It seems that the first set photos from the upcoming Hawkeye have not only revealed that Bumblebee star Hailee Steinfeld is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kate Bishop, but that Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton will lose his hearing. Seen in the images wearing a hearing aid, Hawkeye's hearing loss is one of many inspirations being taken from the Matt Fraction comic run that started in 2012.
Along with the debut of Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop, an enlarged view of some of the newly released set images show Renner wearing what looks like a small inner ear hearing aid. In Fraction's 22-issue series, Hawkeye loses his hearing during a battle with The Clown, with the supervillain stabbing the Avenger in both ears with his own arrows. The character has been deaf on-and-off in several different comic book runs, but Fraction was the first to make it an integral part of the story.
The Hawkeye series following this path is further hinted at thanks to the recent casting additions, with actor Fra Fee joining the Disney+ show as Kazi, which is most likely short for Kazimierz Kazimierczak, known to Marvel fans as the mercenary villain Clown. Unknown actor Alaqua Cox will also make her onscreen debut on the show as Maya Lopez AKA Echo, a deaf Native American capable of perfectly copying another person's movements, who will likely assist Clint Barton.
Alongside Fee and Fox are Vera Farmiga as Eleanor Bishop, mother of Steinfeld's Kate, and Tony Dalton as Jack Duquesne AKA Swordsman, a mentor to Hawkeye who has been both a hero and a villain in the comics. Black Widow star Florence Pugh is also on board to reprise her role as Yelena Belova in Hawkeye.
While not much is known about the direction of the Disney+ original series, Clint Barton's hearing loss is not the only element that will be taken from Fraction's comic book arc, with the addition of Steinfeld as Kate Bishop seemingly confirming that at least part of the series will focus on the relationship between Bishop and her relationship with Renner's Clint Barton. The Avenger will take Bishop, who, much like Barton is a highly skilled archer and martial artist, under his wing in order to pass on the Hawkeye legacy.
But that's not all, the superhero duo is joined by a third companion also featured in the critically acclaimed comic book run, Lucky the Pizza Dog. A beloved character from the comics, Lucky was first introduced when Clint Barton saves him and names him Lucky. The reason why the loveable dog is also known as Pizza Dog is because of an issue that is devoted entirely to Lucky's point of view which reveals that he calls himself Pizza Dog because of his love of a New York slice.
Clint Barton is not the only deaf superhero to join the MCU, with the upcoming Eternals also due to introduce audiences to Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, an Eternal with the power of super-speed who is also deaf. The actress, who was born deaf, was recently asked about the pressures of becoming the MCU's first deaf superhero, and the first deaf superhero of any high-profile superhero movie, in fact, with Ridloff hoping that there is more to come. "I am more thrilled than overwhelmed about being given the opportunity to represent the deaf community," she said. "I'm very thrilled about that - just to bring in that storyline within the MCU. I think there's plenty of room for more stories like that."
Hawkeye is expected to be released in late 2021 or early 2022 as part of Phase Four of the MCU. The set images were first revealed by Twitter user XRealm Matthews.