Happy Winter term everyone! I hope everyone had a chance to recharge properly over the break in preparation for the short days and long nights that typically accompany the stark cold of the Winter season. This week we’ll be venturing back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as we take a look at a character who strangely reminds me of the holiday season: Kate Bishop.
Well, who exactly is Kate Bishop? Written by Allan Heinberg and designed by Jim Cheung, Kate first appeared in the Marvel Comics in 2005, featured in the first issue of “Young Avengers”. She came from a rather wealthy background, as the daughter to elites Derek and Eleanor Bishop. However, the untimely death of her mother resulted in Kate and her sister, Susan, being left in Derek’s care.
Much later in the future, Kate joins the Young Avengers team after saving them from captivity and thereby aiding them in their battle against Kang the Conqueror. Interestingly, as revealed in the “Young Avengers Special” (2005), prior to joining the Young Avengers, she suffered a violent ambush that encouraged her to endure extensive combat training in order to adequately handle any threats that may oppose her in the future. Undoubtedly her training was successful as she acquired abilities such as archery, hand-to-hand combat, sword proficiency, jujitsu and immense flexibility and agility.
A limited series entitled “Young Avengers Presents” (2008) features Kate’s sudden attack by Ronin, an enigmatic alias and disguise used by multiple characters in the Marvel comics, who later reveals himself to be Clint Barton. Thereafter, Clint becomes a mentor and partner to Kate, and grants her permission to use his hero name – “Hawkeye” – in acknowledgment of her skill, leadership and determination. Oftentimes, Kate employs Clint’s bow and arrows in battle.
In the MCU, Kate’s origins differ greatly from that in the comics. Her live action debut occurs in the Disney + streaming series “Hawkeye” (2021) and its release in the holiday season of that year leads me to unintentionally tie Kate , and even Clint, to the holidays. Kate is portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld and ,in the show, she maintains her privileged background as the daughter of wealthy socialites. However, in the series, Kate does not have any siblings and it is her father who dies in the midst of the damage that erupted throughout New York City in the film “Avengers” (2012). During the incident, Kate witnesses Hawkeye skillfully defeating enemies with his bow and this inspires her to train extensively in combat – primarily that involving a bow and arrow – as she grew up. With only one parent left, her mother Eleanor Bishop, the series often highlights their tumultuous relationship and it focuses on Kate as an adult at 22-years old. In addition, Clint Barton’s mentorship of Kate comes into play throughout the series as she gets entangled in conflict with the tracksuit mafia which he had previously angered as the disguised vigilante, Ronin.
Although the process is a slow and steady one, I can tell Kate will be an integral player in phase 5 and 6 of the MCU – as Variety reports that Hailee Steinfeld will return to the role in the future. In particular, I can see her teaming up with other Young Avengers in time for “Avengers: Kang Dynasty” (2025). Currently, I’m not necessarily attached to her character in the MCU as I find her comic depiction as a street-fighter hero a bit more compelling, but I hope that future projects will flesh out her character better than “Hawkeye” (2021) did and properly showcase her growth and maturity.