Kingpin made his MCU debut near the end of Hawkeye, with actor Vincent D'Onofrio returning to play the character. D'Onofrio famously portrayed the character in Netflix's Daredevil series from 2016-2018, and with Disney and Marvel Studios now owning the rights to Kingpin, it was only a matter of time before he was brought into the interconnected universe.
Kingpin's presence in Hawkeye was largely behind the scenes, as his character was only mentioned first during the ending of Episode 5 when he was shown on-screen through a phone belonging to Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop. The season finale, however, showcased D'Onofrio in full form, opening with a menacing conversation between himself and Vera Farmiga's Eleanor Bishop and then later showing him in action facing off with Kate.
After his encounter with Kate, Kingpin was last seen being confronted by Alaqua Cox's Maya Lopez. After Maya pulled out a gun and pointed it at the crime boss, the camera panned upward and two gunshots could be heard off-screen, leaving fans questioning whether or not he had been killed.
Many viewers believe that Kingpin still has a large role to play in the MCU's future, seeing as how his death wasn't actually shown in the season finale and due to the introduction of Charlie Cox's Daredevil in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
D'Onofrio himself recently weighed in on what his wishes for the character are and which upcoming project he would want to appear in.
Vincent D'Onofrio on Returning as Kingpin
In a recent interview with Collider, Kingpin actor Vincent D'Onofrio sat down to talk about the Hawkeye finale, specifically the fate of his character and what he hopes for the character's future.
D'Onofrio stated that he doesn't positively know what Marvel Studios' plans for Kingpin are in the future, but he "hope(s) that it will continue" even though he believes Maya "definitely shot him:"
"I can comment personally. I can't comment about any fact because they just don't tell me. So, it made me hope that it would continue and it still makes me feel that way. I mean in my mind, she definitely shot him."
The Kingpin actor went on to talk about what it felt like after portraying the character in Daredevil and how he thought that his time as the character was over "for good:"
"And, I walked away from Daredevil, at first I thought, 'Maybe he'll come back somehow.' And then very quickly after that, I thought I was walking away for good. So I had always hoped because of the fans wanting him back and everybody, I'd hope that I would come back. So I feel the same way now."
D'Onofrio was then asked about the upcoming Echo Disney+ series, which will focus on the character of Maya. The actor stated that "it would be great" for Kingpin to return in that series, and then displayed his own love for the source material, saying that the Echo comic line "was one of (his) favorites:"
"I think it would be great. I remember the comic run. It was one of my favorites, the father-daughter relationship between Maya and him, and I would love the opportunity to do that."
Kingpin's Future in the MCU
Fans who are familiar with the comics will know that the encounter between Maya and Kingpin toward the end of the Hawkeye finale was based on an issue of Daredevil Vol. 2, where Echo shoots Kingpin in the same fashion as she did in the series. However, in the comic, it is revealed that Kingpin lived but was blinded, providing even more evidence for the character's return in the near future.
Vincent D'Onofrio's comments about coming back to the character for the first time since Daredevil should give fans hope, as it is clear he has put a lot of effort into playing a character that he genuinely enjoys. It is important for actors to have a love and respect for whoever they are portraying, especially when that character appears in multiple projects from the same universe.
With D'Onofrio openly and publicly stating that he wants to come back, that could speak volumes to Marvel Studios and reassure it that bringing the character back was the right decision.
If Echo closely follows the comics, then Kingpin will play a large role in the series, more than likely as the main antagonist. With Kingpin being such a popular character to the fans and D'Onofrio's enthusiasm portraying him, it is safe to assume that he will be back in natural form, creating chaos and trying to build his criminal empire in New York City.
All episodes of Hawkeye are streaming now on Disney+.