The first two episodes of Hawkeye have arrived. The charming Christmas-set superhero show is nothing short of delightful. For what feels like your standard holiday fare, the debut episodes do a fair amount to set up a lead-in to a new superhero team in the MCU. We’ve been waiting for the arrival of the West Coast Avengers for a while. With WandaVision, the MCU began to set up the conflicts that would lead to their arrival. But in Hawkeye, we get more than simple allusions with the introduction of two major West Coast Avengers heroes. So who were they? What does it mean for Hawkeye? And when might the West Coast Avengers appear?
Greer Grant Nelson, a.k.a. Tigra
In her killer present day introduction, we see Kate demolishing a clock tower at college. But as she embarks on the ill-fated bet, she isn’t alone. In fact, she’s joined by a friend whose name shows very prominently on her caller ID. Greer (Nichele Lambert) doesn’t seem to play a huge role but the name will be recognizable to Marvel fans. Greer Grant Nelson is the alter-ego of Tigra. Alongside Clint Barton’s Hawkeye, Tigra was a founding member of the West Coast Avengers. While this might just seem like a little nod to the comics, we know it’s actually Greer because her creator, Roy Thomas, gets a special thanks in the credits.
First introduced in The Cat #1 (1972) and then later as Tigra in Giant-Size Creatures #1, Tigra has a wild backstory. As the Cat, Greer gained enhanced abilities from a superhuman science experiment. Then, as Tigra, she gained her cat-like mutation in an effort to save her life by a mysterious race of cat people. Using her superpowers, she faced down against the Super Skrulls—timely and relevant—as well as teaming up with Spidey and the Fantastic Four. But she’s most famous as a member of the West Coast Avengers. Invited immediately to the new LA-based group by Hawkeye, she became a key figure. And if the West Coast Avengers are coming to the MCU, we’d expect to see Greer with them. Making her Kate’s friend is really smart as the MCU version of the team seems more likely to be started by Kate than Clint.
Famed Actress—and MCU Kate’s aunt—Moira Brandon
While Greer is a great deep cut reference, we noted a more obvious connection to the West Coast Avengers in the first two episodes of Hawkeye. Clint and Kate connect during her stint as Ronin, and they need a hideout. After heading to her place and being burned out by the Tracksuit Mafia, Kate suggests her aunt’s place. But it turns out her aunt is none other than Moira Brandon. Though the name might not immediately jump out unless you’re well versed in the West Coast Avengers, she is a key part of their origin. In the comics, it’s Moira Brandon who sold her massive Rancho Palos Verdes estate to the newly founded team. And she’s not related to Kate in the Marvel stories either.
So the MCU adding her here feels significant. Could MCU Moira also donate some of her acting wealth to a burgeoning team led by her niece?
Will the West Coast Avengers Appear in the MCU?
Yes, we think so! While it was always likely with the events of WandaVision, which echoed the era preceding the West Coast Avengers forming, now that Moira and Greer are canon in the MCU it’s probably happening sooner rather than later. The Marvel Cinematic Universe already has the founding member of the West Coast Avengers taking center stage right now. Hawkeye was the leader of the team following the split of the original Avengers. But we doubt that it will be Clint taking on that role here. In fact, the Hawkeye show is already taking from Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s comic which saw Kate relocate to Los Angeles. So if she’s headed there, we’ll bet that it’s her Hawkeye who takes on the role of founder. But when will that happen? After all, Hawkeye is set on the East Coast.
When Will the West Coast Avengers Join the MCU?
Earlier this year rumors swirled that Armor Wars might introduce the West Coast Avengers. And that could make a lot of sense. Why? Well in the comics, Rhodey is the West Coast Avengers’ Iron Man… But we think that the Disney+ MCU series have been seeding them for a while. Hawkeye continues that trend, so the TV shows could be the soft launch for the team. There’s a chance we could learn about Moira’s West Coast estate during Hawkeye, setting up the eventual establishment of the team. We already have White Vision and Scarlet Witch, as well as two potential Hawkeyes who could join them.
This season of Hawkeye could end with Kate heading to Los Angeles, which would put one of our heroes on the West Coast at least. It’ll also be interesting to see how Greer plays into the series. Was this just a nice nod to a friend of Hawkeye? A little extra cash for creator Roy Thomas? Or does it have more significance? We know she is the same Greer from the comics, so could she become an ally to Kate and perhaps head to LA with her at the end of the season? We’ll have to wait and see! But we think post Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home, we’ll have a better idea of when a new Avengers team will hit our screens.