Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton in Hawkeye

Hawkeye's Big Villain Has Finally Arrived — Here's What That Could Mean

I knew we couldn't trust Eleanor.

by Ani Bundel
Mary Cybulski/Marvel Studios

Since the premiere of Hawkeye, the series has been a slow burn of climbing the ranks of the underworld ladder. Clint Barton and Kate Bishop’s original foes were the Tracksuit Mafia. Then they moved up the ranks to the attentions of Maya and Kazi. But these are not the gang leaders; they have a boss above them, known only as Uncle. But with only one more episode to go, Uncle finally has them in his sights, as Kate learns who runs New York City: Kingpin. Here’s what Kingpin’s arrival could mean for Hawkeye and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future.

Warning: Spoilers for Hawkeye Episode 5 follow. Ever since Hawkeye introduced “Uncle” as the ultimate power in NYC, fans have been wondering how the series would handle the character’s debut. However, the issue wasn’t about the character. The problem was that “Uncle” already exists on streaming — he’s Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, the main antagonist in Netflix’s Daredevil, part of Marvel’s now-canceled Defenders franchise. Daredevil was the most popular of the six series, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s take on Fisk was definitive. However, technically, these series weren’t part of the MCU or Marvel Studios; the now-defunct Marvel TV produced them.

But most viewers don’t care about that. (It was hard enough to explain the Venom and Spider-Man films were two different studios, to the point where the MCU gave up and let Tom Holland cameo in the Venom post-credits scene.) So, rather than recast, the MCU has kept D’Onofrio as Kingpin, revealing him in Episode 5’s final moments to be in cahoots with Kate’s mother, Eleanor.

Marvel Studios

Viewers long suspected Eleanor Bishop wasn’t the innocent party Kate believed her to be. The series originally threw suspicion at her fiancé, Jack Duquesne, but Eleanor’s overly quick removal of him to appease Kate in Episode 5 was just another red flag about who was really in charge. When Yelena texted a video to Kate of Eleanor and Kingpin meeting, it wasn’t really that surprising. The only shocker was they were the ones behind Countess Val hiring Yelena at the end of Black Widow to take out Clint Barton.

For the immediate story in Hawkeye, the battle lines are clear. Kate has to accept that her mother’s financing of their lives after Kate’s father passed was via ill-gotten gains. Clint has to deal with the reality that Wilson Fisk has marked him for murder and may end up sacrificing himself to protect Laura and the kids.

Marvel Studios

But the real story is the enormous implications for the MCU. First of all, if D’Onofrio’s Fisk is canon, then all of Daredevil is now umbrellaed under the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. That aligns with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s recent quote saying that if Daredevil were to ever appear in the MCU, Netflix star Charlie Cox would continue in the role. But if Cox is canon, that also means Jon Bernthal’s Punisher, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Mike Coulter’s Luke Cage, and Finn Jones’ Iron Fist are too.

Second, if Fisk is directing Countess Val, that makes him a potential major power player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Val’s been out there recruiting away for someone; if that someone is Fisk, his arrival in Hawkeye is only the beginning of a much larger problem for whoever takes up the Avengers’ mantles.

Hawkeye’s finale episode arrives Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021. The first five episodes are streaming on Disney+, as is Black Widow. Marvel’s Defenders series remain on Netflix.

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