Hailee Steinfeld on Joining the MCU in Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Is a Character I Wouldve Loved to Have Had Growing Up

Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner brought some holiday cheer to Hollywood Blvd. on Wednesday night for the launch of their new Disney plus series “Hawkeye.”

The dress code for the event was “Marvel holiday chic” and guests were certainly feeling festive, with fans rocking a mix of Christmas sweaters and Santa hats as well as Hawkeye and Kate Bishop costumes and bows and arrows.

The fabulously festive red carpet event was a warm welcome for Steinfeld, who joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old who idolizes Hawkeye (and is a pretty impressive archer herself), becoming his superhero trainee over the course of the six-episode series.

“It’s really a privilege to be able to play a character that could in any way possibly inspire anyone,” Steinfeld told Variety about embodying the beloved comic character.

“Kate Bishop is a character that I would have loved to have had growing up — somebody who is completely ambitious, driven and disciplined, and takes it upon herself to do whatever it is she has to do to achieve her goals,” she continued. “I am very excited for people to meet her.”

But while Steinfeld is a Marvel newbie, Renner has been playing Clint Barton aka Hawkeye for a decade, first appearing with a cameo in 2011’s “Thor” before assuming his role as one of the six OG Avengers in their 2012 team-up movie. The streaming series finds Clint dealing with the after-effects of his superhero day job, while trying to reconnect with his family (whose disappearance in the Blip is still one of the MCU’s most haunting moments) over the holidays.

Enter Kate Bishop (Hawkeye’s number one fan), who falls into his orbit when she accidentally runs afoul of some enemies from Clint’s past, ultimately derailing his family vacation. And through the mentor-mentee relationship that develops, Renner got the opportunity to explore something new with Clint.

“Obviously he’s not the flashiest of all the Avengers because he doesn’t have any superpowers, but here’s the coolest thing: his heart, his family, tenacity and strength,” Renner explained. “Heart will get you much further than even the great skill set that he has [as an archer], so I love the idea of cementing that as an accessible superpower that everyone possesses. I think that’s a wonderful message to send to kids.”

In some ways, the Clint and Kate relationship mirrors the one the character has with his daughter Lila (Ava Russo), but Renner also noted that his wise sage superhero status has become a bit of a pattern.

“If you look at all of Clint’s relations — if it’s with Wanda and getting her to be convinced, ‘Put your boots on and go be an Avenger’ or if it’s with Natasha, all the way through this thing now with [Kate], maybe he’s just like sort of the MCU dad,” Renner said with a chuckle. “Maybe that’s his superpower.”

“And by the way,” he added. “I think most parents that are involved, good busy parents, are superheroes.”

In addition to Kate, “Hawkeye” also introduces some new characters with potential lengthy futures in the MCU — including Alaqua Cox, who plays Maya Lopez aka Echo. Cox has already been signed to her own spin-off show, “Echo,” which demonstrates Marvel’s commitment both to the character and the representation she adds to the universe as its second deaf superhero (following Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari in “Eternals”).

“It’s just so crazy that I’m getting my own show after ‘Hawkeye’ — that was my first acting role ever,” Cox signed. “And I don’t know why they’re giving me this opportunity, but I am just so grateful. I am excited to for the support and to advocate for the deaf community — we want to have that equality and to get more people involved.”

Also on hand for the premiere were “Hawkeye” stars Vera Farmiga, Tony Dalton, Fra Fee, Brian d’Arcy James, Aleks Paunovic, Piotr Adamczyk, Clayton English, Carlos Navarro, Adetinpo Thomas, Robert Walker-Branchaud and Adelle Drahos. Executive producer Jonathan Igla, who created “Hawkeye” for television, also walked the carpet with Rhys Thomas (executive producer and director of Episodes 1, 2 and 6) and directing duo Bert & Bertie (who helmed Episodes 3-5), as well as Marvel’s Kevin Feige, Louis’ D Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum and Trinh Tran.

Other Marvel superheroes spotted were Lia McHugh (whose character Sprite debuted in Marvel’s latest movie “Eternals”) and Xochitl Gomez (whose MCU character America Chavez will make her debut in “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”).

And then there’s the much-anticipated arrival of Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh (who was not present at the event). Audiences last saw Yelena in the post-credits scene for “Black Widow,” as she grieved the loss of her sister Natasha (played by Scarlett Johansson), who died in “Avengers: Endgame.” Despite the fact that she and her new dog were on holiday, Yelena was interrupted by Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who presented her next target: Clint.

“Maybe you’d like a shot at the man responsible for your sister’s death,” Valentina said ominously.

Variety reported in last December that Pugh would join the “Hawkeye” fold, but the cast and crew kept their lips sealed about how she may (or may not) appear.

“My reaction was, ‘No way. It’s all happening,” Steinfeld said, mimicking her geek out moment watching the scene. “I never fail to get incredibly excited, I even geek out over… one thing in the MCU is these delicately interwoven details throughout each and every film and TV show… it’s incredible. So I saw that, and I was like, ‘That means something. I don’t know what, but we’re gonna find out.’”

From Renner’s point of view, the best reaction to the scene came from his niece, who looked at him and asked, “Uncle Jeremy, what’d you do?”

“I had no reaction,” Renner quipped. “I was just laughing at my niece.”

The first two episodes of “Hawkeye” debut Nov. 24 on Disney Plus, with the remaining four rolling out weekly.

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