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Kate Bishop - the Hawkeye breakout star's comic book history hints at her MCU future

Kate Bishop in comics and in the MCU
(Image credit: George Marston)

Kate Bishop is now officially the new Hawkeye of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Clint Barton fully embracing her as his partner and protege in Hawkeye episode 6 - much to the chagrin of her mysterious mother Eleanor Bishop, unlike Eleanor's former fiancee Jacques Duquense who seems to revel in Kate's skills.

But with her increased profile have also come new enemies in the form of Echo and the Tracksuit Mafia, and even a personal connection with Yelena Belova - whose relationship with Kate has grown to be complex in just two episodes.

Judging by her comic book history, however, Kate's got as much chance of handling such dire circumstances as anyone, as a longtime member of several Avengers teams (including being an OG Young Avenger) and an increasingly accomplished solo career to boot.

Comic book fans of Kate Bishop have known how badass she can be for a long time - and MCU fans are now getting a chance to learn about the second character to take on the Hawkeye name thanks to Hailee Steinfeld's pitch-perfect portrayal. 

So whether you've read every page on which she's appeared, or you're looking to learn more about where her comic book history could take the MCU, we've got everything you need to know about Kate Bishop right here.

Who is Kate Bishop?

Young Avengers excerpt

Young Avengers excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

In 2005's Young Avengers #1 (opens in new tab), Kate Bishop was introduced as the youngest daughter of a rich Manhattanite family with an older sister named Susan. After her mother died in a skiing accident in Colorado, her father Derek was emotionally distant. Despite this, Kate admired him until she caught him beating up a man one night while she was little. 

After she became disillusioned with her father, Kate started to investigate his activities. One night, she followed him to a meeting with the supervillain El Matador but was caught and held up for ransom. However, she was rescued by Hawkeye and the Avengers. From then on, she came to admire Hawkeye due to his skills despite not having any superpowers.

When she is sexually assaulted in Central Park, Kate takes up archery, martial arts, and swordplay to learn to defend herself. Then, on the day of her older sister's wedding, Kate and Susan are held hostage, and the then-newly formed Young Avengers attempt to rescue them. However, it's Kate that ends up saving her, Susan, and the Young Avengers when the would-be teen heroes become hostages themselves.

Later on, Kate follows the Young Avengers to their mansion and ends up fighting Kang The Conqueror with them. After donning Mockingbird's battle staves and mask, Swordman's sword, and Hawkeye’s bow, Kate helps the Young Avengers save the world and becomes a permanent member of the team alongside Ant-Man's daughter, Cassie Lang.

How Does Kate Bishop Fit In The Marvel Universe?

Hawkeye

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

During the first iteration of the Young Avengers, Kate was co-leader of the team alongside Patriot. When Patriot got injured during the comic book event Civil War (opens in new tab), Kate scolded Captain America for not training them enough. In response, Kate received the bow and arrows of the original Hawkeye.

After Captain America passed away, Kate met Clint Barton for the first time when he tried to take up the Captain America mantle himself after receiving an offer from Tony Stark. When Kate explains that she became Hawkeye to honor the Hawkeye who came before her, Barton officially endorses her and passes on his title, bow, and arrows to Kate.

In addition to being a member of the Young Avengers, Kate Bishop would also become the superhero partner of Clint Barton while he was doing street-level crime-fighting in Brooklyn, New York in the hit series Hawkeye (opens in new tab) by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and others. Kate would also have her own solo misadventures in Los Angeles with her own Hawkeye (opens in new tab) series by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero.

How Does Kate Bishop Fit Into The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

image from Disney Plus' Hawkeye (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
(opens in new tab)

What Kate's future in the MCU is after her Hawkeye debut isn't clear, but given Hailee Steinfeld's rising star power and the character's growing popularity with fans, it's almost certain that she'll have a big role wherever she pops up next.

The most obvious direction after Kate's debut in Hawkeye would be casting her in a Young Avengers film or streaming series. After all, she is not the only young superhero appearing in Marvel Phase 4. 

In the third episode of WandaVision, Wanda gives birth to a pair of twins named Billy and Tommy. In the comic books, these two will become the superheroes Wiccan and Speed and become members of the Young Avengers.

In addition to Billy and Tommy, America Chavez, another future Young Avenger, will also make her debut in the film Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness in May 2022. And of course, Eli Bradley appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - though he hasn't become Patriot yet.

