After a period of rumors and speculation, Hawkeye episode 5 on Disney+ finally confirmed the arrival of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. But what does this mean for the rest of the Marvel Netflix characters and stories?
Kingpin’s arrival was the buzz on social media for quite a while, despite misdirects from Marvel Studios and the cast involved. How did the crew manage to keep it under wraps until the big reveal? Read on for the details below.
WARNING: Contains spoilers from episode 5 of Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Hawkeye’s big bad
For weeks after the first episode of Hawkeye aired on Disney+, questions about who the main bad guy was peppered social media. Although there were those who nonchalantly assumed it would either be Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) or Jacques Duquesne (Tony Dalton), most fans speculated it would be Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime.
The speculation was further fueled by the inclusion of Maya Lopez aka Echo in the story of the Hawkeye series. As comic fans know, the Kingpin served as Echo’s conniving surrogate father, who helped develop her abilities to become a living weapon. Setting up Eleanor Bishop or Jacques Duquesne in that role would have been a letdown.
And if it was going to be Kingpin behind the scenes, fans would not have anyone else playing the role other than Vincent D’Onofrio. The veteran actor’s portrayal in the Marvel Netflix Daredevil series was one of the highlights of the show. Even though the show ended in 2018 after 3 seasons and nearly 4 years ago, D’Onofrio’s nuanced performance remained on the fandom’s lips.
Hope for a revival of D’Onofrio as Kingpin looked bright when Kevin Feige himself confirmed that he was interested in bringing over what he liked from Marvel Netflix to the MCU proper. As the president and chief creative officer of Marvel Studios told the Hollywood Reporter in early 2021:
Everything is on the board. That's one of the fun things about the comics is that characters would appear and disappear and come and go. All of it is inspiration for the future. There are some great characters and actors from those shows.
However, Marvel Studios and Vincent D’Onofrio himself managed to keep rumors at bay. And although there was a supposed leaked image of D’Onofrio’s Kingpin with a more rotund appearance, it proved to be false. As episode 5 "Ronin" of the Hawkeye series showed in the key scene that revealed Kingpin as the mastermind, D’Onofrio looked nearly the same as his previous Netflix appearance, though with a more comic accurate suit and the villain’s signature cane.
When I was a boy... pic.twitter.com/3iRk6OO6c6
— Vincent D'Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) December 15, 2021
But hiding the Kingpin proved to be a daunting task. As the directors, Bert and Bertie shared with Buzzfeed:
The thing about Vincent is he and his doubles would arrive under cloaks because no one could see them. We were filming some things in public places and we had to get them to set. We realized the scale of how important it was to keep it a secret, so we would smuggle them in under black cloaks. Vincent and his doubles too because once you see his double, you would know it's Kingpin.
Still, the effort clearly paid off, as Episode 5 of Hawkeye received the most favorable fan reactions. Kingpin’s arrival even overshadowed the big reveal of Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and what happened to her during the 5-year gap between the Black Widow film and Avengers: Endgame. Clearly, the fandom are happy that their wishes of D’Onofrio triumphantly returning as Wilson Fisk in the MCU have been fulfilled.
And then there’s that Spider-Man: No Way Home cameo
But it does not stop with that Kingpin reveal.
Spider-Man: No Way Home also brought in Kingpin’s nemesis, Matt Murdock aka Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox). Although the role was very brief, Charlie Cox proved he’s more than ready to resume his role as the Man Without Fear. And just like D’Onofrio, Charlie Cox and Marvel Studios denied his participation despite leaked images surfacing months ahead of the film.
Cox’s Matthew Murdock served as legal counsel to Peter Parker (Tom Holland), who had been exposed for his secret identity and blamed for the death of Mysterio. Part of the scene also had Murdock display his abilities of heightened senses in a subtle manner.
But with both Cox’s Matt Murdock and D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk now officially part of the MCU, where does this leave the rest of the Netflix Marvel characters and plots? Are the Murdock and Fisk characters thus far shown the exact same characters from their previous series, with matching experiences? Or are they new versions that do not have their shared histories?
Will the rest of Marvel Netflix soon follow?
Although there are rumors that there are plans to continue the Daredevil series with a fourth season on Disney+, this is unconfirmed. Would it reboot the series mythos? What about the rest of the cast? Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson), Elodie Yung (Elektra), and Scott Glenn (Stick) were all standout performances in the course of the Daredevil series. Would they be making the transition to the MCU proper as well?
And what about the rest of the Marvel Netflix shows? Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the Punisher series all had great casts and storylines. On that note, Iron Fist might not be as lucky, as it received the poorest critical and viewer response (although Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing was a fan-favorite). Given that the Marvel Studios lineup of plans for Phase Four going into 2022 to 2023 are already full, it might be some time before we hear about the rest of the Marvel Netflix transition.
For now, fans are looking forward to the climactic episode 6 of Hawkeye (titled "The Boss"), as the journey of Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) heads for a clash with the Big Man himself. Catch the premiere new episode of Hawkeye Wednesdays on the Disney+ streaming service.