quest for more power and making a bigger play. Perhaps it will even include the formation of the Masters of Evil.
This could even create new possibilities for Kate’s story. The trailer showed her wearing the Ronin suit and going after New York criminals. Kate becomes a hero in the comics in part due to her family’s involvement in enabling and benefitting from crime, so she might want to wear the Ronin suit in Hawkeye to try and stop this from happening. If that is the case, the Ronin costume not only helps Kate intimidate her foes, but it also protects her identity.
It is also possible that Hawkeye can connect Madame Masque’s story and Eleanor’s comic history to recent MCU events. Marvel Studios hasn’t been shy about using The Blip and Avengers: Endgame‘s five-year time jump in its Phase 4 stories. It is possible that Eleanor was among those who were snapped from existence. If she does have connections to crime, her absence for five years would have led to someone else taking her place. However, this individual likely wouldn’t be ready and willing to go back down the criminal food chain to accommodate Eleanor’s return. This could lead her to take on the Madame Masque identity and weaken those who think they are now above her. This would obviously lead to an encounter with Clint and Kate and give Madame Masque her own revenge story as Hawkeye unfolds.
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