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Kingpin actor Vincent D'Onofrio answers (and avoids) our burning Hawkeye questions

Kingpin in Hawkeye
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

The King is back on his throne in Hawkeye. Yes, Vincent D’Onofrio has returned as Kingpin for the first time since a three-season stint as part of Netflix’s Daredevil series.

Those who have seen the Hawkeye ending through to the end, however, will know that the comeback wasn’t exactly a triumphant one for Wilson Fisk. As we left New York for the holidays, the finale left us with more questions than answers – and the crime boss’ fate up in the air.

We sat down with D’Onofrio after the finale aired to talk about all things Kingpin, from that finale scene, to how this Kingpin is different to the one seen in Daredevil. We even asked about his jaunty hat. No spoilery stone was left unturned, even if Marvel’s trademark approach to keeping secrets was very much in effect here.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and accuracy. Spoilers for Hawkeye follow.

Hawkeye

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

How and when were you first approached about reprising your role?

The beginning of the year. Kevin [Feige] called me and asked me if I’d be into joining the MCU and this show that they were about to start at some point called Hawkeye.

From your perspective, how is this Kingpin different to the one we saw in Daredevil? In the finale he seems even more physically imposing and able to take damage.

His physical strength is definitely different. It’s bigger and some might say better. More like the comics.

Marvel fans want to know what this means for Daredevil in terms of canon. Is Hawkeye a continuation of that universe? Or maybe it’s something like a soft reboot? How was it described to you?

They’re trying their best to keep Daredevil as part of the canon. Hawkeye is part of the canon of what we did at Daredevil.

It’s not always going to be 100 per cent. There’s a lot of connecting the dots which Marvel is really good at. There’s certain things we can and can’t [do], especially if we make changes to his strength like we have.

I’m approaching it as if it’s after the Blip, everybody’s returned, and it’s the same emotionally and character-wise. I play him exactly the way he was in Daredevil.

I want to talk about the final scene you had with Maya. Did you feel like that was the logical end point for that relationship?

If the fans know the history of Maya and Fisk, that scene makes a lot of sense. If you don’t know the history between those two, it makes sense within the episode. She finds out that, if not himself, he had something to do with the murder of her father and this is how she feels about it.

It works in the scene. It’s clearly a very good scene. Before she shoots me, you see the emotion in the both of us. Hopefully you can tell there is that history, even if you don’t know it actually existed in the old runs of the comics.

The golden rule in television is if you don’t see a body, there’s a chance a character could come back. Was this pitched to you as a one-and-done thing or do you think there’s enough scope for some wiggle room for a return somehow?

It’s common knowledge these days that we just don’t know [what will happen next]. I could ask you the same question, you could come up with a more imaginative answer! [laughs]

Hawkeye

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

I do want to throw one fan theory that’s been swirling around social media at you. That comes from Maya’s first comic book appearance, with a very similar scene where she shoots Wilson Fisk. Instead of dying, he ends up blind.

Playing that blinded Kingpin who has lost everything would be a mirror of Daredevil – would playing that version of Kingpin be an interesting challenge?

I have read that in the research I originally did for Daredevil. I think I read most of every run Kingpin was in. I’ve always thought the relationship between Maya and Kingpin was very cool – the whole father/daughter taking her under his wing sort of thing. I thought all those runs were fantastic.

I don’t know how I feel about the question you asked, about him being the blind Fisk. I’ve never really put any thought into it, I’d have to think about that longer.

I remember it being a really cool comic. As far as it’s connected to what we did? I have no idea.

One big question I want to ask: did you have any say over Kingpin’s clothing?

I had a lot to do with it, so I hope people like it.

We have this incredible history, right? Like they always do with these Marvel shows, they have this incredible history that’s printed out in comic books and they’re all in costume.

Especially with Fisk, he has a large palette of different ways we can go with him. There's so many that we talk about, especially at this point in his life when he's not quite as powerful as he was in at the time of Daredevil.

I do have something to do with that because they're very collaborative over at Marvel. I have to say, it’s really fun to work with them because they are very open and collaborative.

How did you keep things a secret? I know there were some whispers and things, but I always hear about fake scripts and keeping people in hooded cloaks on set. What was it like for you?

It’s all new. I wore a cloak on set. It just felt like Darth Vader walking around or Death makes a movie with this black cloak and black hood. But it’s all part of the fun.

It’s actually good fun to try to keep secrets like this. There’s a lot of them. The good thing about having Kevin as the boss is he makes it so we know very little. We really don’t have to make stuff up. I actually know very little and that’s fine.


Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney Plus. For more on what’s to come in 2022, check out our guide to new Marvel TV shows.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.