Hawkeye's latest episode, "Ronin", just dropped a major bombshell, confirming the return of a hugely popular Marvel villain and one that fans have been desperate to see in the MCU since it began.
Warning: spoilers for Hawkeye alongside potential future spoilers for the wider MCU as a whole (particularly Spider-Man: No Way Home)
Following last week's episode, and the unexpected reveal of Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Hawkeye episode five once again threw up a massive twist, however, this time it gave us a double whammy upon its final few seconds. Not only was it confirmed that Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) has hired Belova to assassinate Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), but the person who she is working with is the one and only Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin.
Not just any Kingpin either. No, the MCU has decided to do the impossible and bring back Vincent D'Onofrio's much-beloved interpretation of the villain from Netflix's Daredevil series, something that was previously deemed as non-canon. In actual fact, the hints have been there for weeks, whether that be the mysterious "Uncle" connected to Echo, D'Onofrio sending a tease to social media or the massive Spider-Man: No Way Home leak that happened at the start of November.
With Kingpin now back, it's fair to assume that Charlie Cox's Daredevil won't be far behind. I'm seeing Spider-Man tonight and wouldn't be shocked if Matt Murdock shows up in some form. Already fans are certain that the character's return is imminent after a lawyer comes to the rescue of Peter Parker in the first teaser for No Way Home.
The interesting question going forward is: what does this mean for the rest of the Netflix superheroes? Luke Cage. The Punisher. Iron Fist. Jessica Jones (please, Marvel!). Should we expect all of them to come back? And does this actually make their previous adventures canon to the MCU? Or are these simply the same actors playing the same characters but without the baggage of the Netflix TV shows? We need answers.
As Kingpin appears to be pulling the strings behind the scenes in Hawkeye, we're likely to find out more next week. Regardless of what this all turns out to be, it's just fantastic to see D'Onofrio back in the role. It's important to remember that Marvel villains we're lacking for the most part (aside from Loki) before the actor's memorable performance. Alongside Daredevil, Kingpin is also a major Spider-Man villain in the comics, so the possibility of seeing him go up against Tom Holland's web-slinger is extremely exciting in itself.
The finale of Hawkeye will premiere on December 22nd exclusively across Disney Plus. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: No Way Home launches in UK cinemas today before debuting in the US on December 17th.