Man, we thought we already covered this...
Twitter is in a frenzy Thursday (and the Hollywood trades are responding) over speculation that Marvel Studios may have just introduced Kate Bishop to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the new, second full Avengers: Endgame trailer.
On the surface, there’s a few things to grasp onto to support the notion.
For one, the girl in the trailer is a dark-haired teenage girl shooting an arrow … and very well.
Of course, she’s being mentored by Hawkeye.
And there has been previous speculation of Kate’s appearance in Endgame.
Those speculative rumors were spurred by Katherine Langsford’s reported casting. However, the girl in this scene doesn’t appear to be the 23-year-old actor.
But that said, a later report about then 16-year-old actor Emma Fuhrmann being cast as Cassie Lang/Stature might now be a thing. Is that Fuhrmann in the scene? You be the judge. For her part, she has retweeted both Endgame trailers, despite having never been officially named to the cast.
But the four-second scene … let’s repeat that … the four-second scene provides more clues that suggest in even more comprehensive fashion that that’s just an older Lila Barton, introduced as a young child in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (played by sisters Imogen and Isabella Poynton).
Let’s look at the opening frame.
There’s Hawkeye, the girl, plus a woman, and what look like two boys with a ball, one older, one younger (or more accurately taller and shorter) on Clint’s farm, seemingly having a picnic.
Age of Ultron established Clint and his wife Laura have a son, Cooper, and a daughter, Lila, somewhat close to the same age and a new baby boy, Nathaniel Pietro, the number, gender and relative ages of the kids matching the Endgame footage pretty well.
And that’s just part of the puzzle.
Given we know Hawkeye takes over the identity of Ronin, presumably due to extreme grief of losing his family, when do you suppose Endgame is going to find the time to establish a completely new character in which a post-script scene like this makes sense? Would there be narrative room to introduce Kate and establish a bond with Clint, so that she’ll later become something of an adopted daughter to the Bartons, in addition to the daughter he already has, who then by process of elimination isn’t seen on the farm in the trailer?
As we previously detailed, what this scene appears to be is not a flashback as some have already speculated (the kids are way too old) but a flash-forward in time, a probable send-off/goodbye to Clint. It appears to show him not only having earned his retirement, not-so coincidentally something of a plot point in Age of Ultron, Civil War and Infinity War, but enjoying years of happy retirement, a not-insignificant distinction given the stakes of Endgame and that it's effectively a conclusion to the 21 previous films.
Endgame - like Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - seems destined to feature a lot of expository closure for the older, original characters, including happy endings for the ones who don’t have to make a major sacrifice to defeat Thanos and reverse the Snap. Invested moviegoers are going to want those moments.
If … if the original six Avengers become something of a Infinity Watch, to facilitate the actors' retirement from their roles, it always made sense for Clint, given he’s the only character with a family/kids, to be the exception. This would make Don Cheadle’s War Machine having survived the Snap that much more logical, as he’d serve as the obvious stand-in to take Clint’s place.
So while the idea of Kate is interesting, it seems much more likely we’re just seeing Lila a few years in the future.
Of course Marvel Studios knows what buttons it’s pressing by including that shot, so perhaps the question that needs to be asked moving forward is this - will Lila Barton take over the Kate Bishop role in the future of the MCU?
Given Clint doesn’t have a daughter of his own in the comic book universe, but does in the MCU, the mentor/protege relationship transferring to father/daughter does make a lot of sense (And they've kind of done it before with Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne).
We'll find out on or before April 26 when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters.