Christmas has come early for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the first trailer for Disney+’s Hawkeye arriving recently to show Jeremy Renner draw back his bow and prepare to hand the 'Hawkguy' mantle to someone new. And for fans who still think the MCU is setting up the Young Avengers, Hawkeye introduced us to another potential recruit thanks to Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop.


Still, while “new” Hawkeye was the main talking point of the first-look trailer, let’s not forget a more familiar face is also along for the ride. Following the climactic events of Cate Shortland’s Black Widow and THAT post-credits scene, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova is on a collision course with Hawkeye and his new protégé.

And even though Yelena sat out the Hawkeye trailer, eagle-eyed fans have spotted an arc that would offer a typically MCU twist on the source material. You see, Hawkeye might be an eagle-eyed and sharpshooting marksman, but like any good Avenger, he has an Achilles’ heel. Specifically, he’s lost his hearing (on several occasions) in the comics, and conveniently the trailer seems to have confirmed this will play out in live-action.

In the aftermath of the Hawkeye trailer, fans quickly pointed to the fact Clint Barton can be seen wearing hearing aids in one scene. The breakneck speed of the footage didn’t give much context to what’s happened to Hawkeye since Avengers: Endgame, but if he needs the use of hearing aids, it’s a major nod to the comics.

How does Hawkeye lose his hearing in the comics?

Frankly, Hawkeye could do with some of Domino’s luck because he’s suffered at least partial deafness on three separate occasions in the comics. Firstly, the 1983 Hawkeye miniseries saw him take on the villainous Crossfire and try to topple the villain with his own sonic arrows. This backfired and left Barton with serious injuries.

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Although Hawkeye recovered from the ordeal, he was later stabbed in the ears by the sinister Clown - and was once again partially deaf in 2014, specifically during the Matt Fraction Hawkeye series the Disney Plus show is based on.

It sounds pretty gruesome for a Marvel series, but remembering Fra Fee has been cast as a character called Kazi (Clown’s alias being Kazimierz Kazimierczak), it seems likely we could see a direct repeat of the comic-book storyline.

The same solo series retconned some of the above and revealed Barton has partial deafness due to abuse he suffered as a child. Any of these options could play out onscreen – however, there’s an arguably more cohesive way to make it happen.

How will Barton lose his hearing in Hawkeye?

Even though Clown is tipped to be one of the Hawkeye villains, this relatively obscure choice is in danger of pushing Hawkeye into Netflix territory of low-level grunts. A more popular idea is that Yelena will be the one to deliver this life-changing blow.

It’s unclear what Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine has against the Avengers, but she's hellbent on disrupting their future. With Val claiming Barton is responsible for Natasha Romanoff’s death, Yelena has been given the vengeful task of taking him out. Despite Black Widow showing Nat and her “family” as slippery agents, it also showcased the quartet as misunderstood outcasts doing the work of their corrupt government. By all accounts, Yelena is a morally good character, so we doubt she’ll be able to pull the trigger on Barton’s death warrant.

Instead, picture the scene where Hawkeye opens with Yelena hot on the tail of Clint. During a tense rooftop showdown, Barton tries to claim his innocence as it goes unnoticed by an enraged Belova. Even if Yelena doesn't kill Hawkeye, she could put him out of action by damaging his hearing. If this is the case, it would also neatly set up Hawkeye to train Bishop as his replacement while he tries to recuperate.

But Yelena's not the only super-assassin to worry about. Let's not forget Alaqua Cox’s Echo, a fighter with "photographic reflexes" who turns up briefly in the Hawkeye trailer. The character is a deaf Native American who has strong ties to Hawkeye and classic villain Kingpin – being the latter’s adoptive daughter – in the comics. Given her presence, it could be that wild rumours Vincent D'Onofrio will finally reprise his role as the Daredevil villain for Hawkeye are true – in which case the muscular mobster could also be behind Hawkeye’s affliction.

Altogether, it looks like Clint Barton's in for a rough ride this festive season. Whatever is going on with Hawkeye's hearing, it’s doubtful this Christmas cracker will play out like Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.


Hawkeye comes to Disney Plus from Wednesday 24th November. Want more? Check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.