It feels like MCU fans are constantly bracing for the next reveal. Maybe it’s someone new, like Contessa Valentina in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, or someone classic, like Baron Zemo in the same series. And sometimes the reveal isn’t even a little close to what people were expecting, like how the fandom was all but certain Mephisto would appear in WandaVision, only for him to stand us up.
With Hawkeye being the latest subject of speculation, all sorts of theories are being tossed around. Is Jack Duquesne secretly the Swordsman? Is Echo’s “Uncle” secretly Kingpin? There doesn’t seem to be an end to wild ideas about what’s happening in Kate and Clint’s future. But maybe the biggest shock is what’s in Kate’s past.
In Episode 1 of Hawkeye, we saw Kate experience the Battle of New York as a child. Seeing Hawkeye fight off the Chitauri inspired her to train and become the fearsome fighter we see a decade later, but her other source of inspiration, her father who supposedly died during the battle, often goes forgotten.
However, if there’s one rule of Marvel character deaths, it’s that nothing is for sure until we see a body. We never saw Derek’s corpse, nor do we even see a coffin in the flashback of his memorial. Is it possible he’s just presumed dead and used the Battle of New York as an opportunity to disappear?
Derek Bishop is played by Brian D’Arcy James, a renowned Broadway musical theater actor (you can catch him as Officer Krupke in Spielberg’s West Side Story). Why would such a prestigious actor get what’s essentially a glorified cameo in a flashback? He was fifth billed in the opening credits. Surely this series has more up its sleeve for him.
Many fans have assumed Vera Farmiga’s cold-mannered Eleanor Bishop will get the inevitable villain treatment, as she’s the head of a security company and on the outs with her daughter. But that’s discounting Derek and, if he’s still alive, there’s clearly a dark reason why he had to fake his own death.
Making Derek Bishop the villain (or one of the villains) of Hawkeye makes sense thematically, as the series revolves around fathers not living up to the image their children have of them. Clint has to face his children — or tell them he’s too busy to spend time with them — while knowing full well he went on a murderous rampage while they were Blipped. Kate idolizes her father as a martyr and resents her mother, but maybe her image of them both is skewed.
In a fanbase where speculation always looks to the future, this is one instance where looking to the past is what we may need to do to discover who’s pulling the strings of this complex mafia storyline.
Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+.