It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Marvel. Ideally, we should all be salivating to the thought of a raccoon and a tree becoming space-besties while a chorus of men softly Ooga Chaka in the background. Instead we’ve spent that time suffering through Edgar Wright withdrawal as Marvel asked out and was roundly rejected by a string of comedy directors before settling for Peyton Reed. Hey, he’s not my first choice, but he’ll do.
That’s all in the past now. Because while Ant-Man is slated for a 2015 release, people seem to forget that Daredevil is set to hit Netflix the same year. And while Daredevil (or Marvel’s Daredevil, as it’s being referred to in the official literature) is still in the casting phases, it’s not nearly as disappointing as Ant-Man has suddenly become.
Case in point: Vincent D’Onofrio is now the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Kingpin.
If you’ve read the comics, played the video games, or have a few latent memories of the last time Ben Affleck squeezed himself into spandex, you probably have some recognition of who the Kingpin is. And if not, here’s everything you need to know, crammed into two sentences.
Wilson Fisk (aka The Kingpin, or The Kingpin of Crime) first debuted in 1967, and quickly became one of the most popular villains in Marvel Comics. As the head of New York City’s criminal underbelly and a man as extremely wide as he is extremely tall, the Kingpin is a regular nemesis of The Punisher, Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Marvel’s really outdone themselves here, because D’Onofrio is pretty much the perfect Kingpin. Allow me to explain why:
Vincent D’Onofrio is a Great Big Man
In Marvel Comics, the Kingpin possesses a physique that human beings simply cannot obtain. He can vary from a head taller to twice as tall as Spider-Man, and is roughly one Spider-Man wide. Yet the Kingpin is both morbidly obese and a perfect physical specimen, as evidenced by his multiple chins that counterbalance the bulging, veined muscles hidden within his XXXXXXL suits. If that guy exists in real life, he’s probably been taxidermied and assigned a spot in a Ripley’s somewhere.
Last time around, Daredevil went with Michael Clarke Duncan, who’s about as close to The Kingpin as a human could be. He had height and width, and could rock a circus tent-sized suit while still being super-ripped underneath. Sadly, Duncan had but one chin, but other than that, he was ideal and far and away the best part of the original Daredevil film.
D’Onofrio is just an inch shorter than Duncan — six foot four to Duncan’s six foot five — and while he’s not build like a 1970’s Arnold, he’s still a fairly wide fellow. And on a 6’4” frame, that’s about the best anyone can do.
Vincent D’Onofrio is in a Constant State of Screaming
D’Onofrio’s career has been built on the backs of dangerous, mentally unsound characters. What’s your favorite D’Onofrio role? Is it the violent, unstable Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent? The violent, unstable Private Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket? The violent, unstable space roach in Men in Black?And it’s all but certain that at some point in Jurassic World, he will descend into a rage spiral and punch a Dromaeosaurus in the forehead.
Yet every D’Onofrio crazy is its own unique crazy (also an extremely memorable and expertly-acted crazy), and Daredevil is sure to be the same. D’Onofrio might not have Duncan-sized guns to display on those rare moments when he sheds the suit and gets to punching, but he will have the same Kingpin-sized anger.
Vincent D’Onofrio Is Already Part of the Marvel Family
The tone of a comic book movie is a tricky thing- it’s dark and dramatic, but must also be the same kind of colorful fantasy that has entertained children for nearly a century. D’Onofrio’s got this balance down pat, as he was originally the studio’s first choice to play the God of Thunder. Check out the test footage below.
Seriously though, the Kingpin will likely be the lynchpin (that whooshing noise you just heard was the sound of a bad pun, narrowly avoided) of Marvel’s big Netflix strategy. Wilson Fisk is one of the biggest (whooooosh) villains in all of Marvel Comics, and while he’s mostly Daredevil’s dude, the remaining three Netflix heroes don’t have a lot of villain to spare. Between the three of them — Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones — there’s a creepy purple rapist and a guy so good at alchemy he alchemied his own foot off. Not much more. There has to be some kind of big, overarching threat for The Defenders, and our best guess is the great-grandaddy of all street-level Marvel villains.
And plus, now that Marvel’s got D’Onofrio on board, it’ll be easier to shoo him into Thor 4 when Chris Hemsworth’s contract runs out.