It all began in May 2016 — With Marvel Studios under increasing pressure to tie their films and TV shows closer together, Screengeek released an interesting rumor.
“Marvel Studios is considering having Vincent D’Onofrio reprise his Wilson Fisk role from Daredevil in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming.'”
Fans immediately began to get excited, as the idea seemed to be perfect. Now, with confirmation that we'll see a sequel to #SpiderManHomecoming in 2019, we're hearing rumblings of fan excitement yet again...
Why Fans Like The Idea
Most super-villains tend to be known for going head-to-head with just one superhero — the Green Goblin fights Spider-Man, the Joker always tussles with Batman, and Magneto battles the X-Men. But the Kingpin is an exception to that rule: He's a powerful New York crime boss whose reach transcends the boundaries of Hell's Kitchen. As fans of the 1990s Spider-Man Animated Series will be well aware, the Kingpin is as much a Spider-Man enemy as a Daredevil foe.
Making this rumor even more exciting, various other rumors are suggesting one of the villains in Spider-Man: Homecoming is a mad scientist by the name of Spencer Smythe. Creator of the mechanical Spider-Slayers, Smythe often played second-fiddle to the Kingpin (particularly in aforementioned Animated Series).
Meanwhile, one of the background problems for this kind of move is that TV series typically take a lot less time to make than films do. As a result, a character can often have seen significant progression in the TV shows before the film scripts have even been finalized, let alone filmed. That's one reason we're unlikely to see a massive amount of interaction with the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; by the time the films are finished, the status quo for any member of the cast could have changed utterly.
The Netflix shows, uniquely, don't have this problem. Because Netflix is only filming a certain number of #Marvel shows a year, the Kingpin is unlikely to appear again until 2018 at the earliest. Spider-Man: Homecoming, of course, will air in 2017. So a Netflix tie-in like this would actually be far easier than a tie-in with one of the ABC shows.
Sadly, Here's The Reality
Vincent D'Onofrio himself was the one to debunk the rumor he'd be appearing in Homecoming.
In a later tweet, he went a step further. Asked about the possibility that he'll crop up in the Homecoming sequel, he wasn't exactly optimistic.
So, as excited as fans may be at the idea, this looks distinctly unlikely.
Why Is This the Case?
In an interview with Digital Spy, D'Onofrio explained his logic quite simply.
"I think Kevin Feige explained that, and that's what makes the most sense, he said the film universe is too jam-packed. It's hard enough already, and if they keep bringing big characters in that they have to service in the writing, it's not gonna work. They're trying to figure out already how to individualise more and at the same time keep The Avengers going. It makes sense not to mix the TV stuff, there's just too many characters."
Vincent D'Onofrio is a realist, and he understands that Marvel Studios has so many properties to develop. Phase 3 has been a combination of sequels and new franchise launches, and Phase 4 is sure to follow the same pattern. Marvel can only juggle so many balls at once. A complicating factor is that more people watch the movies than even Marvel's most popular Netflix shows, so, for the vast majority of viewers, any movie appearance would actually be an introduction. Handling a a character's big screen debut in a manner that's consistent with the Netflix shows would be a particularly difficult challenge - and an unnecessary one.
Another key problem here is that Vincent D’Onofrio's Kingpin isn't exactly child-friendly. The Marvel films are always aimed at that PG-13 demographic, and Tom Holland's youthful Spider-Man seems like a bullseye for younger viewers. The Kingpin, however, is a brutal and violent man whose appearances in Daredevil have been strictly R-rated.
On the face of it, that's not much of a problem until you imagine a 13-year-old going away from Spider-Man: Homecoming, wanting to know more about this cameo, and doing a search on YouTube. This 13-year-old is swiftly greeted with clips of Kingpin bashing a guy's head in repeatedly with a car door. And there are lots more violent kills like that. Marvel would have a real problem keeping up their child-friendly reputation in the face of those searches.
What's more, Wilson Fisk is simply too important to be shoehorned in. If his story hasn't progressed since Daredevil, when Spider-Man: Homecoming is released he'll be in prison. If the camera pans to a strange bald guy in prison, perhaps watching Spider-Man on TV, there'd have to be some kind of purpose to the scene. So a process will really begin where the Kingpin's role drifts on to the big screen.
That may not sound like a problem to fans of the #MCU, but we need to remember that Marvel Studios is aiming to make films that are accessible to as many people as possible. As popular as Daredevil may be, a lot more people will be watching Spider-Man: Homecoming — most of whom won't have Netflix, and many who won't be in the kind of age bracket Daredevil is aimed at. Sharing a villain between the Spider-Man films and Marvel Netflix? It's not a smart business move.
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I can understand fan excitement at the idea. Marvel's mantra of "It's all connected" tends to only work one way, and it would be tremendous to see that reversed. But I don't see the Kingpin as the wisest bridge between the films and the TV shows; tonally, he simply doesn't seem to fit.