Daredevil Showrunner Compares Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man To Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Vincent D'Onofrio Kingpin with Tony Stark

The many series' that came out of the Marvel TV era are possibly the most controversial elements of the MCU. Marvel's expansive live-action universe took its first foray into the episodic format with 2013's premiere of Agents of SHIELD, an ABC show that centered around a new team of agents led by Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson.

Throughout its seven-season run, the adventures of the team made numerous connections to the wider Marvel universe, including tie-in episodes with many of the movies, and appearances from major characters like Nick Fury and Lady Sif. However, this was always a one-way relationship, as the blockbuster movies never mentioned even the agents' biggest missions. 

But this wasn't the only series to spin out of the extended universe, with other shows like Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, and Agent Carter having very similar relationships with the wider MCU. 

In the pre-Disney+ era, Marvel even struck a deal with Netflix to produce multiple adult-orientated original series' based on four of the comic book giant's darkest heroes, who would eventually team up in The Defenders. Initially, the universe included shows for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, all of whom had their stories continued in follow-up seasons. However, Jon Bernthal's breakout performance as The Punisher in Daredevil season two went on to earn him his own spin-off series. 

However, in 2019 the era of Marvel Television reached a tragic end as the division was merged into Marvel Studios under the control of Kevin Feige, allowing him to create the MCU's blockbuster Disney+ series. As a consequence of this, all of these ongoing projects — that each had their own large cult following — were canceled one-by-one, leading many to question if these characters would ever be seen again.

The series typically most mentioned in relation to this is Daredevil, which starred Charlie Cox in the titular role alongside a cast of well-like side characters, and Vincent D'Onofrio as the villainous mob boss Wilson Fisk, better known as the Kingpin. Many fans have called for these characters to make a return in a future MCU project or a revival of the series on a different platform.


Kingpin Daredevil

In response to a post on Twitter by @TGarv24, Daredevil showrunner Steven De'Knight has described recasting Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of the Kingpin as “impossible.”

The Marvel producer went on to compare replacing D'Onfrio's iconic portrayal to “trying to recast [Robert Downey Jr.] as Tony Stark or [Chris Evans] as Steve Rogers.”

Prior to DeKnight's tweet, the Kingpin actor himself replied to the fan with his agreement, showing his willingness to return in a future MCU project.



Ever since Daredevil reached its premature end in 2018, fans have been calling for Vincent D'Onofrio's mob boss and Charlie Cox's blind defender of New York to make a return in some form. In the same way that Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of Iron Man is universally loved by fans, Cox and D'Onofrio are still considered to be perfect casting by many who see the two as irreplaceable. 

Much like the rest of Marvel TV's projects, Daredevil's three-season run is considered to be canon within the MCU, however, has never been mentioned outside the six Netflix shows. This hardcore group of the Marvel fandom will be happy to hear these comments from those behind the series, as they add hope to the potential the cast could come back to their roles in the future.

Almost all the key stars of the Marvel series have shared their willingness to return to their MCU roles under Kevin Feige's studio, leaving the decision almost entirely up to the producer himself. While Cox, D'Onofiro, and many other actors' portrayals are highly-regarded among fans, some others like Finn Jones' Iron Fist proved to be more controversial.  

Unlike the rest of the MCU, these shows were packed with swearing, brutal violence, and adult content, so all these characters would require some major adjustments to fit the tone of Feige's films and Disney+ series'.

Rumors have continually circulated that Charlie Cox may reprise his role of Daredevil in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which would have huge significance going forward. Not only would this confirm these shows as part of the MCU, but it would also set the stage for the other heroes and villains to return down the line.

Given the mixed quality of the Marvel TV series', the most likely option for the studio would be for them to keep the parts they like, and reboot others. Major heroes like Daredevil could slot nicely into the Avengers line-up and appear in plenty of other projects, while a martial arts fighter like Iron Fist could fit well in a Shang-Chi sequel.

All three seasons of Daredevil are streaming now, only on Netflix.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.