While Spider-Man: No Way Home is dominating the comic book conversation right now, people must not forget that Marvel Studios still has one more MCU entry to finish off 2021 with. The final episode of Hawkeye is just days away from its debut on Disney+, and fans are still reeling from the world-shaking Daredevil-related reveal in Episode 5's final moments.
Episode 5, titled "Ronin", saw the introduction of Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin) into the MCU. D'Onofrio became beloved by fans after portraying the character in the hit Daredevil Netflix series. After the show was canceled just three seasons into its run though, the actor's future as Fisk came into question.
But it seems Kingpin is back and the man who is bringing him to life could not be happier. However, this transition from Netflix to MCU proper has brought up some serious questions and has people wondering if this is the start of a greater effort to re-canonize those Marvel Netflix characters.
Hawkeye Directors Speak Out on Kingpin Inclusion
According to an interview with Polygon, Hawkeye directing duo Bert & Bertie revealed that Marvel Studios did not require them to "meld" the MCU with the Netflix Marvel shows when introducing Kingpin in Episode 5.
The two mentioned that there was never a "requirement or need to meld Daredevil and Hawkeye:"
"There was never any kind of requirement or need to meld Daredevil and Hawkeye in any way.”
The directing team said that it was "exciting" to see Wilson Fisk "come into the MCU that had previously been separate:"
“That was as exciting to us as it was to the fans, knowing what everyone else would feel."
They made mention of an "extra layer" of excitement afforded by the worlds of the Netflix universe and the MCU colliding:
“It’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, these worlds are now able to meld, and there’s this extra layer that can come into the MCU that had previously been separate."
The two said they crafted their take on Wilson Fisk by taking his past into account, but wanted to focus on "the character story more" as opposed to the universe they come from:
"We deal with the character story more. Rather than dealing with the universe they come from, they step into ours.”
"[Respecting] the character" and "where [he] is in the universe" was a priority for the Hawkeye showrunners, crafting someone that was recognizable to fans but looked at "where the character is" as opposed to relying on "anything in the past:"
“So when Kingpin comes in, he’s massive, you know? He’s huge. As the story goes, he’s later in a more difficult place, but he comes in as his big self, with his big hands. In that picture [at the end of “Ronin”], you see him in his iconic suit. So how to shoot him came from where the character is, rather than us trying to match our universe to anything in the past.”
Wilson Fisk Steps into the MCU
This is a really interesting tact to take for Marvel Studios with these characters, but one that will likely be welcome by many. It allows the creators to honor the legacy of these Netflix characters, without having to focus on 100% of the storytelling baggage that comes with them.
Surely particular threads will come back with Fisk (and any other Marvel Netflix character to make the jump) from their time over from the Big N, but that is up to the writing and directing teams of these MCU projects.
It gives the illusion of this universe feeling so much more lived in. Fans can wonder if the events of Daredevil happened in the Hawkeye version of New York, but the MCU creative team doesn't need to feel like those events have to impact this version of the character.
It's a solution that provides "jump up and gasp" moments for fans, but lets writers and directors pick and choose what bits of the Netflix canon they bring into this universe.
And with the doors for crossovers like this to happen, it will be interesting to see what other characters from outside the MCU proper will appear and what pieces of their personal canon they will bring with them. Could this be a way to introduce actors who played iconic characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes, bringing with them a bit of their history as the character but not everything? Perhaps, but only time will tell on that.
For now though, fans will get even more Kingpin when Episode 6 of Hawkeye hits Disney+ on December 22.