Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner and director Rhys Thomas reveal that Clint Barton's LARPing mission was inspired by the actor's interactions with MCU fans. The series sees Renner's Avenger take on street-level threats while teaching Hailee Steinfeld's young hero Kate Bishop after dark secrets from the past emerge. The 6-part limited series debuted its first 2 episodes on November 24.
In episode 2 of Marvel's latest Disney+ series "Hide and Seek" Clint and Kate are attacked by the Tracksuit Mafia in her apartment, with the place being set alight. In the blaze, Clint's Ronin suit is taken by New York firefighter Grills (Clayton English) to use in a LARPing event. Clint tracks Grills to the event, reluctantly taking part and making a deal with the firefighter to get the suit back by letting him beat Clint in combat, with the two parting on good terms. Though Renner is unsure of Hawkeye's MCU future, he has revealed how his history with the MCU fandom inspired Clint's LARPing adventure.
Speaking to EW, Renner and Thomas revealed the origins behind the LARP scene, with Renner being insistent on including the scene after it was pitched. Renner explained it was inspired by personal experience with fans at conventions, with the scene being a light-hearted, humorous nod to fans while also showing Clint having a sense of humility. Thomas elaborated that not only would the juxtaposition between Clint's Avenging career experience and the role-players' fantasy battle be fun, but it would allow Renner to acknowledge the experiences he had with MCU fans. However, Thomas admitted he found it difficult striking a balance without making fun of the role-players, instead focusing on Clint's confusion at the event to create the humor. Check out Renner and Thomas's response below.
"Jeremy Renner: It was pitched to me, and I was like, we gotta have that in there! Based on my personal experience at comic cons and these kinds of environments, it's just me sort of saying 'hey man, I love the fans.' If Clint Barton was going around play-fighting with a bunch of people at Comic-Con, I figure they'd get a big kick out of that. I thought it was a cool way to show a sense of humility and bring a different kind of humor to the show.
Rhys Thomas: Clint's a guy that fought Thanos, so watching him now in this fantasy sequence with these live-action role role-players enacting their version of battle felt amusing. Jeremy has obviously lived a life with fans of the MCU for a long time, and so he kind of enjoyed that world and wanted to do something that acknowledged it.I had some hesitation because I was worried it might get too broad — like, how do we walk the line without making fun of it? That was sort of the challenge going in, but then you wrap your head around it and you have that image of Clint having to don this armor and swing this sword and people dying in slow motion all around him. Clint's confusion in slow motion as these people are falling around him was joyous."
The show's street-level story offered many opportunities to nod at fandom. Hawkeye episode 2 features Avengers cosplayers pulling the attention from Clint on the street, to which Kate offers her own perspective on the hero. Being a fan inspired by Hawkeye's heroics during the battle of New York in The Avengers, Kate tells Clint his current issues with public perception and how he can inspire others like her. The series is also full of nods both big and small to wider fandom, such as the Captain America-inspired Rogers: The Musical, and fans asking Clint for selfies.
While most of Marvel's Disney+ series so far focused on larger concepts and conflicts that widen the universe, Hawkeye's story is much more ground-level and offers more opportunities to explore how the Avenger's deeds affect the public. Pulling from Renner's real experiences makes for a more genuine, relatable scene which reflects how Marvel's heroes have affected a generation of fans. Kate Bishop meeting her own hero also centers fandom in the narrative by exploring what fans can take from their heroes to move forward in the world, as Kate learns from Clint, paving the way for her to take on the Hawkeye mantle in future MCU stories.
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