And the role of teen Cassie Lang has been recast with actor Kathryn Newton for 2023's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania, which almost certainly will include an expanded role and the beginning of her own superhero journey as Stature, hinted at strongly in Ant-Man and the Wasp.  

Finally, while he hasn't yet appeared in the MCU (at least not yet), the teen Kang variant Iron Lad was the founding member of the team, and Disney Plus's Loki certainly set up that character's potential future debut. 

Billy, Tommy, America Chavez, Eli Bradley, Cassie Lang, and Iron Lad are six of the core Young Avengers in the comics, but a few tweaks could shake up the line-up even more.

Hawkeye

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Although he appears as Kid Loki in the second iteration of the Young Avengers, the popular Loki variant made his live-action MCU debut in the Loki streaming series played by actor Jack Veal, albeit in a bit part. 

Ms. Marvel's Kamala Khan is also set to appear in the MCU via her own Disney Plus show and then co-star along with Brie Larson's Captain Marvel and Teyonah Parris' Monica Rambeau in 2023's The Marvels. 

If Kate or any other Young Avengers member has a guest appearance on the show or in the film, then this could set her up to be a member as well.

Another option for both Kate Bishop and Clint Barton could be the West Coast Avengers (opens in new tab). As the name implies, this is an iteration of the Avengers based on the west coast of The United States. Both Hawkeyes have been prominent members at one time or another.

With the West Coast Avengers, the MCU could have a line-up that combines the original iteration from the '80s comics and the 2018 version. The West Coast Avengers have a large list of alumni, which include many Marvel characters already established in the MCU such as the Scarlet Witch, Vision, USAgent, Hawkeye, and soon - Kate Bishop.

If these characters were to meet and form the West Coast Avengers, it could be the chance to form a multi-generational superhero team. With a few other characters such as 2018 West Coast Avenger America Chavez and perhaps Deadpool or a version of the character, the team could bridge the past and present while paving the way for the future.

And of course, depending on how the events of Hawkeye shake out, Kate is also a potential and perhaps even likely member of whatever mysterious team Julia Louis-Dreyfus' highly-sarcastic Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is putting together (Dark Avengers? Thunderbolts?), which already includes two 'mirror' characters of the original MCU Avengers line up, Yelena Belova (Black Widow) and John Walker/US Agent (Captain America). 

Florance Pugh's Yelena has now made her full debut on Hawkeye and had quite the one-on-one with Kate, so the breadcrumbs are already there. The Contessa recruiting Kate would put her halfway to a mirror line-up of the original team - a patriot hero, a defected Russian spy, and an archer. 

She just needs three more.

First, there's a gamma-powered character. Tim Roth will revive his role as gamma-powered supervillain The Abomination in Disney Plus' 2022 series She-Hulk, which introduces Tatiana Maslany's titular gamma-powered attorney, giving us two possibilities.

Then, a Norse god. Perhaps Sophia Di Martino's morally ambiguous Loki variant Sylvie or the recently resurfaced Jaimie Alexander as Sif can fill that role? 

And finally, an armored character. Don Cheadle's War Machine seems unlikely, as does Gweneth Paltrow's Rescue. How about Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer setting up the premise of 2022's Armor Wars on Disney Plus?

Then there is Riri Williams, the upcoming lead character of the Disney Plus Ironheart series about a young woman who invents the most advanced suit of armor since Iron Man and who will also reportedly appear in 2022's Wakanda Forever played by Dominique Thorne.

And let's not forget characters like the White Vision, Taskmaster, Ghost, Red Guardian, and others who are somewhat lost in the world and could be easy recruits to a team that flirts between heroism and whatever the Contessa's real agenda is. 

Hawkeye

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

But also keep in mind, Yelena - via the Contessa - was apparently hired by Eleanor Bishop to kill Hawkeye, and the complicated implications of that are still dangling in the MCU.

The finale of the Hawkeye streaming series let Kate Bishop shine as brilliantly as she has done in the comic books, with a newly established partnership alongside Clint Barton, and Clint's official blessing to call herself Hawkeye. But where she goes next remains to be seen.

Kate Bishop might be on her way to qualifying as one of the best legacy superhero characters of all time (opens in new tab).

George Marston
George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)