We already knew that the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase One Avengers would be getting replaced over the next couple of years, with Iron Man the only marquee hero that doesn’t already have an heir apparent waiting in the wings, but if the rumors turn out to be true and Sam Wilson waits until season 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to don the star-spangled spandex of Captain America, then Hawkeye is the only project on the calendar that marks a genuine passing of the torch.
So far, Kate Bishop is the last remaining title role that hasn’t been cast yet for the lineup of Disney Plus shows, unless of course Tatiana Maslany really isn’t playing She-Hulk despite already being congratulated by Mark Ruffalo. In any case, we know that Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton is on his way out of the MCU, and the driving force of the narrative will see him training his protege to become his permanent successor.
That’s about all we can confirm so far, but the latest report claims that Clint could end up losing his hearing, which mirrors two of his most famous comic book runs. Hawkeye first went deaf in 1983 after a machine used by the villainous Crossfire shattered his eardrums, and again in 2012 when he was stabbed in the ears, which led to a famous issue with hardly any dialogue and a heavy reliance on ASL to tell the story.
Losing his hearing would certainly give Clint Barton the impetus to decide that his superhero days are over, and with a family to think of as well, the sooner the Avengers’ expert archer passes the mantle of Hawkeye onto Kate Bishop, the better it’ll be for his wife and kids.