Hawkeye Teases a Classic Marvel Wildcard as Kate Bishop's Villain

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Hawkeye, now streaming on Disney+

Across his multiple appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hawkeye has been quietly one of the most tweaked major figures from his original incarnation. His origins and status as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the MCU are different from his comics counterpart, and this seemingly extends to include one of the major figures from his early life who's been shifted over to his successor. Jack Duquesne -- known in the original Marvel Comics as Jacques Duquesne, aka the Swordsman -- has been seemingly reinvented for the MCU, positioning him as a personal villain for Kate Bishop.

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Jack Duquesne is introduced in Hawkeye as Eleanor Bishop's new romantic partner. Years after the death of her husband, Eleanor has found new love with the overtly suave Jack. He quickly establishes himself as a wealthy and ambitious man, who attempts to sway Kate's loyalty towards him while romancing her mother. Eleanor even reveals the pair are engaged to be married, catching Kate Bishop off-guard when she returns home from school. On the surface, Jack appears to just be a straightforward interloper in Kate's life, increasingly turning Elanor and Kate against one another through regular family drama. But there are multiple hints that there's another layer to Jack -- ranging from his apparent skill with a sword to his place in an underground and illegal auction of valuable superhero artifacts.

All of this suggests Jack will have more in common with the villainous version of the Swordsman. In the original Marvel Comics, Jacques Duquesne took on the mantle of Swordsman. After traveling the world, Jacques became an accomplished warrior and joined the Carson Carnival before taking in the young runaway Clint Barton and becoming one of his early mentors. But Barton turned against him when he discovered Jacques had been stealing from the circus to pay his gambling debts, sending the Swordsman on the run. He later returned to bedevil the now grown Barton when he'd become Hawkeye and joined the Avengers -- initially fighting against the team before joining their ranks himself and eventually sacrificing his life to save his great love, Mantis.

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Swordsman has long been associated with Hawkeye, but it's typically been specifically Clint Barton. Now, it appears the MCU will approach the character differently. He still retains much of the smarm and charms of the original version of the character, and the first two episodes of Hawkeye imply that he's hiding some seriously dangerous secrets from his fiancee. But instead of being Barton's mentor from the get-go -- which theoretically could still be revealed, as Jack and Clint have yet to meet -- it appears that Swordsman will actually be a bigger figure in Kate's life.

It's an interesting idea, even as it positions Jack to be more overtly villainous than his comics counterpart ended up being. Even at his best, the Swordsman could prove to be a dangerous figure in the original Marvel Universe, with his conflicting loyalties making him a genuine wildcard. In a way, he could even become something of a villainous counterpoint to Clint as Kate's major role model, with the wealthy autocrat contrasting well against the more down-to-earth former Avenger who just wants to be with his family for the holidays. With Bishop's father seemingly dead by this point, it'd also give Kate the kind of personal enemy that her actual birth father fills in the comics. By recasting Swordsman as Kate's enemy, Hawkeye might have found the perfect way to bring the classic character to the MCU.

To see the Swordman's MCU debut, the first two episodes of Hawkeye are streaming on Disney+. 

KEEP READING: Which Marvel Films To Watch Before Hawkeye's Disney+ Premiere

Hawkeye Formally Introduces a New MCU Hero - and Teases a Major Villain
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Brandon Zachary (4209 Articles Published)

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].

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