Of the many things that MCU fans have wanted from the Disney+ shows, bringing back actors from the short lived Marvel Netflix run is high on the list. This month, those fans have certainly got their wish: not only is Charlie Cox set to return as Daredevil in the near future, his archnemesis Wilson Fisk has already shown up in Hawkeye and made problems for Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
D’Onofrio was told of his return at the start of the year, and keeping the news secret has been tricky. He and Cox have remained friends since Daredevil’s cancellation, but “Marvel stuff,” as D’Onofrio called it, is something the two actively avoided discussing during their phone calls. “We know about all of the complications with reveals and stuff like that and what we’re contracted to say and not say.” But once the Cox news broke, the two actors immediately talked about it, and not once did D’Onofrio’s own confirmation via Hawkeye ever come up. “But when they showed the phone shot of Kingpin, I immediately called Charlie and we had another two-hour conversation. So we are friends and we do talk about this stuff, but we do it very carefully and in an appropriate way.”
Though the Netflix shows couldn’t really acknowledge the MCU, it hasn’t stopped fans from trying to figure out if those shows can still fit within the canon of the films. For his part, D’Onofrio considers it as “definitely a continuation” and is treating the two Fisks as a single person. “Some dots aren’t possible to connect but most are easy to connect. Kingpin has lost his city a bit,” he explained. “Not completely, but he’s lost some of his kingdom…He wants his city back, he considers it his.” The only real tangible difference between the two seems to be physical in that this Fisk is stronger and can (and very much give) more damage.
So far, a good setup for Fisk’s return, and fans were obviously excited that such a key player was coming back to make trouble for the heroes of New York. And then the Hawkeye finale dropped and caught a lot of fans by surprise.
Revealed as “the Big Guy” who Clint didn’t want to grab the attention of, Fisk has kept Kate’s mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) under his thumb for years. When Eleanor decides to back out of the crime game, he decides it’s best to kill both Bishops and Barton and go back to keeping a low profile. After being beaten by Kate and her plethora of trick arrows, Fisk tries to make a quiet exit, only to be cornered by his ward, Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox). Furious at him for orchestrating the death of her father, Maya points her gun at Fisk, and two gunshots go off as the camera cuts away.
Many fans originally assumed this meant the abrupt end to Wilson Fisk, but D’Onofrio very much talks like he’s still got a future in the MCU, saying that he’s hopeful to come back and will continue to root the character’s actions in his abusive childhood. “Every confrontation that he has, every emotion that he shows, comes through the events and the pain of his childhood,” he said. “The thing that will continue to ground him is that he’s based in an emotional foundation…You can do anything you want with him, but his inner self is that of a child and a monster.”
What’s more, the confrontation between Fisk and Maya is directly from the comics. In 2001’s Daredevil #15, Maya reacted violently to learning that Fisk killed her father and shot him in the eyes, rendering him blind. While Fisk eventually recovered most of his sight thanks to reconstructive surgery, Maya left New York and to go and to find herself. (Sounds like a solid idea for a spinoff, no?) When asked about Maya’s upcoming spinoff, D’Onofrio was naturally evasive, saying he would be down to do it if asked. “ I remember the comic run. It was one of my favourites, the father-daughter relationship between Maya and him…it would be great.”
So yes, Fisk will almost certainly be back to make trouble for New York’s growing number of costumed crimefighters. But for the moment, he just needs to rest his eyes and really plan his next move.
Marvel’s Hawkeye is available now on Disney+.