How Daredevil's Kingpin Will Play A Big Role In The Netflix Series

There are still a lot of things we don’t yet know about Netflix’s upcoming Marvel series Daredevil, but each new piece of information is more interesting than the last. From the sound of things, it seems as if this superhero drama will split its focus between Matt Murdock’s red-cowled vigilante and the biggest, baddest villain in Hell’s Kitchen: Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk.

Showrunner and developer Steven S. DeKnight recently spoke with EW about all things Daredevil, and he shared quite a few interesting tidbits, the biggest of which is a pronounced character arc for Kingpin that doesn’t just peg him as a generic mountain of evil. Here’s how DeKnight put it.

This season is about both the rise of the hero and the rise of the villain. Fisk has very many different aspects so it’s not all, ‘I want to conquer the city and make a lot of money.’ In our story, we tell the story of how he met his wife Vanessa and how they fell in love – our antagonist actually has a love story. That’s the love story you’re following, the one you’re invested in, and seeing how that affects him and changes him. I think Vincent [D’Onofrio] just brings such depth to it; his performance is astounding.”

More encouraging words are rarely spoken. A lot of comic book adaptations, both on the big and small screen, end up giving the villain only surface motivations without much going on to back them up. (Especially Marvel villains.) It’s awesome that DeKnight, and screenwriter Drew Goddard, are focused on giving us two sides of a justice-seeking coin, rather than just a game of cat and thinly-delineated mouse. Especially when that mouse has the presence of Vincent D’Onofrio. And the fact that they’re playing up the relationship between him and Vanessa is a lot more exciting than just having him build a criminal army for Daredevil to knock around, which is par for the course these days. We need emotional beats!

Spartacus fans probably won’t be surprised to learn any of this, though, since DeKnight routinely gave the historical Starz series’ antagonists their just due in character development. Will Kingpin be as awesome as John Hannah’s Batiatus? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Even though Kingpin is a ruthless son of a bitch, we shouldn’t expect Spartacus levels of violence being used in his dirty work. DeKnight has stated in the past that despite Netflix allowing this series to be far more violent than any other superhero material on the air, things are only going to be slightly more extreme than Marvel’s other fare.

Fans can expect to find Kingpin giving kissy faces when Daredevil premieres on Netflix in 2015.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.