Hawkeye episode 6 is now streaming on Disney Plus, and the finale of the series seems to confirm the idea that Linda Cardellini's Laura Barton has a much deeper history with Clint Barton's past as a super-spy and assassin than previously revealed...
Spoilers ahead for Hawkeye episode 6.
... including connecting her more deeply to the Rolex watch stolen in Hawkeye's first episode.
In comic books, the mainstream Marvel Universe Hawkeye was never married to Laura Barton, though he was once married (more on that shortly).
But in the Marvel Ultimate Universe, one of the publisher's most prominent alt-realities in comic books that once supported its own line of titles with a totally separate continuity, Clint was indeed married to a Laura Barton - and Laura's fate in the Ultimate Universe may spell out a particularly dark twist for Hawkeye's final episode.
At the same time, there seem to be shades of the history of the mainstream Marvel Universe Hawkeye's ex-wife (SHIELD operative Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird) in Laura Barton's still untold MCU backstory.
So what happened to Laura, and to Mockingbird, and what could it all mean for the future of the MCU? We'll make like Clarissa, and explain it all right now.
Laura Barton in the Ultimate Marvel Universe
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, designated Earth-1911 of the Multiverse, Clint Barton's life is much closer to his MCU counterpart than his classic origin story, right down to being married to Laura Barton.
Or at least, they were married - we'll get into it.
A SHIELD agent with a ledger full of red (to borrow an appropriate MCU phrase), Ultimate Clint Barton's closest confidant is his wife Laura, a civilian who shares the emotional burden of Clint's missions with love and support.
As in the MCU, Ultimate Clint and Laura Barton have three children: Callum, their eldest son; Lewis Barton, their middle son; and their infant daughter Nicky, who is named after her godfather, none other than Nick Fury.
(In another MCU-esque similarity, Ultimate Nick Fury is specifically visually based on Samuel L. Jackson in comic books, which is what led to Jackson's casting in the films).(opens in new tab)
Ultimate Clint Barton is part of the Ultimates, his world's version of the Avengers, who are more of a government sanctioned team of operatives with much more brutal methods than their mainstream Marvel counterparts.
When the team is betrayed by one of their own, Laura Barton and all of the children are murdered after Clint's secret cover is blown.
And the member of the team that betrayed them? None other than the Ultimate Black Widow, who personally sells out Clint Barton's whole family to his enemies, later being murdered by Clint himself in revenge.
While the Black Widow of the Ultimate Universe has her own story, the fact that a Black Widow, in the MCU series' case Yelena Belova, was until recently hunting Clint in the Hawkeye MCU series partly because she believes he's responsible for the death of Natasha Romanoff may be a little too close for comfort for Laura Barton - especially now that she's actively aiding Clint in his investigation.
Mockingbird in the Marvel Universe
Speaking of which, the mainstream comic book Clint Barton was also married, though in this case to a fellow superhero, Bobbi Morse AKA Mockingbird.
A highly skilled SHIELD agent, Mockingbird initially debuted in 1971's Astonishing Tales #6 (opens in new tab) under her civilian name as a love interest for Ka-Zar of the Savage Land, of all characters.
When her SHIELD training was revealed in a later fight with the Avengers, Bobbi graduated to becoming a superhero herself. Weirdly enough, she first appeared as a superhero in the one-off comic Marvel Super Action #1 under the name 'Huntress,' though the title was canceled after only one issue.
When Bobbi resurfaced a few years later, again as a superhero, she had taken on the identity of Mockingbird, in part because DC had introduced a character named Huntress in the time since Bobbi's single appearance with that name.(opens in new tab)
She quickly became Hawkeye's companion, with the pair embarking on a romance as they co-founded the West Coast Avengers. Though their marriage has its ups and downs, they stay manage to stay together, even reconciling some of their differences - at least until Bobbi sacrifices herself to save Hawkeye's life from the devilish Mephisto in Avengers West Coast #100 (opens in new tab).
Years later, Mockingbird is resurrected in the event story Secret Invasion (opens in new tab), where it's revealed that the Bobbi Morse who died years prior was in fact a Skrull infiltrator - part of the story's eponymous invasion force - and the real Mockingbird is revealed to be alive as a prisoner of the Skrulls.
After her rescue, Mockingbird briefly reunites with Hawkeye, even starring together in a Hawkeye & Mockingbird (opens in new tab) title, but they never manage to fully rekindle their relationship, eventually going their separate ways.
Mockingbird (opens in new tab) is still around in the Marvel Universe, and even had her own short-lived title, though she's remained largely a guest character with sporadic appearances for the last few years.
Laura Barton and Mockingbird in the MCU
Right of the bat (bird?) we'll address the fact that Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird has actually appeared in the MCU already herself, played by Adrienne Palicki in the TV show Agents of SHIELD. The Agents of SHIELD version of Mockingbird never had any contact with Hawkeye, and it's unclear how much of that show's events should be considered MCU canon at this point.
That said, Laura Barton seems to display some aspects of an actual espionage partnership with her husband in the MCU. First, there is the fact Laura seems well aware of Clint's five-year run as the murderous vigilante Ronin while she and her children Cooper, Lila, and Nate were Snapped.
That might be a fact that could put a strain on a marriage unless both spouses are veterans of the assassin/espionage game.
She also consults with Clint to get information about Sloan Limited, the company associated with the Tracksuit Mafia. Intelligence gathering about the criminal underworld isn't your typical stay-at-home mom skillset.
And she speaks in German - and this is a deep comic book dive but Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird once received a version of the Super-Soldier serum created by the Germans to save her life.
Then there are the references to the Rolex watch that was stolen in Hawkeye episode 1, an apparent target of the Tracksuit Mafia's heist of the auction of looted paraphernalia that was located at the Avengers compound before Thanos' attack in Endgame.
Speaking of that watch, the final scene of Hawkeyesuggests that the idea of Laura Barton and Mockingbird being one and the same in terms of the MCU may be fairly close to the truth, with Laura revealing that the watch once belonged to her, and that it bears a SHIELD symbol along with the number 19.(opens in new tab)
We're not necessarily saying Laura Barton was definitely an MCU version of Mockingbird in her past, though that is entirely possible, especially if 'Mockingbird' is a shared codename similar to 'Black Widow' in the MCU. But the number 19 seems to suggest that Laura could indeed be a version of Mockingbird, as SHIELD agent Bobbi Morse originally went by the codename 'Agent 19.'
And of course, there's that bit about Mockingbird 'dying' only to be discovered alive and having been replaced by a Skrull. There's a Secret Invasion MCU series coming up on Disney Plus, so anything is possible - but that's a whole other can of shapeshifting worms.
Only one thing is almost certain: when it comes to Laura Barton in the MCU, there's something more in her past than meets the eye.
Laura Barton isn't the only one on Hawkeye who may have secrets. Kate Bishop's mom Eleanor Bishop has a dark and twisted comic book history all her own.