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Hawkeye Sets Up Phase 4's New Ronin, Despite Endgame - Theory Explained

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel's Hawkeye episodes 1 & 2

Marvel's Hawkeye could be setting up a brand new Ronin for Phase 4 despite Clint Barton's dark past in the role as seen in Avengers: Endgame. Created during the five-year Decimation when half of all life was erased thanks to Thanos, Ronin was a lethal and merciless vigilante persona Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) assumed, abandoning his identity as Hawkeye after his wife and children vanished. While Ronin was seemingly left behind once the Avengers brought everyone back in Endgame, the suit and sword have made a resurgence in Marvel's new Hawkeye series, pulling Clint out of retirement to keep the costume out of the wrong hands. Combined with the introduction of Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), a new Ronin may soon debut in the MCU.

Also known as Echo, Maya Lopez was introduced at the end of Hawkeye episode 2 as the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia. With her early life in the comics having her working for criminal powers in New York, it looks as though this will hold true for the MCU as well, though she would eventually become a hero in her own right. Not only was Maya Lopez a Ronin in the comics, but she was also the first to take on the role (not Hawkeye).

Related: Is Hawkeye Really The Worst Avenger? MCU Insult Finally Debunked

As a result, it seems like a strong possibility that Maya could be looking to become her own Ronin in the MCU, perhaps following the same path in the comics where she gains redemption from her criminal past by becoming an Avenger, using the masked persona to keep her identity a secret. She could also redeem the Ronin name as well considering its incredibly dark reputation in the MCU when compared to the much more positive connotations of the comics' version.

In Marvel Comics, Maya Lopez was the adopted daughter of Wilson Fisk - perhaps known better as the Marvel villain Kingpin -  initially becoming a rival and later brief love-interest of Matt Murdock's Daredevil. However, once she learned the truth about Fisk and his role as New York's Kingpin she turned on him, choosing to become a hero instead of his agent. As Echo, Maya uses her photographic reflexes to work as a formidable vigilante, having comparable abilities on par with the agility of Daredevil along with the accuracy of Bullseye (along with a litany of other skills). She's also become Thunderbird in recent comics, serving as a new host for the Phoenix Force.

However, Maya was the first Ronin in the Marvel Universe. Wanting to join the New Avengers without damaging their reputations by association given her past as Kingpin's daughter, Maya came up with the Ronin, a ninja costume that masked her true identity while she fought as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. However, she eventually gave the persona over to Clint Barton's Hawkeye in the comics who not soon after gave his Hawkeye codename to Kate Bishop, whom he had grown impressed with. Given Maya's introduction in Hawkeye episode 2 where she's seemingly a crime boss, it seems as though her possible journey where she becomes a hero has yet to begin in the MCU.

While she may be a criminal now (holding Clint Barton and Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop hostage), there's a strong possibility Maya could become Ronin as Marvel's Hawkeye continues. This would simply flip the script where she'd be the second to hold the role instead of the first. However, the MCU could have her seeking the suit due to the value of its reputation. As the MCU's Ronin, Hawkeye dismantled large swaths of organized crime all over the world, making the name one to be feared in the darkest corners of the globe. As such, perhaps Maya will initially want to become Ronin to instill fear in her rivals with the status it would provide?

Related: Hawkeye Secretly Hinted Clint Isn’t Redeemed As A Hero After Ronin Yet

That being said, it's likely Maya will get some sort of redemption arc as Marvel's Hawkeye continues considering her own spin-off series Echo has already been announced. It's certainly possible that Maya could just as easily earn the Ronin costume over time (perhaps with Clint's blessing), redeeming its dark reputation by becoming a heroic vigilante in the streets of New York as Echo.

With a darker and brutal Ronin having been seen already thanks to Clint Barton, Maya's Ronin/Echo would likely be more of a hero in the MCU (just as she is in the comics). Furthermore, after she turned against Kingpin in the comics Echo went on a spiritual journey to sort out her personal identity crisis. In doing so, she found herself working alongside the X-Men's Wolverine in Japan, fighting its criminal elements while he taught her about Japanese culture. This is where Maya got the inspiration for the Ronin persona, seeing as how "Ronin" is the Japanese term for a "masterless samurai".

Ronin was always meant to be a means for Maya to reclaim her identity, allowing her to fight as a New Avenger (before Clint Barton ever took the role). As such, Echo can fix the dark reputation the MCU Ronin suit gained during Endgame thanks to Clint. Furthermore, Maya taking the Ronin role from Barton rather than giving it to him provides a dynamic symmetry between the comics and MCU that would be fairly entertaining.

All things considered, the opportunity exists for a natural arc where the MCU's version of Maya Lopez could eventually become the next Ronin. This would also go hand in hand with a redemption arc Hawkeye can feature as it continues or at the very least set up ahead of Marvel's Echo. In any case, fans will just have to wait and see what's in store for Maya Lopez as Marvel's Hawkeye continues.

More: Why The Avengers Were Treated So Terribly After Endgame

Marvel's Hawkeye releases new episodes on Wednesdays.

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