In this exclusive, we chat with Supergirl, Jessica Jones and Cloak and Dagger J. Holtham screenwriter about her latest project in âMarvel Wastelanders: Hawkeyeâ. A Marvel Unlimited podcast starring Clint and Ashley Barton in the Old Man Logan universe.
Talk about a year of Hawkeye! Enter Clint first chapter of the video game last spring in Marvel’s Avengers, its highly anticipated Disney + series on November 24, and now a 10-episode audio drama that releases weekly on Marvel Podcasts Unlimited, Hawkeye has definitely touched the hearts of Marvel fans in 2021.
We had the chance to chat with Jason holtham, writer of Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye Podcast. In this interview, we talk about the Blind Arrow Master himself, Jason’s illustrious career writing about television superheroes, and the importance of the theme of redemption; as we share everything you need to know about Hawkeye, Ash, and the Wastelanders series.
The full interview is featured on our podcast, but below is an abridged transcript.
The Workprint podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
Your career seems pretty impressive! Can you tell us a bit about your journey from writing plays to screenplays and now podcasts?
âAbsolutely! I lived in New York and wrote plays and worked in theaters for a long time. Around 2012, I made the jump to Los Angeles to pursue television and screenwriting and j ended up working on a bunch of Marvel and comic book shows: Cloak and Dagger, Jessica Jones, and most recently Supergirl – which I was a writer on for their final season. Then, yeah, that’s fell on my knees. Marvel had these podcasts and obviously I had a few. This project seemed like a big marriage of my ideas and my material and it all seemed to work.
Although writing for podcasts is definitely a very different medium. There is a very steep learning curve, learning to communicate what was in my brain and in the brains of the audience without being able to see anything visually. The audio team helped me a lot to learn what sounds the brain could understand and what would be distinctive; because someone knocking down an arrow is a lot less distinctive sound than you might think. Get used to telling people what they saw so that they could imagine it was a different experience, coming from the world of performing and television of âshow and donât tellâ, then learn: no. You have to tell them a bit. It was an interesting transition.
For the audience that doesn’t know Old Man Hawkeye, can you tell us a little more about him and the Old Man Logan universe this story takes place in?
âAbsolutely! We’re in the Old Man Logan universe, where the central idea is that 30 years before the series, all the villains in the Marvel Universe banded together and slaughtered all the superheroes on Earth in one. The bandits then divided the country among themselves into small fiefdoms. Hawkeye is one of the last surviving heroes of V-Day, or Victors-Day, when the villains rose up and rewrote history. Hawkeye now lives on. in King Zemo’s estate in the western United States, where the story primarily takes place.
Okay, so from “Supergirl” to “Jessica Jones” to “Cloak and Dagger,” what about the superhero comic book medium you love, especially female superhero writing? strong?
âExcellent question! I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a 10 year old reading New Mutants, so it’s always been a world and a format and kind of storytelling that I found interesting. In fact, it’s one of the first places I learned storytelling, so a lot of my natural inclination for writing goes back to genre storytelling and working with those worlds and characters.
As to why strong female characters? Why not you ? I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to tell a story about strong, interesting and powerful women, especially since we live in such a misogynistic and sexist world. These struggles are primordial and fascinating. And, as a black writer, it’s definitely something that I connect with. This struggle for personality. This struggle to be heard and seen. When I was 10, as one of the few black kids to grow up in a predominantly white suburb, reading the X-men as an outsider and the New Mutants as a teenager meant a lot to me. I just wanted to tell stories that would do that for someone else.
This takes place in a world where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are gone, with the exception of Hawkeye. In this dark future, can you tell us a little bit about him as well as the relationship between Clint and Ashley Barton?
âI mean, their relationship was at the heart of it for me. I was writing this in the midst of the pandemic. In the shadow of the various uprisings of the past year. So, out of all this uproar, the big question that kept spinning in my brain was how, after something terrible happened, do you rebuild? How to remake the world? There is an argument between Ash, Clint, and Bobby in the story about our responsibility to future generations. What does justice really look like? What does it mean to let go of your personal blood feuds to work for something bigger?
