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There was a lot happening in the penultimate episode of Hawkeye, and many strands of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were tied together. Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) didn’t go anywhere after she showed up last week, and thankfully stuck around to provide us with a very memorable scene with Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
Yelena and Kate’s conversation lit a fuse, and the episode culminated in a landmark event for the MCU. It was definitely something that fans wanted. We wanted it. Everyone wanted it. Our mothers wanted it and they don't even own televisions. We didn’t want to hope too much for it, but the evidence kept piling up. Our hopes were rewarded. Oh, dream of dreams!
***WARNING: From this point forward, there will be major spoilers for Episode 5 of Hawkeye. If you have not watched yet, then shoot a grapple arrow and swing out of here immediately.***
Welcome to the MCU proper, Wilson Fisk, and welcome back to the MCU acting repertory, Vincent D’Onofrio! The episode confirmed that the big bad that everyone is working for is in fact Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk, and it is still Vincent D’Onofrio in the role. He has not been recast. Though we only hear Clint say "Kingpin" and see a fuzzy text photo, Mr. D'Onofrio's name features prominently in the end credits.
This is a huge MCU moment. It is the first time that a character from the Netflix Marvel shows has transitioned fully into an MCU property that is fully canon, with no YouTube canonicity debates required to make the case about how it all really does fit together. The Daredevil series talked about major MCU events, but it remained somewhat separate. The movies (and interconnected Disney+ streaming shows) have never mentioned Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or anyone else from Netflix.
Until now — because D’Onofrio’s Kingpin is in the mix for real. Technically, the Netflix side of things was connected to the MCU, but as we’ve said, it was always a one-way street. We loved D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, and as much as we loved seeing him fight Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), we wanted to see him fight Spider-Man, too. The dream of Tom Holland going up against D’Onofrio felt impossible, but... now we guess it wasn't?
It's clear Hawkeye had been building up to this all along. The inclusion of Maya “Echo” Lopez, who is directly tied to Fisk in the comics, was a sign. The mysterious “Uncle” who kept being mentioned was another sign. Leaked set photos of a big man in a white suit on the Hawkeye set were another big sign, but we didn’t look at those, nobody did, we’re all upstanding citizens.
In Episode 5 alone it was clear that Yelena didn’t truly know who hired her. She was recruited by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) but someone else hired Val. Clint repeatedly mentions being worried about a “big guy” stepping in, someone who would not be happy about Clint’s one-man murder spree on crime. That happened before all of the MCU multiverse madness began, so Kingpin has most likely been in the background this entire time.
It all added up to Wilson Fisk, and Yelena is the one who sends the incriminating photo to Kate at the end of the episode. Fisk is also working with Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) who technically was the one who put the hit out, so that’s not good for anyone. What is good is that this is a big indication that all of the amazing actors and characters from the Netflix Marvel shows could live on. They (probably) won’t be recast. They will not go down with their respective series, they will join the MCU, and not in a vague “it’s all connected” kind of way.
Of everyone from the Netflix array, Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock are the ones that fans want to cross over the most. Both Vincent D’Onofrio and Charlie Cox nail their respective roles, and it’s hard to imagine anyone replacing them so soon, or anyone doing a better job. We won’t have to imagine that, at least not as far as Wilson Fisk is concerned. He’s here, he’s real, and he’s spectacular. Kingpin is one of the biggest villains in Marvel Comics, and he proved to be an unstoppable force on Netflix. Who knows what havoc the nasty Mr. Fisk will bring to the MCU proper? If he wouldn't mind saying "Vanessa" at least once, that would make all of this even better.
Now… what was all that noise about everyone wanting Charlie Cox to appear as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home?
Hawkeye streams on Disney+ every Wednesday.