Recently, it was revealed that Clint Barton will be showing up in Avengers: Endgame as Ronin rather than Hawkeye. This can be seen in his new costume, which is based on the Ronin costume rather than the Hawkeye costume. Considering the connotations, one can’t help but wonder if Barton’s family was counted among the casualties of Thanos’s snap, though it is possible that his state of mind has been impacted by other losses instead.
What Are the Differences Between Hawkeye and Ronin?
Ronin is a very, very Japanese name. In fact, the name is Japanese for “wave person,” meaning someone who is drifting upon the metaphorical waves of life. Initially, ronin referred to serfs who had fled from their masters. Nowadays, ronin can be used to refer to unemployed salarymen as well as secondary school graduates who haven’t managed to secure positions at post-secondary institutions. However, most people should be most familiar with the term ronin in the sense of an ex-samurai.
In short, a ronin is a samurai who has lost his master. In the strictest sense, this is incorrect because a samurai is a warrior member of the buke class who is serving a higher-ranked individual, meaning that a samurai who has lost his master cannot be considered a samurai. However, most people tend to use samurai in a much looser sense than this.
Regardless, ronin have had a wide range of roles in Japanese media and Japanese-influenced media. Sometimes, they are villainous scoundrels who are ruled by their baser instincts. Other times, they are heroic individuals who are willing to stand up for people who have been overlooked by more formal structures. As such, there is a lot of meaning packed into the term.
In the Marvel Comics setting, Ronin is a name that has been used by more than one character. For instance, the first version was a Native American woman named Maya Lopez, though it is entertaining to note that the initial plan was to make Matt Murdock the person behind the suit, who might be better-known to some as Daredevil. Besides Maya Lopez, Ronin has seen use by characters that range from Clint Barton to the Ultimate Marvel version of Moon Knight.
As for Barton’s time as Ronin, well, suffice to say that it came at a very bad time for the character. For starters, he was killed in the ensuing battle when the Scarlet Witch went mad. However, he was then resurrected by the Scarlet Witch when she rewrote the Marvel Comics setting to put mutants in charge, though he started out with no recollection of what had happened. Unsurprisingly, when Barton learned the truth, he was less than enthusiastic, so much so that that he sought to kill the Scarlet Witch for what she had done. It wasn’t until Barton met an amnesiac Scarlet Witch after the resolution of that particular storyline that he managed to move on, though the bad times weren’t over for him.
After all, it wasn’t too long after that Captain America was assassinated, which was not taken well by Barton. He confronted Tony Stark, was offered the chance to take up the Captain America name, and then turned it down. After which, Barton became involved in a rescue mission for the first Ronin, which resulted in him picking up the Ronin name while leaving Hawkeye for Kate Bishop. From that point forward, Barton continued using the Ronin name while handling events that ranged from Skrull shenanigans to Norman Osborn at the head of the Dark Avengers. It wasn’t until Steve Rogers made a return as Captain America that Barton started using the name Hawkeye once more, though it is interesting to note that he had no issues whatsoever sharing the name with Kate Bishop.
On the whole, Ronin seems like it could be a very suitable name for Barton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One, the footage that has been released suggests that Barton will be more willing to kill, which is in line with that phase. Two, some people have interpreted the footage to mean that Barton has taken Thanos’s snap very hard indeed, which would be in line with that phase as well. It remains to be seen how the change will work out in Avengers: Endgame, but at this point in time, it is looking as though it could have real potential.