You know, Hawkeye is a famous, cold, optimistic, and brilliant character. So it was important to put him in that dark place and then get him out of that place of despair and cynicism. Then you see Ash, who at the very beginning of the series was on the verge of revenge until you saw Clint as his father and Bobbi as his mother, trying not to let Ash go down the path they took. borrowed. There are a lot of things in there, and to break the family cycle. Personally, I relaxed and poured a lot of that into these relationships. “
Here is a funny question. How does blind archery work, and is there something you researched or influenced you about in writing a Blind Hawkeye?
âI’ll tell you now: I didn’t do any research. I made it all up! But of course, there is a glimmer of Daredevil in there with echolocation. We went with the Hawkeye being partially deaf, and therefore have Stark-tech ear implants that might help him. Yes, obviously it’s a bit of a comic, but there’s also something I love about the image of a blind archer. And a blind archer who is good! If there’s anyone who could be, it’s Clint Barton.
What’s the big theme you hope audiences will take away from the show by the end of it?
âRedemption. This redemption comes at a price. That it is important, that it is necessary, but that redemption can be difficultâ¦ it won’t always necessarily look like what you think it will be. I wanted all of these. characters find redemption at the end of the day.
What has been the hardest thing about creating this series in the midst of the pandemic?
âFor me, the hardest part was switching to audio narration. Think about how to communicate what is on my mind to others. Determining the structure was the biggest challenge. The production was complicated, but we were all fairly comfortable with zoom type programs. It also made the casting easy, because the reason we were able to get such an amazing casting was that so many could do it from their homes. It certainly helped, but more importantly, the biggest challenge was just thinking about how to communicate this story to my audience. “
Can you share any tips for anyone looking to become a screenwriter or screenwriter?
âWriting is my default answer. Write a lot. And write about what really matters to you. Write down what you think is important and what matters to you. The thing that will always ring true is the truth. And you have to really get comfortable with that and be really comfortable sharing as much of your genuine truth as you can.
Is that kinda all I got, unless you wanna talk about anything? The process? Time itself?
âLAUGHS. I mean, the thing I liked the most about the process was honestly looking for myself. Once I discovered this setting, I really dug into westerns. My big sort of Touchstone was True Grit. I watched both versions. They are both awesome, different and great. I watched Clint Eastwood movies. I haven’t seen ‘The Assassination of Jessie James by the Cowboy Robert Ford ‘, but I love to say that title, and it had a big influence on the construction of the ringmaster show. It was really the thrill. Learning to play in the sandbox with those kind of archetypes of grainy figures of these Marvel characters.
Soâ¦ I guess westerns were your biggest genre influence?
âIt was the biggest influence of its kind. Just because of that feeling. This monument valley located in the desert feeling. If there’s one genre to tell stories about those grizzled old warriors who are taken out of battle: it’s the western.
Absolutely, I can see it. I love the father-daughter stories of surviving and finding redemption and revenge and the difference between the two. Can you talk about Ash in fact and how her experiences mirror those of her father?
âFor me, Ash is the fulcrum of the beating heart of the story. I really wanted to draw my own teenage angst into her and at this point in a person’s life, what kind of person am I going to be? How do I really see the world and what do I want to pursue? Ash has all these forces deployed around her: Clint, Bobby and all the people in the circus, as she tries to figure it out. There are so many things that depend on the choices Ash is going to make. At the end of the first episode, she wants to kill someone! It’s that question of whether she will pass there, and why, and what effect does it have on her, and what effect does it have on Clint? It is the heart of the whole. And coming back to this question as often as possible to try to answer it was my big goal. “
And that was it! New episodes of Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye broadcast every Monday. It’s been pretty awesome so far and features such great writing, so listen to yourself. Special thanks to Marvel Entertainment and J. Holtham for this great opportunity.