Hawkeye’s Kate Bishop is introduced as a 22-year-old wealthy Manhattanite with a penchant for getting into trouble. The first episode is dedicated to getting to know her and her family. Fans already know Barton’s three kids, but Bishop’s family is a dysfunctional mystery, especially once she learns her mother, Eleanor, is getting remarried. But who is Eleanor’s fiancé, Jacques Duquesne, and do his evil mustachioed step-dad vibes give away that he’s going to be Hawkeye’s main antagonist?
Warning: Spoilers for Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2 follow. It is a cliché as old as Disney fairytales for a new step-parent to be evil. But when Kate learns a new dad just dropped, she takes it extra hard. It’s not just that her step-dad-to-be’s awful uncle, Armand III (of seven!), was the one to tell Kate about the engaement. but also Jacques Duquesne is just kind of creepy. He’s oily, over-familiar, has about half a hundred swords distributed all over the house, and he’s big into underground auctions secretly happening during charity events.
It’s that final point that suggests Jacques is not entirely above board. (Also, Kate does not overhear it, but Armand’s declaration that Jacques doesn’t have money to spend on a seemingly illegally procured sword is a sign he’s lying about his financials.) But perhaps the man trying to marry Eleanor isn’t so different from her daughter after all. When Russians attempt to steal a high-value target from the auction, Jacques steals the Ronin sword he had his eyes on — and Kate steals the Ronin suit. But then again, Kate’s not the one who used her stolen good to murder Armand afterward. (Jacques may not have been either, but so far, he seems to be a prime suspect.)
For those looking to learn about Kate’s future step-dad, it might behoove them to check out his story from the comics. Jacques Duquesne is a Marvel character with a history as a Hawkeye antagonist, and his name is, fittingly, the Swordsman.
As is true with all the comics characters, fans should keep in mind that the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes major liberties when adapting these stories to the screen. Drax, for example, shares very little in common with his on-page counterpart; he was basically reimagined from the ground up for the Guardians movies. But Jacques seems to have at least kept his alter-ego intact, since he is obsessed with swords and tried to hide just how talented he is with them. He also kept the handsome-rake look he sports in the comics.
But the rest may be different. Swordsman, in the comics, is a circus performer who Hawkeye encounters as a kid. Along with the archer Trickshot, Swordsman was a significant force in Barton’s training until he grew up a little and realized what a degenerate gambler and thief Swordsman was. After their falling out, the two didn’t see each other for decades until Swordsman joined the Avengers as part of a plot to undermine them. But seeing who Hawkeye grew up to be inspired Swordsman. By the time his ruse was uncovered, he wanted to be an actual Avenger, even as he found himself on the antagonist side. Eventually, Swordsman passed away redeemed, saving Mantis’ life from Kang.
How much of this makes it into the series remains to be seen. As of the first two episodes, Hawkeye and Jacques haven’t met, and it would sure be awkward for Bishop if Duquesne turned out to be Barton’s old mentor. (Though the circus past would confirm him as a con artist.) But with the threat of Kang looming, it might be good to remember the original Swordsman’s ultimate fate.
Hawkeye continues with new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.