This article contains spoilers for Hawkeye
Hawkeye wrapped up with a bang yesterday: Clint and Kate finally became partners, Yelena got over her quest for revenge, Maya confronted Kingpin about the death of her father, and a very Merry Christmas was had at the Barton household.
But, just before the credits rolled, we learned a key detail about the MCU’s past that may prove key to its future. Throughout Hawkeye, both Clint and Maya have been trying to get hold of a Rolex watch. This was recovered from the Avengers’ compound in the wake of its destruction in Endgame, is clearly very important to the Bartons, and gives off a homing signal, indicating it’s no ordinary timepiece.
In the finale’s closing moments, Clint handed it to Laura and jokingly told her to take better care of her stuff. She turned it over to reveal a S.H.I.E.L.D. logo and the number 19. This is confirmation that Laura Barton was once Agent 19, who comics fans will know as ‘Mockingbird’.
In the comics, Mockingbird is Dr. Bobbi Morse and one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s finest agents. Introduced in 1971, she’s gradually gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous women in the Marvel Universe, known for her martial arts prowess and skill with twin batons and staffs. She’s also been dosed with a version of the Super Soldier Serum, granting her enhanced strength, agility, and the ability to quickly heal from damage.
Mockingbird prominently featured in 2008’s ‘Secret Invasion’ storyline, where it was revealed she’d been an undercover Skrull agent for the last 17 years. Since that story, the ‘real’ Mockingbird has reappeared and been a firm fixture in the comics, teaming up with Spider-Man, Quicksilver – and being in a fractious relationship with her sometime husband Hawkeye.
In an interesting twist, the character has technically already appeared in the MCU in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That Bobbi Morse (who never actually went by the codename Mockingbird) was played by Adrianne Palicki was so popular that a spinoff dedicated to her was once planned. Whether that character or the events of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are still canon is currently unclear. If they are, it means Palicki’s character is the successor to Laura Barton. If not, then the MCU has just seen a big retcon and Palicki’s heroine is now in the trash.
We don’t know when we’ll see Hawkeye or Laura next, though I’d love to see some of her tenure as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best agent. I doubt they’d have set something like this up without a payoff in mind – perhaps in the second season of What If…?