With the premiere of Luke Cage just weeks away, the anticipation for the next chapter in Netflix and Marvel’s The Defenders saga is growing almost by the hour. The excitement for the new series is an indication of a job well done by Marvel TV as it peeks into to corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe left unexamined by the glossy, family-friendly air of their cinematic counterparts. From our vantage point today, it’s almost difficult to remember how eyebrow raising it was when the gritty direction was first announced in 2014. Back then, it was hard to imagine what a darker tone for the MCU might look like, but then Daredevil premiered and changed the game forever.
Daredevil’s first season was triumphant on multiple levels, not the least of which was the performance of Vincent D’Onofrio (The Magnificent Seven) as Wilson Fisk, a.k.a., Kingpin. The actor nearly stole the entire show with his nuanced performance of New York City’s biggest crime boss, and though he played a minor role in Daredevil's second season, many fans are eager to see him back as a main antagonist.
In a new interview with LRM, D’Onofrio discussed his experience working with Marvel in a positive light, praising the quality of Daredevil and Jeph Loeb’s efforts to bring Marvel and the MCU to television. The actor seemed humbled and honored to be a part of the Marvel TV universe, as well as appreciative to the Marvel approach to creating television:
"Marvel, the company, and especially Jeph Loeb, who runs Marvel Television, he's a clever dude. All those people over there are pretty clever and they love talent. There's no giant commitment for me at Daredevil. Like I didn't have to sign my life away at all. When Jeff tells me there's something coming up and if I'm available, I'll be there. And because it's written so well, I'm going to show up. I'm going to do everything I can because the writing is so good. And then there's a company like Netflix and they're not pressuring you either. They just want good material, good content. They give you money to make good content, so they're not pressuring actors to sign their life away either.... I think that there's this common ground where they say, 'Look, if the material is good are you going to show up?' and I said, 'Definitely'."
It speaks to the amazing quality of both the narrative and production that an actor of D’Onofrio’s caliber would say such wonderful things about his time on the set of Daredevil. But when will he actually be returning to the Defenders universe?
"That I can't answer. I do know, but I can't answer... so take that how you will. Jeph and Charlie (Cox) and Netflix love Kingpin, and so, Kingpin is good for Marvel's television stuff and I think they agree."
From the sound of things, Kingpin’s return to Marvel TV is a sure thing. However, the actor’s answer was very non-specific, which could have implications for how and when Fisk might return. The obvious answer would be that Fisk returns to Daredevil when season 3 makes its premiere, but with everything going on in the Netflix corner of the MCU, it could happen at any time. When last we left the character, he had taken over as boss of his prison where he’d been sent at the end of Daredevil’s first season and assisted Jon Bernthal’s (The Walking Dead) The Punisher’s escape. That certainly caused conflict between the crime lord and Daredevil, so it’s likely he’ll return to that stage at some point soon.
It's also possible that Kingpin is set to make a surprise appearance on Luke Cage when it premieres later this month. We know that Mike Coulter’s (The Good Wife) indestructible hero for hire will be facing off against a crime boss of his own with Mahershala Ali’s (Free State of Jones) Cottonmouth. Fisk’s absence from the streets of Hell’s Kitchen offers a unique opportunity for crime lords to tighten their grips and increase their market shares, which will no doubt ruffle the feathers of Fisk as he serves out his prison sentence. Will Cottonmouth be forced to contend with Kingpin’s wrath as well as Luke Cage’s vengeance?
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. The Defenders and Iron Fist arrive in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, The Punisher and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.