The Inverse Interview

Marvel's 'Hawkeye' producer on 'Young Avengers' rumors: "We'll see how it goes"

“I really do think she shines in this story”

Weighing all 26 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe against each other, a few stand out as distinct “types” of superhero blockbusters.

Every few years, for example, Marvel delivers grand-scale team-up movies, from The Avengers to Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. (Spider-Man: No Way Home, it appears, will be the next to follow in this tradition.)

Trinh Tran executive-produced the two most recent Avengers films and associate-produced Civil War in addition to serving as an Executive of Production & Development at Marvel Studios. For her next project as an executive-producer — Disney+ series Hawkeye — Tran tells Inverse she’s entering uncharted territory.

“I wanted to do something different on a different platform,” Tran says. “Infinity War and Endgame were big-scale, universe-ending, hero-saving-the-world storylines with, like, 64 main characters.”

Hawkeye will serve as an antidote to this style of storytelling. “I wanted to just focus on a more personal-stake storyline set in the holidays,” she says. “Because I love Christmas.”

The Christmas vibes of Hawkeye permeate throughout.Marvel Studios

Focusing on Clint Barton’s personal problems in the immediate wake of Endgame, including his coming to terms with the death of Natasha Romanoff (aka Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow), Hawkeye allowed Tran to tell her next superhero story on a smaller scale. The series adapts what she calls the most “human” Hawkeye story from the comics, a run written by Matt Fraction that happens to be set at Christmas.

“We haven't had a chance to tell Clint Barton’s story, which made me gravitate towards that particular character more,” says Tran. “It just allowed me a lot more flexibility in terms of the creative things that we can explore with who he is, [while] also show[ing] a different side of him.”

The series will additionally introduce Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, a character near and dear to Tran’s heart. “I love Kate Bishop from the comic run,” says Tran. “I had a clear understanding of how I wanted to see Kate on screen, and we were so fortunate that we got Hailee to be involved in bringing her to life.”

Tran spoke with Inverse about Clint’s family life, Kate’s place in the MCU, and how Hawkeye will recapture the magic of the comics.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Inverse: One of the things I loved about the Matt Fraction comic is how it emphasized the mundanity and slice-of-life aspects of Hawkeye’s existence. Are we going to see those elements reflected in the future of the series?

Trinh Tran: I mean, it's one of the core elements for the series, right? Kate and Clint don't have superpowers. They're like me and you. I think the difference is that they work really hard. Compared to the people with healing powers or suits of armor, they're really skilled in what they do — and they train hard.

They're masters at what they do because they are genuinely passionate about that particular field, and I think that is really relatable. We try to hit on that element as much as possible, so people can watch that and be inspired by the fact that you can be a hero in your own [realm.] You don't have to have these superpowers in order to do so.

Kate and Clint play off each other’s insecurities.Marvel Studios

How do you balance Clint's grief and trauma and his loss of Nat with the fact that he's still a husband and a dad?

What makes it interesting is [that] he is a dad. He has kids and he has a wife. In the fallout of Endgame, he has a lot of things that he's still dealing with, especially when it comes to his family, because he lost them in the five-year blip. He took on a whole different persona as Ronin. And then, when his family came back, he was Hawkeye again, he was Clint Barton, but that past never really left him in a way.

We really wanted to explore that in a deeper way, and that starts off the series. But I think it is the everyday man, the dad, that I find interesting. We are really diving deep into how he is with Kate, how his guard is up. He is feeling uncomfortable, allowing somebody to come in, especially [after] losing his best friend, Nat, in Endgame. It's all so rich in terms of his mental state. Hopefully, that comes through in the series.

Kate Bishop is just one in a long line of a new generation of Avengers. I'm just going to go ahead and just ask: is this the start of Young Avengers?

I love her character, and I think our biggest focus is making sure she comes off in the right way in this project. Then, we'll see how it goes. I mean, if we land her in a great way and she's well-perceived by everybody, who knows what the future can hold? She's an amazing character. I really do think she shines in this story. And I hope everybody sees that as well.

Hawkeye premieres on Disney+ November 24, 2021.