The Disney+ Hawkeye series introduces Lucky the Pizza Dog to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the canine actor even does her own stunts.
Not only did Pizza Dog capture viewers’ hearts in Hawkeye, the canine actor portraying him also did all their own stunts. The show, which folded both Kate Bishop and Kingpin into the MCU, sees the stalwart dog following Kate and Clint Barton as they face off against Echo and the Tracksuit Mafia and the nefarious forces backing them. Pizza Dog, whose actual name is Lucky, made his debut in the pages of the 2013 comic Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction and David Aja.
Hawkeye’s Disney+ series draws heavy influence from the comic arc, which also first introduced the Tracksuit Mafia. While Lucky is a major plot point in both the comic and show, the dogs’ origin stories differ slightly between the printed and live-action versions. In the comics, Lucky actually belonged to the Tracksuit Mafia and saved Clint Barton’s life when they tried to kill him. In turn, Hawkeye saved the dog’s life when he was thrown into traffic by the goons, but Lucky loses an eye in the process. In the show, it’s Kate that saves Pizza Dog from bustling New York City traffic, rescuing and adopting him.
While Lucky is a male dog in Marvel canon, the canine actor chosen to play him was actually a female golden retriever named Jolt. A recent behind-the-scenes video from Marvel offers more insight into Jolt and her time on the project. Working with animals on set is notoriously difficult for film and TV productions, but that apparently wasn’t the case with Jolt when she played Lucky. “Lucky was 100% the real dog at all times,” says Hawkeye’s VFX Supervisor Greg Steele. “We didn’t have a CG stand-in at all for anything she had to do. She was able to pull everything off exactly as we had hoped.” However, while Jolt did all of her own acting, Pizza Dog’s signature missing eye was done entirely through CGI, with the team stacking layers of visual effects to make the two-eyed Jolt into the one-eyed Lucky. Jolt’s video profile concludes by confirming that she does, in fact, love pizza. Check it out below:
There’s no shortage of action set pieces in Hawkeye, and even Jeremy Renner said some scenes were challenging, but none of it was too much for Jolt. Granted, she wasn’t firing trick arrows while jumping off a bridge or brawling with Kingpin. But still, in an age when filmmakers can and oftentimes do just insert computer-generated animals into their scenes instead of dealing with the real thing, it’s almost impressive that Jolt never once had to be swapped out.
Hopefully, Jolt’s Lucky will become a fixture in the MCU, especially since she’s apparently so easy to work with. The series sets up Kate Bishop as the new Hawkeye, and with rumors swirling about a possible Young Avengers project, there are more than enough places Lucky could return. Despite the old adage saying it’s never a good idea to work with children or animals, it seems that, at least when it comes to Pizza Dog and Hawkeye, that’s not always the case.
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