Explaining the Hawkeye fan theory that has the internet shouting

Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye in the poster for Disney's Hawkeye
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Now that we've watched a couple of weeks of the Hawkeye show, it's time to talk about the big fan theory that has a certain section of Marvel TV fans a buzzing. While the show has been disappointingly missing Yelena Belova (who appeared in Hawkeye episode 4) this rumor has some tension to its bow-strings.

Spoiler Warning: this piece discusses big plot points of Hawkeye episode 3.

If you haven't heard, some believe that the Kingpin is coming back to Marvel television, and making his first appearance in the MCU proper. And, not to spoil, but Hawkeye episode 5 has us giddy for MCU Phase 4.

Yes, a while after WandaVision teased Fox's Quicksilver coming to the MCU, fans think Netflix's Kingpin is coming. This rumor got even more valid when the news broke that Daredevil (as played by Charlie Cox) is coming to the MCU.

And by our logic, that could make him a key figure in an upcoming Marvel series.

A tease of Marvel's Netflix shows coming to the MCU

Ever since Marvel and Netflix went their separate ways, there's been demand to bring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and (yes, really) Iron Fist) into the MCU. That's right, with the actors who played them on screen.

Trust me on this: I chat with one of the biggest fans of the #SaveDaredevil contingent often, and his passion is real. 

Tom Holland as Peter Parker and a person who may be Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home`

(Image credit: Sony/Disney/Marvel via YouTube)

And while these folks starved for a while, they got a morsel to nibble on in the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home. There, we saw the above moment, where someone, who fans want to believe is Matt Murdock, was putting evidence down in a police station office while Peter Parker was being interrogated. 

Does Parker have a public defender fresh out of Hell's Kitchen? Not in this scene, as the IMAX trailer revealed, but that hasn't reduced the demand from fans who hanker for The Defenders' series characters back in the MCU. This naturally led to conversations that had people figuring out when Marvel would regain the contractual rights to those characters. 

You see, after things went south with Netflix, Marvel had to wait to be able to legally use the characters in TV shows. Josh Wilding at ComicBookMovie figured all the dates out, and they have long since passed us by. Daredevil character rights, which includes Kingpin, have been officially usable by Marvel since November 2020.

Netflix's Kingpin himself teased it

And then on Sept. 14, a day after the first Hawkeye trailer hit, Vincent D'Onofrio tweeted a poem about a dog that made fans wonder if he was talking about Hawkeye's Lucky the Pizza Dog. 

That's less substantial, though, than D'Onofrio's Nov. 17 tweet, where he made sure to be clear that he was talking about Marvel and Disney Plus' Hawkeye show, quote-tweeting a 20-second clip from the show, posted by the Marvel Studios account, saying "This is going to be fun. I love these @Marvel series."

Yes, this isn't even close to confirmation, but direct acknowledgement of this all — when he's no longer publicly known to be playing a role in Marvel's TV world — is suspicious. Maybe he loves fanning the flames of fans' hopes (GamesRadar notes that the actor was liking Tweets that had messages such as "The King returns in Hawkeye"), or maybe he's actually coming through. 

Echo is the big piece of the Kingpin puzzle

But as any Marvel Comics fan will tell you, the reason to believe Kingpin is coming to the MCU is the introduction of Echo/Maya Lopez. Played by Alaqua Cox (and Darnell Besaw for the younger Maya scenes), Echo is the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia thugs that have been fighting Ronin long before Kate Bishop stumbled onto the scene.

Young Echo is told her uncle will take her home after class.

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

In episode 3, as we learn more about Echo, her story and her dialogue hints at someone that we haven't seen that even she is afraid of. There is an “Uncle” according to Kazi, as we learn when he talks with Lopez in the back. 

Presumably the same Uncle that took young Maya home after martial arts class, and is implied to be the shadowy figure that touched her cheek. It definitely isn't her father, William Lopez, who was killed by Ronin in the recent past. And fans think they know who he is.

Kazi talks to Echo about their Uncle

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

In the comics, the Kingpin/Wilson Fisk killed Willie "Crazy Horse" Lincoln (they renamed Maya's father for the show), but before he died, he asked Kingpin to raise Maya. And he did. Kingpin, with his funds, nurtured Maya's talents in ways that her father could not. 

And, so, fans had reason to believe Echo's "uncle" in the MCU was Kingpin. 

But things got even more interesting when Clint Barton told Kate Bishop that there was a "guy at the top, he'll do anything to grow the operation." After Kate asked for more detail, he said "No, there's someone above Maya. Someone you don't want to mess with."

Clint tells Kate Bishop about someone above Echo.

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Of course, the fans caught those references, and that moment between Maya and the unseen force in her childhood.

And so, we wait. How long will it take for Maya's uncle to be revealed. Is it Kingpin? Is it someone else? Could it be Jack Duquesne (who was the villain Swordsman in the comics)? We're all going to find out together.

Marvel Studios broke the news on Disney Plus Day that an Echo series is coming to Disney Plus. Will this be where D'Onofrio gets to flex more of his muscles as Wilson Fisk? Only time will tell.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.