The Hawkeye TV show coming to Disney+ was originally conceived as a movie. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe enters its Phase 4, the franchise is continuing to expand in interesting ways. In addition to a new slate of feature films that will hit theaters between 2020 and 2021, there’s also a full lineup of streaming series on the horizon. Unlike the earlier Marvel shows on ABC and Netflix, these new programs will tie into the movies – to the point where Kevin Feige believes a Disney+ subscription is needed to keep up.
Disney+ is going to be a valuable platform for Marvel moving forward, giving them the opportunity to flesh out key characters from the earlier films in ways they couldn’t before. That’s why the prospect of a Hawkeye show is intriguing; Clint Barton is one of the Original Six Avengers and had multiple appearances across the Infinity Saga, but an argument can be made he was underserved when compared to the other members of Earth’s Mightiest (Jeremy Renner wasn’t in Avengers: Infinity War, for example). Even more fascinating is that initially, the plan was for there to be a Hawkeye movie.
A report in Bloomberg detailing the impending launch of Disney+ featured the following anecdote, revealing Feige was wary of trying to sell Renner on headlining a TV series, rather than the feature film his contract originally called for:
Feige was more nervous about his pitch to Jeremy Renner, who plays The Avengers’ Hawkeye. Marvel had a deal for Renner to star in a movie based on the character, but Feige wanted to turn the project into a Disney+ series. Renner turned out to be fine with the change. “He totally got it and said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ” Feige recalls. (Renner didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
This is exactly what Lucasfilm did with the Obi-Wan Kenobi project, repurposing a planned anthology film into a six-episode miniseries. In the case of Obi-Wan, that decision was likely influenced by the underwhelming box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s unknown why Feige decided to change Hawkeye from a movie to a TV show. The MCU hasn’t had a commercial failure on the level of Solo yet, so that wasn’t a factor. This probably boiled down to Feige feeling Hawkeye was a good way to bolster Marvel’s Disney+ lineup, giving the service another appealing show to draw subscribers. It’ll be interesting to see if Hawkeye has any strong links to the films, similar to Loki and WandaVision connecting directly to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
It isn’t surprising Marvel was at one point contemplating a Hawkeye movie. With the release of Black Widow next summer, Clint is the only original Avenger to not headline his own feature film. But he’ll still get his moment in the spotlight thanks to Disney+, and it’ll arguably be better than what a movie could have offered. Rather than a single, two-hour story, Hawkeye can now be another six-episode miniseries that has plenty of time to develop its core narrative. There was an era where being relegated to the small screen would be seen as a demotion, but that isn’t the case here. Streaming is more prevalent than ever, with shows that rival (or surpass) movies in terms of quality. Hawkeye should be a great addition to the MCU.
More: Marvel Doesn’t Need Hawkeye Anymore (and Can Easily Remove Jeremy Renner)