Hawkeye: Laura May Be Agent 19, But She Shouldn’t Be Mockingbird
Hawkeye revealed Laura Barton’s secret history with SHIELD, but she shouldn’t replace Agents of SHIELD’s Bobbi Morse as Mockingbird.
You Are Reading :Hawkeye Laura May Be Agent 19 But She Shouldn’t Be Mockingbird
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 6 of Hawkeye, “So This Is Christmas?” now streaming on Disney+.
Several episodes into Hawkeye, Clint (Jeremy Renner) and his wife Laura (Linda Cardellini) started talking about a particular Rolex watch discovered in the ruins of the Avengers compound. It was connected to someone who had “been out of the game for a long time,” leading fans to speculate about who they might be. The most popular theory was that the watch had belonged to Laura herself, implying that she had formerly been a SHIELD agent.
In the Hawkeye finale, Clint returns the watch to Laura and tells her to be more careful with her things. After the couple exchange a fond glance, Laura flips the watch over to reveal a SHIELD logo and the number “19” engraved on the back. In the comics, Agent 19 is Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird — a longstanding romantic interest of Clint’s. With Laura being Clint’s only love interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this seems to be a cute nod to that.
That said, Bobbi Morse has already been introduced to the MCU… sort of. Played by Adrianne Palicki, Bobbi was a lead character on Seasons 2 and 3 of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, a show that many fans still hold dear. Like all of the pre-Disney+ television projects Marvel put out, SHIELD’s canonicity is questionable now. Even so, both Vincent D’Onofrio and Charlie Cox have reprised their Daredevil roles in new, officially canon projects, so there’s at least some precedent for characters from the TV shows to reappear, more or less as fans knew them.
Palicki’s Mockingbird was beloved by many fans and she almost got her own spin-off, Most Wanted, but that fell through and the character hasn’t been seen since. In a Season 5 episode of SHIELD, her partner and on/off love interest Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) reappeared and mentioned that the pair were still keeping busy, doing whatever vigilante/mercenary work they could get their hands on. They’re both determined to do whatever good they can even though they had to leave SHIELD and the relative stability of their old lives. Thus, it seems relatively easy to reintroduce the pair to the official MCU canon in this context. Plus, Palicki herself has expressed interest in returning.
There has been speculation that Laura Barton is just Bobbi in disguise, completely disregarding the Mockingbird that audiences came to love on SHIELD. Hawkeye revealing that she owned a “19” watch seems to imply that Laura was, in fact, Agent 19 — but that doesn’t mean that she’s Bobbi, and nor should it. Not all SHIELD agents get number titles, but it’s a little absurd to think that there has only ever been one Agent 19, given that SHIELD has had hundreds, possibly thousands of employees since its founding.
Furthermore, Laura is her own fully separate character, and assuming that she has to be revealed to be Bobbi in disguise is an insult to both women. It suggests that female characters are interchangeable, despite their differences not only in role but in personality. It also suggests that Laura — Clint’s wife, the mother of his three children and a competent, spirited homesteader and woman in her own right — can’t be interesting unless she has a secret spy backstory and that Bobbi — who, in SHIELD, had to leave the organization but decided to keep fighting the good fight instead of settling down — would be content to give up the life she was passionate about.
Laura has mostly been shown as a wife and mother, but there’s nothing lesser about her. Even before Hawkeye’s reveal that she was a former agent, she helped Clint with research and bouncing ideas, and she’s raised three fantastic children. It stands to reason that she has her own career, though it’s never been discussed and is likely something she can do from home. She was close with not only Clint but Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) as well, and she happily welcomed the other Avengers into her home.
Agent 19 is likely a title that can be inherited, which would also tie in with Phase Four’s theme of doubles and legacy characters. In this case, it could be fun if the MCU eventually revealed that Laura had, perhaps, been Bobbi’s mentor in SHIELD and passed the Agent 19 mantle to her when she retired. This would mean that Bobbi and Clint could have worked together, albeit not in a romantic context. Revealing Laura as Bobbi’s mentor would also be a nice touch simply because the MCU needs more female friendships.
The Bobbi and Clint romance in the comics is tumultuous and ultimately unsuccessful; they divorce messily, though based on the 2015 Mockingbird run written by Chelsea Cain, they still have some feelings for each other. It also seems odd that Marvel would look at that relationship and decide that despite its many issues, Bobbi would plausibly change her name and settle down on a farm with Clint for the rest of her life.
Laura could easily have shared a title with Bobbi or held the title before Bobbi did. Laura and Clint could both have known Bobbi and even been fond of her. But Laura shouldn’t be Bobbi. Even if Palicki’s Bobbi doesn’t return, the character of Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, is so fundamentally different from Laura that they should not be revealed to be the same person.
To see Laura’s Agent 19 reveal, Hawkeye Season 1 is available to stream on Disney+.