In the first two episodes of Hawkeye, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop did not get off to a great start. When they first met, Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) was clad in the Ronin costume, which reminded Clint (Jeremy Renner) of his shame over the years he spent as the killer. On top of that, Kate's presence threw a wrench into the Barton family's Christmas plans.
"Part of his initial reaction is just driven by annoyance, but also the heaviness that weighs upon his shoulder of what happened during those five years as Ronin," Renner tells EW. "He was taking out bad people, but not doing it through the normal protocol. I think she represents that, but then also she's just an obstacle in the way of getting back to the family for Christmas. He's like 'I'm not in work mode, and now I have to work!'"
Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner on 'Hawkeye'
While Clint may initially view Kate as an annoyance, from her perspective he's a role model. Seeing Hawkeye fight off Chitauri invaders during the Battle of New York was what inspired the young archer to pick up her bow and arrow in the first place. As a result, her idolization is deeper than the superficial fandom of the people who keep asking Clint for autographs and selfies in public places.
"What we see with the fans that come up to him and want to take a picture with him, it's like they're recognizing him in a public setting and being excited about the fact that he's in a place that they wouldn't have expected to see him," Steinfeld says. "So they want to document it and we don't necessarily know if they're lifelong fans or not, but with Kate we do know. She made this discovery of Hawkeye at a time of extreme loss in her life, and she sees in him part of what she lost. This human who is as ambitious and maybe a little reckless, as she is, someone who wants to help people and wants to protect people, she recognizes that part of him. That's what she idolizes."
Marvel Studios Clara Stack as young Kate Bishop witnessing the Chitauri invasion in the opening scene of 'Hawkeye'
And though Clint and Kate's working relationship has gotten off to a rocky start, it's set to blossom over the course of Hawkeye.
"It is a true evolution," Steinfeld says. "When we see the two of them meet for the first time, this is Kate face to face with her idol in a situation where she has no idea how high the stakes are or how much danger she's in. She's just completely excited that he's right there. She has so many questions and so many things she wants him to sign, until she realizes what the situation is. Then she quickly becomes someone who wants to be at his level and be an ally. So it ultimately evolves into this partnership that continues to evolve from there."
The first two episodes of Hawkeye are streaming now on Disney+. New episodes release every Wednesday.