Hawkeye’s Vincent D’Onofrio Explains MCU Kingpin’s Daredevil Connections

Major spoilers for the Hawkeye finale, “So This Is Christmas?,” lie ahead, so read at your own risk. 

The final episode of Hawkeye finally arrived this week, and it, appropriately, put a nice bow on a series that’s been an awesome Christmas present from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As explained in our analysis, the installment is filled with plenty of action and heart and even provided a sweet twist that has big implications for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, it also finally gifted fans with the formal return of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin, following Episode 5’s big reveal. Some likely have questions regarding how the character’s role in the show connects to his past exploits. But thankfully, the actor himself has now provided an explanation for the MCU Big Bad’s links to Netflix’s Daredevil.

Wilson Fisk was last seen being escorted to prison at the end of the Netflix show’s series finale. When he shows up in Clint Barton’s show, he’s established as the head of the New York-based Tracksuit Mafia. Many fans have long debated whether Marvel Television’s Defenders-centric shows are actually MCU canon and, given Fisk’s new status, some may assume this is a “variant” of the antagonist. However, when I spoke with Vincent D’Onofrio, he provided a clear answer as to whether this is the exact antagonist from the original series:

It’s the same character. Yeah, I mean, the way that we saw it on Hawkeye, or [what] I ended up believing, is that there are [as] many dots connected as we can possibly connect, and some are just impossible to connect. But I think… it's the same as a lot of the MCU stuff that's done, that [Marvel Studios head] Kevin [Feige] does, and all the incredible filmmakers, you know, they try to connect to the original stuff as much as they can. … But then there's dots that can't be connected. And I think we tried to do the same thing with connecting Daredevil to… or Hawkeye to Daredevil and Daredevil to Hawkeye. You know, it's like that.

So worry not, fans, this version of New York’s biggest crime boss is meant to be the same one you first met back in 2015. There definitely have been a few alterations made to the character, such as his physical durability (a signature attribute from the comics). However, it would seem as though the actor’s actual approach to the role of Wilson Fisk has not changed:

I mean, obviously, my character in Hawkeye is physically stronger and can take a lot more physical abuse. But my approach to him is exactly the same approach that I did on Daredevil. He is an emotional human being, he is a child and a monster simultaneously. The same things that are going on inside me when I'm playing the character, the events that I use, whether the joyful ones or sad ones or frustrating ones or angry ones, the events that I use from my life are the same ones that I used in Daredevil that I used to portray Fisk. So it's connected, for sure. In my mind, for sure.

This week’s episode alone proved that the beloved actor hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to portraying the iconic bad guy. Kingpin still has the same dangerous temper and manipulative demeanor that made him a massive problem for the Man Without Fear. 

The comic book behemoth is also a bit more power-hungry now within the world of Hawkeye, and as Vincent D’Onofrio explained, there’s actually a specific reason for this within his MCU arc:

It was always established to me that it's after the Blip and that he has lost the power that he had in Daredevil, and he wants it back. … In Hawkeye, he considers that he's lost a bit of the control of his city, and he wants his city back.

That mission may have just become a bit more difficult, though. In one of the finale’s biggest moments, Wilson Fisk gets confronted by Maya Lopez, who has learned that the crime boss had her father killed. Maya points a gun at him and, though she does pull the trigger and the gunshots are heard, viewers don’t actually see Fisk get shot. Some fans are already theorizing that, just like in the comics, Lopez shot him in the eyes, rendering him blind. It would be a bold creative choice and one that would make things even more interesting if or when he crosses paths with Daredevil (confirmed to be played by Charlie Cox) again.

Regardless of what becomes of him, it’s a safe bet that this won’t be the last time Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk appears. There’s an entire cinematic universe for him to play in now, and Marvel Studios is sure to use him in some very fun ways. 

All episodes of Hawkeye are now available to stream on Disney+.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.