NOTE: This article, originally published December 1, has been updated now that our suspicions have been confirmed
WARNING: Major Spoilers for the third and fifth episode of “Hawkeye” on Disney+
Ok. Ok. Ok. You saw “Hawkeye,” episode 3, and you’re here because you had the same question we had. Was “Uncle” who you thought it was, or not? Well, episode 5 has confirmed it. Yes, Vincent D’Onofrio is back as Wilson Fisk — AKA The Kingpin of Crime. Or, if you’re as excited as we are about his introduction to the Marvel universe, it’s more like “hell yes, Vincent D’Onofrio is back!”
Let’s back up for a second. The third episode of “Hawkeye” begins with the origin story for Maya Lopez, who as we explained, is better known as the superhero Echo — read more about her here. Long story short, we first meet her in 2007 as an elementary school-aged deaf girl with a prosthetic leg who, too poor to attend a school suited to her needs, develops rather impressive observational skills in order to succeed.
Luckily, she has the love and support of her father, who not only speaks sign language with her, but also encourages her to excel in a variety of pursuits. Including martial arts, where her superior observation skills come in handy; obviously this is the “Hawkeye” version of her comic book “photographic reflexes” superpower.
Skip ahead 12 or so years. Maya has grown up, and we see for certain that she survived the snap. Unfortunately, her father was a member of the Tracksuit Mafia, and Maya witnessed his death as part of Ronin’s post-snap killing spree. So now we know that she’s in charge of the Tracksuit mafia because it’s a family business of sorts, and that she wants to find Ronin in order to avenge her father.
But there’s a seemingly throwaway moment during the scenes set in 2007, where in addition to her proud father, we also see she has another benefactor, someone she refers to only as “Uncle.” We never see his face, but we do see that he’s a tall, rather uh, substantial man, he’s wearing a very crisp suit, and we get to hear his rather gravely chuckle as he pinches Maya’s cheeks.
At the time, we were pretty damn sure that was Vincent D’Onofrio chuckling, and that meant we were also pretty damn sure that meant Wilson Fisk, AKA the Kingpin, was definitely going to show up in “Hawkeye” before the show ends later this month. And, with episode 5, we now have hard evidence that he has entered the mix.
In the final moments of the episode, Yelena texts Kate Bishop, informing the archer that she knows who hired her: Eleanor Bishop. Attached is a photo, showing Eleanor meeting with D’Onofrio’s Fisk (this time in his classic white suit from the comics).
You can check it out below:
And in case you’re wondering, yes the closing credit confirm that was indeed Vincent D. There’s a lot to unpack there, in terms of who exactly is working for who and how many strings Kingpin is pulling, but it at least gives us an apparent Big Bad.
And, really, it absolutely makes sense that Kingpin is here. Textually, it’s because in the comics Echo was raised by Kingpin after her father died. Alas, Fisk was the one who killed him — something that is looking to be true once again, based on what Clint told Maya this week — but he told Maya it was his arch enemy, Daredevil who did it, and when she grew up he attempted to use her as a weapon to take Daredevil down. Maya ended up learning the truth, however, turned on Kingpin and ever since has operated as a hero.
There’s another, less direct connection too. On the show, Maya has a close relationship with her number 2 guy, Kazi Kazimierczak (Fra Fee). But in the comic book storyline by Matt Fraction and David Aja that “Hawkeye” is based on, Kazi is the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia, and he was hired by — wait for it — The Kingpin to kill Clint Barton. And on the show, Maya and Kazi both acknowledge that “Uncle” is the real power behind the tracksuit mafia. Follow so far?
Metatextually, the rights to the characters from the Netflix shows that were canceled back in 2019 reverted back to Marvel earlier this year. That made it inevitable that they will end up in real Marvel Cinematic Universe sooner than later.
And those shows were pretty well received — and one could even argue they included fairly definitive portrayals of characters like Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Punisher, and more importantly for this article, Wilson Fisk, AKA the Kingpin of Crime. Under those circumstances, if we were a multinational entertainment conglomerate with a seemingly endless casting budget, we’d probably try and lock down the actors who defined those roles too.
Of course, now that D’Onofrio is locked in, what about those purported “Spider-Man: No Way Home” set pics with Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock? We know you’ve seen them too. We have no idea if they’re real or not and neither do you. But after tonight, we’re leaning hard yes.