Echo , the limited series that focused on Kingpin’s badass deaf lieutenant Maya Lopez — who shot the big bad at the end of Hawkeye — brought back villain Vincent D’onofrio once again. But at the end of this story, King Pin may be a very different person than before. What that basically means is that his future appearances, whether in a Disney+ series or an MCU movie, could essentially present a new version of the character.
However, for that to happen, Marvel will have to follow through on what they set out to do, something the MCU hasn’t done as of late. Worse, though, is that the franchise is currently undergoing some kind of overhaul after a year of disappointment and a career failure for newly exiled franchise lead Jonathan Majors. In that regard, Echo seems like an afterthought that Marvel threw onto Disney+ and Hulu with little fanfare just because it was something they made and so they might as well use it.
But there are other factors at play – the biggest franchise in Hollywood history seems to have a lot of moving parts. To really understand the situation, we need to talk about spoilers.
Warning: The rest of this post will discuss the ending of Echo in detail, including the middle scene. Spoiler ahead!
Echo peak is a bit strange. After Maya makes some power moves against Kingpin’s organization, the man himself shows up alive and well in Oklahoma to try to convince her that he still thinks of her as family so she’ll come back to the fold. But he refuses, and so Kingpin gathers his men and prepares to attack the local Pow Wow, which is basically a fair in Choctaw County.
But we don’t really get any sort of major action sequences. Maya and Kingpin have their showdown in a barn away from the festivities and don’t really fight much. Instead, Maya uses the power of her ancestors to alter Kingpin’s memory and remove from his mind the hammer he used to kill his father as a child – after previously giving him the real hammer as a gift.
We don’t yet know exactly how this changes him as a person, but something has to be different – he screams, “What have you done?” In Maya over and over as her henchmen drag her away. And then later, during the mid-credits scene, we see an emotional Sultan listening to a radio report about how New York’s mayor was elected with no clear favorite. Obviously, he will run for mayor. Or at least that’s what this scene tells us.
The problem, however, is that the MCU apparently has no sequel at this point. For years now, he’s been introducing things and then leaving them without addressing them (like Shang Chi, Eternals, and Moon Night), or releasing stories in the wrong order and removing any context that brought them into the picture. It means big (like a spider). -Man: No Way Home/Doctor Strange 2 and Secret Invasion/The Marvels). The inclusion of Kingpin himself in the Hawkeye finale, when he was revealed as the surprise secret villain behind the real villain, felt like a last-second pivot to something else — and Marvel loves to make major story changes during reshoots.
So I have two questions. Will D’Onofrio’s Kingpin appear in a major role in the future? And if he does, will it really be any different as a result of what Maya did?
If a new Daredevil series actually happens, and we probably shouldn’t assume it will at this point since the entire MCU slate has been pushed back or put on hold since Deadpool 3, you’d have to think the Kingpin would show up. Anything else the MCU takes place in New York could also result in her appearing as a cameo, but her presence wouldn’t essentially be meaningful as a flavor text for the franchise. And if he’s basically the same person when we see him again, it’s not only going to be very annoying, but it challenges the whole exercise of him being on the show. However, if Disney thinks that the more familiar version will go over better than the new version, there’s a good chance it will happen.
I’d love for D’Onofrio’s Kingpin to become a key figure in the MCU, and maybe that’s what Echo is setting up. I just don’t see any reason to think they’ll do much with him. Maybe they do and maybe they don’t want to. I doubt even Marvel Studios really knows with any significant degree of certainty.
Call me a cynic if you want, but I saw the MCU’s current crisis a mile away – me Written On top And Once again about the unconscious toll that all these irrelevant and pointless stories take on fan enthusiasm in the long run. Obviously, with the MCU winding down this year, they’re going to make some changes. But that doesn’t mean they’re making the right changes, or that they’ll be any better at shared universe storytelling after this semi-hiatus. Hopefully this new take on the Kingpin isn’t just another MCU story thread that gets lost along the way — Marvel already has enough beds in which it refuses to sleep.