This post contains spoilers for Echo.
Not so long ago, a bright and insightful writer at the venerable pop culture site Den of Geek noted that the Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk could fill a gaping hole in the MCU. At the end of the fifth and final episode of Echo, that prediction looks even more sound.
Echo builds to a strange climax, in which Maya Lopez aka Echo gains indistinct superpowers (a nod to her comic book counterpart, the current host of the Phoenix Force?) and spreads them to her sister and grandmother to help them fight off Fisk and his men. But instead of punching Fisk into submission or shooting him in the face again, as she did at the end of Hawkeye, Maya performs something of a mind-meld on her adopted uncle.
The move forces him to relive his memories as a boy, listening to his father beat his mother. As Vincent D’Onofrio takes his giant baby approach to playing Fisk to its furthest extreme, Maya appears in his memory. She urges him to let go of his anger and hurt.
“What did you do?” bellows Fisk when the vision ends, a question that we viewers share. Unfortunately, the episode provides no answer. But it does point to something else in its final moments, just before the credits roll.
On a plane back to New York, Fisk clicks on the television to hear two news analysts discuss the city’s ongoing mayoral race. In a stroke of luck more unbelievable than the talking raccoons and reality-changing space gloves, Fisk unmutes the television just as the analysts reveal that voters want a fighting outsider for a candidate. The camera pushes onto Fisk’s face as he formulates a new plan.
Comic book readers know exactly where this is going. In 2018’s Daredevil #595 — written by Charles Soule, drawn by Stefano Landini, colored by Matt Milla, and lettered by Clayton Cowles — Fisk wins the New York City election. Fisk’s turn toward legitimacy creates a problem for Daredevil, who cannot find a way to defeat his old enemy, not even in his secret identity as lawyer Matt Murdock. Worse, during the Devil’s Reign storyline — written by Chip Zdarsky, drawn by Marco Checchetto, colored by Marcio Menyz, and lettered by Cowles — Fisk outlaws all superheroes in New York City, the center of superhero activity in the Marvel Universe.
At this point, it’s too early to say exactly how the MCU will adapt the Mayor Fisk and Devil’s Reign storylines. While New York has played an important part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it hasn’t quite been the center like its comic book counterpart. Furthermore, high-stakes movies such as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame have struggled to properly use street level heroes such as Spider-Man and Hawkeye.
However, with Fisk in the Mayor’s office, the MCU can get the big storylines it prefers while better integrating characters who don’t can’t create new realities with a snap of their fingers. Certainly, the upcoming tv series Daredevil: Born Again will deal with Fisk’s new role in the city. But as Mayor, Fisk provides an opportunity for Marvel to bring in more of its street-level heroes. Jon Bernthal will reprise his role as the Punisher Frank Castle in Born Again, but Kingpin would also serve as a threat for Spider-Man (Fisk’s first enemy in the comics, after all), Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Moon Knight.
By elevating Fisk to a legitimate position, Marvel can give these characters the attention they deserve.