Following two shows that played with the timeline and multiverse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hawkeye marks a return to a setting that fans know and love. Clint Barton and Kate Bishop's Christmas-season adventure takes place in the most recognizable Marvel Comics locale, New York City.
But while the location is familiar, when Hawkeye takes place is another story. Like the comics they're based on, MCU properties don't all take place at the same point in time. Recent MCU entries have followed Spider-Man: Far From Home's lead and taken place in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, but Hawkeye bucks that trend by jumping ahead in the timeline.
Following in the footsteps of Matt Fraction and David Aja's beloved Hawkeye run, the Disney+ Hawkeye does more than just put Clint Barton at the forefront of the story -- it shows fans how Barton operates when he's not working with the Avengers, both as a superhero and in his civilian life. And specific to the MCU version of the character, that includes spending time with his children. According to director Rhys Thomas in an interview with Games Radar, Hawkeye's story takes place two years after Barton's family returned from oblivion thanks to the Blip. Given that Endgame took place in 2023, that places Hawkeye in during the Christmas season of 2025.
The show explores what Barton's been up to since Endgame's climactic battle, and how he's coping with the traumatic events that led up to it. While Barton regained his family when Bruce Banner undid the Snap, he lost his closest friend, Natasha Romanoff. But the consequences of failing to stop Nat from sacrificing herself are heavier than any survivor's guilt Barton might feel, as Hawkeye is going to have to deal with her vengeful sister, Yelena Belova, as teased in Black Widow's post-credits scene.
And on top of helping figure out the timeline of Black Widow's post-credits scene, the two-year gap also helps give the Hawkeye trailer's most popular moment more context. A Broadway musical based on Steve Rogers' life, appropriately titled Rogers: The Musical, will play an important part in Hawkeye, both in getting Barton to New York and making him come to terms with Black Widow's death. Given that Broadway musicals aren't pop-up events, it makes sense that the show would be staged two years after Rogers' disappearance from the public eye.
Outside of Loki's climax at the end of time itself, Hawkeye will be the farthest into the MCU's future fans have ever been. But with it having to introduce characters like Kate Bishop and Echo into the MCU and continue to establish figures like Yelena, a little more room to operate will likely benefit the show.
To witness Hawkeye's timeline for yourself, the first two episodes of the series are streaming now on Disney+.
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