October 25, 2021

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Marvel Makes Hawkeye More Powerful Than The MCU Ever Did

Hawkeye has new arrows and abilities in What If…? episode 8, making him much more powerful than he ever was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for What If…? episode 8.

Hawkeye gets new gadgets and abilities in Marvel’s What If…?, making him much stronger than he ever was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In What If…? episode 8, Ultron (voiced by Ross Marquand) unleashes destruction on the MCU, courtesy of the Infinity Stones. After wiping out his own universe, the villain soon realizes there are more worlds to destroy. He discovers the Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) has access to other universes and fights the character across space and time. Eventually, the Watcher has no choice but to turn to an evil version of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help.


What If…? episode 8 is the first story in the series to serve as a direct follow-up. In episode 7, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) grows up as an only child and becomes Party Thor. The God of Thunder throws an epic celebration on Earth, which can potentially destroy the planet. However, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) calls on his mother, Frigga (voiced by Josette Eales), and Thor’s party seemingly ends peacefully. Unfortunately, before the episode concludes, Ultron steps out of a portal and threatens their world.

Related: The MCU Messed Up Its Thor What If Question Twice

In addition to an ultra-powerful Ultron, What If…? episode 8 also introduces a more powerful Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Though Ultron destroys most of the universe, Natasha Romanoff (voiced by Lake Bell) and Hawkeye survive a nuclear attack on Earth and plan to take the villain down. Though the pair, who both lack superpowers, seem outmatched, Marvel makes Hawkeye much more powerful to even up the stakes. During the episode, Hawkeye fights Ultron’s drones using a robotic metal arm, an invisibility cloak, and new arrows. As a result, the character is more powerful than he ever was in the MCU.

Hawkeye in What If

There’s a drastic difference between the Hawkeye in What If…? and the live-action version. Thus far in the MCU, Hawkeye has been the odd one out of the Avengers. While most of the other heroes have specific powers or assassin training in the case of Romanoff, Hawkeye’s abilities generally consist of simply shooting arrows well. He even acknowledges his limitations in Avengers: Age of Ultron. “The city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow,” he says. However, What If…? episode 8 changes things. He gets more powerful arrows, which can even emit forcefields; he has a device that can cloak his whereabouts; and his new mechanical arm, a la the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), makes him an enhanced human. So in terms of physical abilities, he’s a much stronger asset for the Avengers.

Though the new Hawkeye is stronger than the version in the main MCU timeline, he’s not necessarily better. Clint Barton’s humanity is part of what makes him heroic. It’s easy for a character like Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to run into battle. After all, Hulk is nearly indestructible. Hawkeye isn’t. In What If…? episode 8, Hawkeye’s mortality becomes abundantly clear when he sacrifices his life to save Natasha in a direct reversal of Avengers: Endgame. Yes, the character is more powerful in What If…?, but the Hawkeye from the main timeline is equally heroic.

More: Hawkeye’s Captain America Celebration Makes Bucky’s Phase 4 Story Worse

Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

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