Not only is Clint Barton returning to the MCU, but so is his other famous alter ego.
Jeremy Renner has shared new photos from the set of the coming Hawkeye series, which shows him not as the bow-wielding Avenger but his darker persona, Ronin.
Who is Ronin?
In Japanese culture, a “Ronin” is a masterless samurai, often portrayed as an outlaw figure. In Marvel Comics, the role is more complex.
When the Avengers formed a new team in 2005, they added a mysterious masked martial artist only known as Ronin. There was a game by the other Avengers guessing who was behind the mask.
Eventually, it was revealed to be Maya Lopez, aka Echo. Deaf since birth, she was the daughter of a mobster who was raised by the Kingpin and trained in martial arts. She was set against Daredevil, tricked into thinking he was an enemy.
Daredevil managed to get Maya to realize that not only was she being used by the Kingpin, but it was the Kingpin himself who murdered her father. After blinding the Kingpin in retaliation, Maya took on this new identity for atonement.
After Maya left the team, Clint Barton, the former Avenger Hawkeye, rejoined. At the time, Clint was having personal problems following a near-death experience and took on the Ronin identity as a way to remake himself. He even led the Avengers as Ronin for a time before returning to his old costume.
The role has also been held by others, such as Alexei Shostakov, the former Red Guardian, and even vampire hunter Blade.
Clint recently returned to the Ronin role to take on a deadly mob.
Ronin in the MCU
In Avengers: Endgame’s opening scene, Clint loses his entire family to “the Blip” when Thanos wiped out half of life in the universe. Even after Thanos is killed, Clint feels lost.
After the five-year time jump, Clint is shown in Japan, now the masked Ronin, brutally taking out mobsters. To Clint, it’s unfair criminals lived while his family and countless others are gone, and it’s obvious he’s indulging in a death wish.
While his family was restored at the end, Clint felt the heartbreak of his best friend the Black Widow sacrificing herself for the Soul Stone.
The new Hawkeye series has Clint training young Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) as a successor. It will also feature Maya, played by deaf actress Alaqua Cox with photos of her wearing a costume much like the comic book Echo.
Renner himself posted an image wearing the Ronin mask and hood once more.
Ronin’s past and future
It’s unsure how Renner as Ronin again will work in the show’s timeline as it’s possible Clint dons the costume to take on a threat.
However, the line “back when” indicates the series will have flashbacks to what Clint was up to during the five-year time jump, which would include how he crafted the Ronin identity and began his crusade. It’s obvious Clint feels some regret over his darker actions and sees training Kate as a way to atone.
It may be that, just as Kate becomes a new Hawkeye, Clint gives the Ronin persona to Maya. With reports Marvel is already planning a spin-off of the character, having her balance this new identity would be exciting.
At the least, fans will get to see Ronin once more and perhaps shedding more light on the darker aspects of Clint’s life when he took the “Avenger” label too far.
Hawkeye premiering on Disney+ in fall of 2021.