MCU Theory: Hawkeye’s Echo Will Be A Dark Avenger (But Not Yelena)

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Hawkeye.

Clint Barton’s first shared story with Kate Bishop in Hawkeye could play a big role in the formation of the Dark Avengers, namely in the reveal of Black Widow’s true villainous stand-in. Each installment in the MCU’s Phase 4 has planted a seed towards the creation of one or more superteams. With the original Avengers line-up absent to protect the world, several groups of superhumans can either try to replace them or sabotage their legacy.

Apart from the Young Avengers, one of the superteams that have received the most evident set-ups so far in Phase 4 is the one that Valentina Allegra De Fontaine is assembling. Val started with John Walker aka US Agent at the end of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and continued with Yelena Belova after the events of Black Widow and Avengers: Endgame. Marvel Studios hasn’t confirmed whether Val’s team will be the Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers, but given the clear parallels between her first recruits and two of the original Avengers, it’s likely that the latter team will debut first.


In order to create and maintain a villainous mirror to the Avengers, Val will need to give her recruits strong motivations to do what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes never dared to do. John Walker’s unstable personality makes it easy for her to manipulate him, but lying to Yelena about who killed Natasha Romanoff may not be enough to convince her to stay. Here’s how Hawkeye can replace Yelena with the Dark Avengers’ real dark version of Black Widow, Echo.

Why Yelena May Not Join Val’s Team

Black Widow‘s post-credits scene featured Valentina Allegra de Fontaine revealing to Yelena Belova that Clint Barton was the culprit behind Natasha Romanoff’s death. Even though this is completely false, it’s difficult for Hawkeye to disprove it, as he was the only person (besides Red Skull) to witness how Black Widow chose to sacrifice herself for the Soul Stone at Vormir. However, it’s not difficult enough to explain to Yelena, who understands that Clint was the one who helped Natasha join the Avengers. Hawkeye is a celebrated Avenger, and even if Yelena learns of his time as the bloodthirsty Ronin, believing he would go as far as to kill his best friend in the middle of a world-saving mission would be a stretch.

Once Yelena hears Clint’s version of the story, her only motivation to associate herself with a team of questionable anti-heroes will be gone. The MCU’s Yelena Belova is kindhearted, and her experience in the Red Room allows her to understand how dangerous it is to believe in an organization blindly. Only an overly complicated misunderstanding could lead her to stay with Val. Since Black Widow set her up as the character who will continue Natasha Romanoff’s heroic legacy, her future seems more likely to be with the Avengers, or with the Thunderbolts if Baron Zemo doesn’t revert to his twisted self.

Echo Is Black Widow’s Dark Counterpart

If Yelena Belova realizes that she’s being manipulated by Val, the character who could fill her role in the Dark Avengers could be Maya Lopez aka Echo. Like Natasha, Echo became a deadly martial artist when she was a child. However, she did it because she wanted to be able to defend herself and defeat any threat that could come her way — unlike Natasha, who was forced to become a Black Widow by the Red Room. Opposite to Natasha, Maya Lopez had a father who actually loved her, but he died at the hands of (allegedly) Ronin. So, Echo is going after Hawkeye the same way Hawkeye went after Natasha, and similar to how Hawkeye spared Black Widow, it’s possible that Echo will find out that Hawkeye was innocent all along.

But unlike Black Widow, Echo is still closely linked to her dark past. She’s the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia and follows the orders of “Uncle,” who may or may not be Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin himself. Having seen Ronin kill her father with her own eyes, Echo has much stronger motivations to hunt down Hawkeye when she finds out he was the owner of the moniker, and even if it turns out that Clint Barton wasn’t wearing the hood that night, Echo may still want to go after him due to his interference in her and her family’s business. What better revenge than becoming Black Widow’s dark counterpart? In Hawkeye episode 3, Clint told Maya Lopez that Black Widow “killed” Ronin. This could easily go from a metaphor to a fact if Echo decides to get rid of him.

Who Will Complete the MCU’s Dark Avengers Line-Up?

With US Agent and Echo secured, Val carry on with her recruiting mission and reach out to Abomination, last seen in Shang-Chi returning to his maximum-security cell after sparring with Wong. Thor and Iron Man could receive their villainous counterparts in Thor: Love and Thunder and Armor Wars, respectively, perhaps in the form of an Olympic god such as Ares or Zeus and a new tech-savvy millionaire who claims the Iron Patriot armor, such as Norman Osborn or Justin Hammer. But, when will Hawkeye’s Dark Avenger counterpart be introduced?

The Hawkeye Disney+ show seems like an ideal opportunity to introduce the Dark Avengers’ version of Hawkeye. That character needs to possess similar abilities to Clint Barton but also have the opposite personality or background. If Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil enter the MCU in Phase 4, the perfect candidate to become Val’s Hawkeye would be Benjamin Poindexter aka Bullseye, who was last seen surviving his fight against Kingpin and Daredevil in the final cliffhanger of Netflix’s Daredevil season 3. Both Hawkeye and Bullseye are perfect marksmen with a dark past, but one is proud of it and the other wants nothing to do with it. Hawkeye could reveal that Bullseye was the person who killed Echo’s father under the guise of Ronin, which would set up Bullseye’s admission into the Dark Avengers, similar to how he joined the villainous team wearing Hawkeye’s original costume in the comics.

Hawkeye releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

Key Release Dates
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
Guardians Of The Galaxy 3’s Villain Risks Repeating A Big Eternals Mistake

About The Author

Nicolas Ayala (439 Articles Published)

Nicolas Ayala is a writer with a passion for blockbusters and big-screen adaptations. He loves all things Marvel, DCEU, and wacky comedies. The cheesier the movie, the better.

When not writing, he’s probably coming up with new ideas for the next writing sessions.

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