Warning: Spoilers for Hawkeye’s finale follow. Since the premiere of Hawkeye, there’s been one mystery that has lived on the backburner: the Rolex watch. Taken from the rubble of the Avengers compound, this was the item Kingpin was after at the illegal auction taking place under Eleanor’s charity ball. Theories have abounded as to who the watch belonged to and why Kingpin might be after it, and the answer was closer to home than some might have guessed. But does Hawkeye’s watch storyline actually confirm Laura Barton is Mockingbird? Let’s consider the facts before anyone gets ahead of themselves.
Despite initial theories that the watch was Iron Man tech from Tony Stark or Steve Rogers’ vintage watch from the 1940s, the likely answer began to seem like it belonged to Clint Barton. It was found in the rubble near his Ronin suit and sword, and his wife, Laura, seemed very concerned about getting it back.
But it wasn’t until the show’s conclusion that fans learned that not only had Clint gotten the watch back from Kingpin, but also he was able to return it to its rightful owner: Laura. And the reveals didn’t stop there. When she turned the watch over, fans were startled to see the watch had the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo, and underneath, the number 19.
This is a big deal for fans of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D comics. In them, Agent 19 is Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most valuable agents. Initially introduced in the comics in 1971, Mockingbird has a colorful history and love life on the page, including marriages to one of the X-Men, Ka-Zar; an Avenger, Hawkeye; and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Lance Hunter. Of those three, she is most associated with Hawkeye in the comics.
Agent Bobbi Morse was already part of the onscreen Marvel stable in Marvel TV’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. And unlike the Netflix shows, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did attempt to stake its claim as part of the MCU canon for the first two seasons. Those included crossover appearances by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and episodes directly linked to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World.
That’s where things get a little complicated. Some fans are convinced this Hawkeye detail about Laura is an effective recasting of Agent 19/Mockingbird, cutting out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the MCU canon. But technically, it isn’t. Agent Bobbi Morse was never called Agent 19 on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show, nor did she use the Mockingbird moniker. That was only used offscreen by some of the marketing for the never-aired spinoff Marvel’s Most Wanted, which didn’t make it past the pilot stage.
Further, although the “19” on the watch is an easter egg for comics fans, the show doesn’t directly call Laura Barton Agent 19 or Mockingbird. More importantly, it’s not like her name is Bobbi Barton; it’s Laura. For all fans know, this watch is in Laura’s possession because Bobbi Morse gave it to her. Or, Laura Barton was indeed Agent 19, and in this version of Marvel, Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, is someone else.
With Clint Barton most likely retiring as Hawkeye and leaving the moniker to Kate Bishop, fans probably won't see much of Laura Barton again. That makes the watch’s number merely a hidden gem for hardcore fans before closing the book on Clint. By leaving off here, the MCU can have both Bobbi Morse as Mockingbird and Laura Barton as Agent 19, separate and distinct from one another, without either being erased.
All episodes of Hawkeye are streaming on Disney+.