Vincent D’Onofrio Explains Kingpin In Hawkeye | Comic Years
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Vincent D’Onofrio Explains Kingpin In Hawkeye As The ‘Same Character’

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BY December 27, 2021

Fans of the Netflix and Marvel show Daredevil are having a great Christmas. Not only did a certain blind attorney appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home, his nemesis the dreaded Wilson Fisk showed up in the Hawkeye Disney+ series. Of course, the nebulous nature of Marvel TV has fans wondering what this means. For example, once a part of the MCU by the Agents of SHIELD series finale, they were clearly in their own corner of the multiverse. Luckily for us, actor Vincent D’Onofrio explains Kingpin in Hawkeye and the MCU at large. Of course, much of what he says is his own interpretation of working on the various sets. So, don’t take this as the official Marvel Studios position. In fact, they might be purposely leaving this question open to give their storytellers the utmost freedom.

The Kingpin in Hawkeye and Daredevil are fundamentally the same person. At least, that’s how Vincent D’Onofrio explains his approach to the character. One key clue fans might have noticed is that his father’s cufflink, a key plot point from Daredevil unique to the series, is seen during the Hawkeye season finale. Does this mean that every single thing from Daredevil season 1 on Netflix to that series finale is MCU canon? No, not really. It just shows that there are still plenty of similarities between this character’s story and that one’s. Ultimately, I think where we’ll land depends on the stories they want to tell. A showrunner or director may not want to be tied to the continuity of the series in their new project. Still, the smallest continuity inconsistency also doesn’t mean that Daredevil is out the window with Legion and Helstrom.

But let’s hear it from the man himself.

How Vincent D’Onofrio Explains Kingpin In Hawkeye Is More Personal Than Official

Vincent D'Onofrio Explains Kingpin In Hawkeye Hat Image via Disney+

In any interview you see with the former Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, D’Onofrio frequently talks about how the Marvel folks don’t tell him “anything.” In another interview, embedded below, he says that he likes it that way. Mostly for keeping secrets, but also because it allows him to focus on his work playing the character rather than worried about Marvel worldbuilding. So when Vincent D’Onofrio explains Kingpin in Hawkeye, he’s talking about his approach to the character and nothing more. If you want something more, wait for Kevin Feige, Louis Esposito, Victoria Alonso, or any other members of the Marvel Studios braintrust to weigh in.

D’Onofrio notes that his character seems to be physically stronger and tougher since Daredevil. (Though he did take some beatings and decapitate a guy with a car door in the Netflix show, so not that much stronger.) He also says that Kevin Feige and the rest of the executives do want to connect the character to his previous iteration. D’Onofrio offered no specifics, but that cuff link is likely an example of what he means.

As he told Cinemablend.com:

“It’s the same character, yeah. I mean, the way that we saw it on Hawkeye…is that there are as many dots connected as we can possibly connect. And some are just impossible to connect. …I think we tried to do the same with connecting Daredevil to…Hawkeye…. He’s an emotional human being. He is a child and a monster simultaneously…. So, it’s connected, for sure. In my mind, for sure.”

Kingpin in Jail Daredevil Netflix Image by David Giesbrecht via Netflix

He also goes on to say that since it’s after the Avengers: Endgame ‘Blip,’ Kingpin has also been affected by this. We don’t know if he was blipped or not, but he does say that the producers told him that Kingpin has fallen from grace. In the end of the Daredevil series, Kingpin does end up behind bars. Yet, he’s still incredibly powerful and in control of the criminal underworld in New York. This actually makes sense given the Ronin storyline. If Kingpin was locked up, or at least keeping his distance, his lieutenants could have been decimated by Barton. Still, always on the hunt for an opportunity, Kingpin actually sends Ronin to kill his servants that have displeased him.

The way Vincent D’Onfrio explains his process, Kingpin still has all of the emotional turmoil he had in the previous show. So, the Kingpin in Hawkeye is both the same character as before but one who has been changed by the events of the MCU. If (more like, “when”) he comes back, we may get more clues about how this version of the character marries up with the one we got to know before.

Vincent D’Onofrio Explains Kingpin Like an Actor, Not a Fan

Vincent D'Onofrio explains Kingpin in Hawkeye Hawaiian Shirt Image via Disney+

D’Onofrio and the rest of the Netflix MCU actors are surely fans of the universe and their specific projects. That said, their approach to understanding these characters is based on their experiences as an actor. D’Onofrio may have created a deep emotional backstory for his character in order to project his rage and menace. Yet, when his story is explored finally, that might be different than where D’Onofrio thought the story was going. So, it’s mostly clear to me that his Kingpin is the same whether he’s acting in Daredevil, Hawkeye, or some future project.

Still, we fans love to dissect and debate these things. In fact, this is why I personally hope they never really make it clear the canonicity of the Netflix shows. One downside of such an expansive and meticulously crafted universe is that there is little left for fans to debate. So, it’s unclear if the #SaveDaredevil movement gets to claim a full victory or not. Either way, we can all be very happy that both Charlie Cox is back as Matt Murdock and Vincent D’Onofrio is back as Kingpin.

You can watch Kingpin in Hawkeye, currently streaming on Disney+.

What do you think? Are you satisfied with the way Vincent D’Onofrio explains Kingpin in Hawkeye? Do you think Daredevil is MCU “canon” or not? Share your thoughts, theories, and hopes for the future of this character in the comments below.

Featured image via Disney+

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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