The following story contains spoilers for Hawkeye Episode 3, “Echoes.”
The fact that the Marvel Studios releases its series on Disney+ on a week-to-week basis, rather than dropping all the episodes at once (a la Netflix) just makes sense. Just think back to WandaVision, the MCU’s first live-action series on Disney+ that appropriately kicked 2021 off with a bang. That series started strong and grew a deliberate buzz during its 8 weeks of airing that couldn’t be replicated with an all-at-once drop. But if a Marvel show is doing its job, weeks between episodes also leads to quite a lot of speculation. Sometimes like with the rampant Mephisto theories around WandaVision, it leads nowhere. Other times, like with the Kang the Conqueror speculation around Loki, it proves fruitful. In the early going of Hawkeye, it seems to be strongly leaning toward the latter, as the series will almost certainly mark the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduction (well, kind of) of Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, one of the notable villains in Marvel history.
We can have the Mephisto conversation over and over and over again, and quite frankly I don’t really feel like having it. So we won’t. But we’ll say this: the hints that Kingpin will play a part in Hawkeye are clearly present; it’s not reaching at all to see something in the handful of clues shown in Episode 3, “Echoes,” alone.
First and foremost, Kingpin historically plays a key role in Echo’s origin story (more on that in a little), so there’s that. But even on-screen in this episode the hints that Wilson Fisk is operating quietly are there.
Maya Lopez/Echo’s “Uncle” is almost certainly Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. First, in the episode’s flashback, we see Maya’s father, William Lopez, tell her that “Uncle” will take her home; this is followed by the sound of thunderous steps, and we only see a hand in a suit jacket cradle young Maya’s face. Kingpin is a gigantic human being, almost exclusively seen in a fancy suit. This is clearly our first hint.
Episode 3 continues the teases, as Kazi (who will later be known as The Clown, who deafens Clint in Matt Fraction’s comic run) says later in the episode (after he and Maya/Echo had a confrontation with Kate and Clint) “I just hope Uncle won’t find out,” referencing that the power and influence of the man we briefly saw earlier has only grown.
The episode features one final hint about who we presume will be Hawkeye’s big bad (and could have an even larger role in the future of the MCU): Clint knows who it is. In a chat near the end of the episode, he makes it clear that he knows Maya’s not in charge. “There’s someone above Maya,” he says. “Someone you don’t want to mess with.”
One more unspoken hint: the facility where an earlier iteration of the tracksuit mafia is operating out of is called “Fat Man Auto Repairs.” Any other context, maybe we could chalk this up as an innocuous name. Here? It’s got to be a reference to Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin.
You see what we mean when we’re talking about reaching and reading; these are legitimate foreshadowing pieces, and Marvel fans who know of the Kingpin should be quick to catch on. After all, he’s one of Marvel’s most famous villains, and one we’ve seen on both the big and small screen before.
So, who is Kingpin, or Wilson Fisk, again?
Wilson Fisk, also known as The Kingpin, is one of the most famous and best-known villains in the history of Marvel Comics and its various film and television adaptations. First introduced in July 1967’s The Amazing Spider-Man #50. His nickname—Kingpin—refers to his status within the crime world; he’s one of the most formidable, powerful, and overall feared crime lords in the entire world. His signature look finds him in a large white suit jacket and walking with a cane; this isn’t because he needs assistance walking, but as a status symbol. And when we say he’s huge, we mean he is huge: the Marvel Comics website lists him at 6’7” and 450 pounds.
While he was introduced as a villain of Spider-Man, he’s been a foe of many of the New York-based ground-level Marvel heroes. He’s considered Daredevil’s arch nemesis, and has also faced off with The Punisher and his stepdaughter, Echo.
As you sensed with his giant footsteps in Episode 3 of Hawkeye, Kingpin is always depicted as a gigantic, gigantic man. While he’s mocked by many as being obese, he’s actually not—he’s a muscular, built man and a talented fighter. In 2009, IGN named Kingpin the #10 Comic Book villain of all time.
The Kingpin has been depicted on-screen many times before. The first time the Kingpin ever appeared in live-action was in the made-for-TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, where he was played by John Rhys-Davies (also known for his role as Gimli in the Lord of the Rings films). If you’re not familiar with this one, don’t feel bad—it was intended to spawn a Daredevil series (it didn’t), and is mostly remembered for being the first Marvel property to feature a Stan Lee cameo.
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Kingpin was also the main villain in the 2003 Daredevil movie, with the late Michael Clarke Duncan in the role. This movie is mostly considered a miss, but Clarke Duncan did a good job of capturing the strength and brutality of the character.
Vincent D’Onofrio played Wilson Fisk/Kingpin in the Netflix Daredevil series; it’s technically part of the MCU, but none of the Netflix Marvel series have ever properly been canonized in the rest of the universe. D’Onofrio’s performance was widely praised.
Kingpin was also the primary villain in the Oscar-winning 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this time voiced by Liev Schreiber. This depiction did a good job of really showing just how utterly enormous Fisk is (it’s easier to do that with animation, granted).
We don’t know for sure who will play Kingpin in Hawkeye, but Vincent D’Onofrio tweeted about the Hawkeye show in mid-November, quote-tweeting a new trailer. “This is going to be fun,” he wrote. “I love these @Marvel series.”
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Kingpin is directly involved with Echo/Maya Lopez’s origin story.
In the Marvel Comics, Maya Lopez’s father is killed when she’s young by the Kingpin; as he dies, he leaves a bloody handprint on Maya’s face and has one final request: that Fisk raises his daughter as his own.
Fisk takes this task on, raising Maya and eventually learning that she’s deaf (and not mentally disabled, as previously believed), getting her into a gifted school and eventually discovering her abilities to fight and mimic other people’s fighting abilities (hence the name Echo). Eventually, Fisk sends Echo to spy on Daredevil/Matt Murdock; long story short, Echo ends up falling for Murdock and turning on her stepfather, eventually even shooting him in the face (blinding him, but not killing him).
The show is clearly following this origin but changing it slightly. Rather than Fisk being Maya’s stepfather, he’s her “Uncle” (or maybe that’s his code name now, since Kazi calls him that as well). And rather than Fisk killing Maya’s father, it’s Clint as Ronin who did that.
We can’t wait to see how the rest of this—and Kingpin’s new official MCU origin— shakes out.
Evan is an associate editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE.
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