Nyle DiMarco points out that those with disabilities should also be part of the representation discussion and asks Marvel Studios to make Hawkeye deaf as he is in the comic books. Debuting in 2011's Thor, Jeremy Renner plays the character in the MCU and has reprised the role four times. Next, he is expected to be back on the big screen in 2019's Avengers 4 after skipping Avengers: Infinity War.
As with comics, storylines are usually convoluted, but there have been separate occasions where Hawkeye has been deaf. The most popular narrative comes from 1983's Hawkeye #4 by Mark Gruenwald, when the character blasted his eardrums in an effort to defeat villain Crossfire who was manipulating him and Mockingbird to ruthlessly kill each other using a machine called the Undertaker. While Crossfire deactivated the Undertaker for a second, Clint snuck a sonic arrowhead in his mouth - which countered the effect of the machine if activated. However, when it detonated, it blasted his eardrums leaving him without his hearing.
On Twitter, model and disability activist Nyle DiMarco shared an article published by Mic about the MCU's lack of diversity. However, DiMarco pointed out that representation of disability should also be part of the discussion of diversity. He wrote, "Disability is also a part of diversity, @mic. HawkEye is actually Deaf and MARVEL Cinematic Universe made the character hearing." Mic acknowledged their oversight and invited DiMarco for a lengthy discussion, during which the activist expanded on his earlier comments:
“So many times people forget the disability conversation in diversity. They think diversity has to do with race [and] gender, but there’s so much more to it. We are part of diversity as people with disabilities and the danger is that we get excluded.
“There are a couple of issues where specifically Hawkeye is deaf. And so they brought in an actor who can hear instead. I think it would have made [better movies]… if they brought a deaf person in to play a deaf Hawkeye.
“I mean, no offense, but Hawkeye in the Avengers is boring. A lot of people don’t even like him… Let’s have a deaf actor in there instead, why not?”
In hindsight, aside from representing the disabled in the MCU, it would also be really cool to see how Hawkeye can continue be a capable assassin while deaf - similar to how Matt Murdock/Daredevil uses his other senses to fight. That said, given the current status of the MCU, it's kind of hard to introduce this huge character development for Hawkeye. Obviously, Marvel can't use the comic accurate narrative in which this is rooted on.
However, if Marvel wants to tread down this particular path for the character, they need to devote time to properly build up its story. Otherwise, it could easily feel like it's done just for the sake of saying that it's done, which could be more disrespectful to the community of which it was supposed to represent. Perhaps if he survives past Avengers 4, Kevin Feige could consider adapting this storyline one way or another.
With the character deliberately left out in Infinity War, it's expected that Hawkeye will have his own arc in Avengers 4. The bow-wielding marksman is tipped to assume his Ronin persona from the comic books as heavily hinted by previously leaked set photos revealing him sporting a new costume and haircut. It's currently unknown how this will all fit into the overall narrative of the movie, especially given the chaos that Thanos' snap inspired, but we may have a pretty good idea how Hawkeye's upcoming fate leads to him eventually joining his old superhero pals.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019