In many ways, Hawkeye feels like Marvel Studios' most underrated TV show. While not every subplot hit the mark (Swordsman's peculiar role in the finale reeked of a last-minute change made during reshoots), Kate Bishop stole the show, Yelena Belova returned, and The Kingpin made his MCU debut.
Oh, and we were blessed with Rogers: The Musical, of course!
The "Art of" book for the Disney+ series was recently released, and it reveals a scrapped storyline which would have seen Clint Barton and his protege plagued by a mystery female Ronin. While we'd have been made to believe Maya Lopez was beneath the mask, she was instead going to unmasked as Yelena!
Concept artist Rodney Fuentebella explains, "We would have made it feel like, 'Oh my gosh, they're fighting against Maya in the Ronin costume!' But it's not. So the basic premise was we couldn't recognise that it's Yelena."
Another Hawkeye artist, Imogene Chayes, says that led to her designing a Ronin suit which was "a little more sleek." She adds, "I wanted to feminise the Ronin suit because, with my own concept art, I like to put in a little attitude and she just has so much attitude. That's fantastic. And I wanted to make sure she wasn't drowning in what was originally a man's suit."
This would have been a fun way to keep fans guessing but Yelena's return was still mighty effective. When all was said and done, she forgave Clint for his role in Natasha Romanoff's death, setting the stage for the MCU's new Black Widow to join the Thunderbolts as a hero.
"Marvel Studios is once again sleigh-in' it with Hawkeye," we said in our review, "an unmissable Christmastime team-up bringing holiday cheer to the MCU with top tier storytelling delivered in the Mighty Marvel Manner and a bold, brilliant new hero in Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop."
There's still no word on plans for Hawkeye season 2 and those were likely derailed by Jeremy Renner's near-fatal accident earlier this year. His recovery has gone well, though, and we're optimistic he'll once again play the MCU's archer alongside Hailee Steinfeld's Kate in the not-too-distant future.
Take a closer look at this newly revealed Hawkeye concept art in the Tweet/X below.