The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become famous for its detailed storytelling packed with references, callbacks, and foreshadowing. And this hasn’t been lost in the MCU’s move to the small screen. So far, all of the Marvel TV series are packed with details that keep fans guessing and theorizing. And right now, one object is causing fans to ask many questions.
Hawkeye is the fifth MCU television series, and it premiered on November 24th, 2021. The series sees Jeremy Renner reprise his role as Clint Barton confronting his dark past.
During the blip, Clint took the mantle of Ronin and spent his time taking vengeance on criminals who had survived the snap. However, now these old actions are coming back to haunt him. Along the way, he has to team up with Kate Bishop and survive an onslaught of new and dangerous threats.
However, one thing that has captured the imagination of audiences is an old Rolex watch that seems to play a massive role in the series overarching story. The Rolex first appeared in the first episode of Hawkeye as an item for sale at the black-market auction of items recovered from the wreck of the Avengers Compound. However, this auction doesn’t go well as the Tracksuit Mafia break into the auction and attempt to steal the watch.
In episode four, Clint goes on a mission to retrieve the watch after his wife, Laura, asks him to. During this episode, Clint explains that the Rolex “belongs to someone I used to work with.” And that the owner has “been out of the game a long time. But their identity is still attached to that watch.” Clint ends this conversation by noting that if the Tracksuit Mafia gets the watch, it will blow the friend’s cover. This, of course, has fans desperately trying to work out who the Rolex belongs to.
The scene led to several fan theories being thrown around online. Some believe that the watch might have actually belonged to Clint, and it was something he wore while he was Ronin, arguing that recovering the Rolex fits with Clint’s plan to recover all of the objects he used while in that persona. However, this has issues as Clint has already admitted his past to Kate. So why would he explain the watch’s importance in such a cryptic way if she already knows his secret?
Some argue that the watch could belong to Steve Rogers. Steve has been out of the game for a very long time thanks to time travel and is one of the few characters we know is in hiding as he tries to have a regular suburban life. Marvel was cagey about his fate in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which has many fan-theorists suspecting that a major Captain America revelation is coming in the future. However, others rightfully point out that if Steve is involved, then Clint wouldn’t be handling it alone.
Another popular fan theory suggests that this watch could belong to Agent Phil Coulson, the fan-favorite character from the original Iron Man and Agents of SHIELD. At the end of Agents of SHIELD, Coulson was wandering the world alone, meaning that he could be “out of the game.” And, while Coulson doesn’t have a secret identity, Coulson does have a confusing history of death and resurrection that S.H.I.E.L.D. might not want people to know. Fans have also pointed out that Coulson wears a Rolex in several of his appearances, suggesting he has a taste for fancy watches.
However, the most popular fan theory says that the watch belongs to Clint’s wife, Laura. Until Laura requests the Rolex, Clint doesn’t seem to care about it. Suggesting that he wasn’t aware of its importance until Laura mentioned it. Laura Barton also seems to be an extremely suspicious character. She knows several different languages and regularly slips between them, almost like she’s trying to prevent people from eavesdropping on her conversations. She is also an expert investigator, quickly digging up information on Sloan Limited for Clint. In fact, all of this seems to point to Laura being a spy or a former member of S.H.I.E.L.D. As these both seem like skills someone in that organization would have.
This theory would explain why Laura never appears outside of the Barton family farm. When Clint takes the family to see a musical in the city, Laura isn’t with them when you presume she would be. Never leaving home could imply that Laura is in hiding, and if this is true, then this would explain why knowing the identity of the watch owner would be such a big deal. In fact, of all the people Clint knows, Laura is the only one who could be described as “out of the game a long time.” As everyone else he knows who has dropped back from heroism has done so recently or doesn’t maintain a traditional secret identity.
Interestingly, there’s evidence for this theory in the comics. In the comics, Hawkeye is usually dating Mockingbird, a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. While Mockingbird’s real name in the comics is Bobbi Morse, it wouldn’t be the first time the MCU has changed a character slightly or merged several versions.
Only time will tell who the watch belongs to; however, if the previous episodes of Hawkeye are an indication, the owner of this watch will have a massive impact on the MCU in the years to come.
Hawkeye is exclusive to Disney+, and episodes 1 to 4 are available now.