Disney+'s Hawkeye series is set to introduce several comic book characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, the young woman whom Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) will train to become the new Hawkeye. It has also been reported the show's supporting cast will include Tony Dalton as Jack Duquesne, a character who's more than likely the MCU version of Jacques Duquesne, aka Swordsman, from the Marvel comics.
Created by Don Heck and Stan Lee in 1965, Swordsman served as both the Avengers' enemy and ally over the years, depending on the situation. What he lacks in super powers he makes up for with his Olympic-level athleticism and mastery of bladed weapons, particularly swords (hence the name). He's also known for being extremely cunning and tends to prioritize his own interests above everyone else's, which is why he frequently switches sides between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and their enemies.
In the comics, Duquesne is a Frenchman who grew up in the Southeast Asian nation of Siancong as a young man and joined the Siancongese natives in a rebellion against their European rulers. After learning the rebels' leader had killed his father, Duquesne grew disillusioned and didn't resurface until years later, when he used his swordplay skills to secure a job with the Carson Carnival of Traveling Wonders. It was during his time working for the carnival that Duquesne met Barton, who was then a young runaway, and became his mentor by teaching him how to wield bladed weaponry.
Duquesne and Barton's relationship came to an tragic end when Barton learned his mentor had robbed the carnival's paymaster to cover his gambling debts and tried to turn him in. Duquesne nearly killed Barton while making his escape and went on to use his sword skills to fashion his new identity as the super villain, Swordsman. Their dark past was a source of tension between Duquesne and Barton after that; when the latter became Hawkeye, he fought against allowing Swordsman to join the Avengers. The pair more or less made their peace with one another over time and even worked together on occasion, if somewhat begrudgingly.
Duquesne's backstory and relationship with Barton will surely be re-imagined for the MCU, especially because Dalton is actually four years younger than Renner, so he's not likely to be Hawkeye's mentor. Barton's past overall will be explored in the show, which Hawkeye executive producer Trinh Tran during a 2019 interview with Screen Rant. It's likely the series will carry over the animosity between the characters from the comics, perhaps by making Duquesne someone Barton worked with and was betrayed by during his time as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. In fact, Dalton has already shown a knack for bringing shifty types to life, having played the baddie Lalo Salamanca on Better Call Saul since Season 4.
The Hawkeye series has also reportedly cast Fra Fee as Kazi, a character who's presumed to be the comic book villain Kazimierz Kazimierczak, aka Clown, so it doesn't sound like Swordsman will serve as the main antagonist on the show. Rather, Duquesne may end up being portrayed as a relatively charming anti hero, acting as a foil to Barton and the relationship he develops with Bishop while preparing her to become Hawkeye.
Hawkeye stars Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton and Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop. The Disney+ series has yet to receive a premiere date.
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