Why Doesn't Hawkeye Wear a Disguise in the MCU Like He Does in the Comics?

Hawkeye is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s often unheralded characters. He may not be as powerful as Thor or Captain America, but from a storytelling perspective, he helped humanize the team throughout the films.

Hawkeye, also known as Clint Barton, doesn’t wear a costume or keep a secret identity in the MCU. He displays his face and doesn’t hide. Why is this, and could it change for his upcoming series on Disney+? Let’s take a look at some reasons why Hawkeye on film has differed from the Hawkeye of the Marvel comics. 

The MCU doesn’t rely on secret identities

One reason Hawkeye doesn’t wear a disguise in the MCU is there aren’t really secret identities in the MCU for the most part. 

The secret identity is a hallmark of the superhero in both comics and film, with the heroes using alter egos to mask their true selves. Superman masqueraded as the exceedingly average newspaper reporter Clark Kent. Batman had Bruce Wayne. Spider-Man had Peter Parker.

The MCU is largely different, however. With 2008’s Iron Man, superhero film norms were shattered. The movie culminates in billionaire playboy Tony Stark calling a press conference to confidently proclaim, “I am Iron Man.”

Hawkeye is SHIELD agent Clint Barton, a man who happens to be great with a bow and arrow. Because he doesn’t have any supervillain enemies specific to him, there was no need for a disguise. 

Why Hawkeye might start wearing a disguise on Disney+

One of Hawkeye’s subplots throughout the Avengers films focused on his family. They helped show the human side of the character, and their deaths seen in Avengers: Endgame due to Thanos’ snap helped to show just how much he had lost. While there was no way to prevent what happened, Hawkeye will likely go to even greater lengths to protect his family since the snap has been undone.

Hawkeye’s family was kept a secret in the early MCU films. For the Disney+ series, a disguise could help to shield his identity from any newly emerging villains who don’t have previous knowledge of who he is. There’s no question that Hawkeye’s family will play some sort of pivotal role in the show, either on screen or off. They could be used as an excuse for him to adopt a disguise.

Will the Disney+ Hawkeye wear a disguise? 

So where do Marvel fans fall on the issue? Some would love to see a return to the look of the character they know and love. Fans took to Reddit to discuss a picture Hawkeye actor Jeremy Renner posted to social media from filming the series. One fan summarized the thoughts of several Hawkeye fans: 

“I just hope he starts wearing some sort of disguise in this, since now he’ll be doing actual ‘super hero-ing’ and won’t just be a guy with a bow on The Avengers.”

This raises a good point. Before, Hawkeye was part of a team — a well-protected team at that. Now that he’s on his own, a disguise could prove useful.

As with any decision Marvel makes, it’s all about how it serves the character. Marvel has a solid history of melding the classic looks of its characters with more modern takes on how they may appear in the real world. If Hawkeye does don a disguise, it likely won’t look exactly like he does in the comics. But Marvel will likely find a way to make it work within the story and also look as realistic as possible.  

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