Hawkeye introduced a lot of key new characters into the MCU in its two-part premiere last week. Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop is obviously the standout, but let’s not forget her family: her wealthy and well-connected mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) and her shifty soon-to-be stepdad Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton). Fans will know the latter character better as Swordsman, a supervillain/sometime superhero with a long storied past in the pages of Marvel Comics.
It’s hard to say how much of Swordsman’s comics history will be brought to the screen, as the MCU has already taken a big liberty with him by reimagining Duquesne as Kate’s stepfather. However, it’s certainly retaining the mystery of his true allegiance, which is a big part of his character in the source material. Case in point, in one notable storyline, Swordsman posed as an Avenger, all while secretly working for one of the team’s most dangerous foes.
In the comics, Duquesne was originally a carnie who took the young Clint Barton under his wing, until the archery prodigy discovered he was stealing from the carnival’s boss to pay his gambling debts. Duquesne brutally beat the boy as punishment before he was interrupted. Many years later, Clint was now Hawkeye and Duquesne had become the costumed villain Swordsman. However, it seemed he had changed his spots when he asked to join the Avengers.
In truth, he was really working for the Mandarin and, once accepted into their ranks, planted a bomb in the heroes’ HQ. Ultimately, though, Swordsman couldn’t go through with it and betrayed his evil boss to save the Avengers. Despite his redemption, Duquesne elected to leave the team.
With the real Mandarin, AKA Wenwu, having just been introduced in Shang-Chi, it’s feasible that some past connection between Duquesne and the Ten Rings organization will be established as Hawkeye unfolds. Or else in a future appearance from the shady character.
At this point, we’re not sure if Swordsman will turn out to be an ally or antagonist to Clint and Kate in the MCU, so we’ll just have to see where his story goes over the next four episodes of Hawkeye, releasing Wednesdays on Disney Plus.