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Spoilers ahead for Hawkeye and Black Widow.

In the show Hawkeye, Yelena told Kate Bishop that Eleanor Bishop hired her to kill Hawkeye, but we did see in Black Widow in the after credits scene Valentina showing her Hawkeye photo and telling her it is her next target.

Why did she say it is her mother who sent her?

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    I don't have any evidence for this, so not an answer, but I believe Eleanor takes out the hit with Kingpin and then Valentina accepts the contract and passes it onto Yelena to perform. Yelena doesn't say Eleanor sent her only that she is the one who took the hit out.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Mar 24, 2022 at 13:21
  • The text message said "Kate Bishop, I found out who hired me. Eleanor Bishop. Thought you deserved to know"
    – Mocas
    Mar 24, 2022 at 13:33
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    sometimes powerful people go through middle-persons to accomplish their goals. It's quite possible that Bishop contacted Valentina to get the job done, and Yelena simply tracked the hit request all the way back to the real source.
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 24, 2022 at 15:25

2 Answers 2

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It may be the result of a lack of communication compounded with enforced secrecy.

In Black Widow’s mid-credits scene, Yelena, the breakout character played by Florence Pugh, was put on the trail of Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye, teeing up multi-episode arc on the Renner-fronted Disney+ show that began this week.

When Marvel added that scene, the Hawkeye team was already writing Yelena into their show after head writer Jonathan Igla lobbied to include her in the series. One day, Igla got word from Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige that Black Widow would include a post-credit scene leading into Hawkeye, but he had to keep that to himself to preserve the secret as long as possible.

TL;DR, they'd already written much of the script for Hawkeye when Igla found out that Yelena would have a mid-credits scene with Valentina in Black Widow, they didn't have details on what that would involve, and Igla felt they couldn't even relay that the scene would happen without risking revealing spoilers, so there wound up being a disjoint.

There are, of course, fan theories, including the idea that Yelena is either fibbing a bit about who hired her, or this is all part of Valentina's machinations to get Kate, as "the next Hawkeye" onto her team as she has John Walker ("the next Captain America" at one point) and Yelena ("the next Black Widow").

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As you mention in your comment, Helena’s text message tells Kate that Yelena “found out” who hired her.

As such, Eleanor didn’t hire Yelena directly. (Which makes sense: assassins are at risk of being captured and interrogated, so when you hire one, you don’t want them to be able to implicate you. (I imagine.))

We see Eleanor making a phone call to an unidentified person before Yelena shows up. As Eleanor is, it turns out, a well-connected member of the criminal underworld, she was probably calling Val to order the hit on Clint.

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