‘Echo’: Wilson Fisk Returns in a Big, Bad Way
"It's no coincidence that he arrives just at the moment where she starts to open herself up to her heritage, to her family history, and to the people that love her from her hometown.”
Last we saw Wilson Fisk in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye, Maya Lopez was shooting the character in the face. Maya assumed he was dead. Viewers, too, were led to assume he was dead. So, to the surprise of everyone — including a very shocked Maya — Fisk lives to fight another day in Marvel Studios’ Echo.
But not so fast, Kingpin. Because there’s a new Queenpin in town.
Operating very much in the grey area she has come to inhabit so well, after Maya learns that Fisk is the one responsible for her father’s death, she decides to hit the Fisk criminal empire where it hurts — by knocking out their supplies. And once again, Maya thinks he’s dead and can’t come back to hurt, or haunt, her. This act of aggression is something that’s long been brewing in her, as throughout the series viewers learn just how integral Fisk was to Maya’s upbringing and the choices she’s making today.
So yeah, needless to say Maya’s shocked when the man she thought she killed suddenly shows up at her doorstep.
“In the first half of the show he looms large in her memory, in his influence over her growing up, in his influence over her decisions before she finally attempts to assassinate him,” Executive Producer Brad Winderbaum explains to Marvel.com. “But in the second half, when he does come to Tamaha and confront her, it's no coincidence that he arrives just at the moment where she starts to open herself up to her heritage, to her family history, and to the people that love her from her hometown.”
Viewers have seen Kingpin do all sorts of horrible things before, but as Executive Producer Richie Palmer notes, this is the first time we’re seeing him emote actual feelings for Maya. He’s showing love — even though it’s in his own, warped Kingpin way.
“I don't think we've seen him yet in this role where he was a father figure to Maya,” He says. “There was real love there from a young age for Maya. I think he's a twisted person that didn't know how to maybe do the right things and used her to his advantage along the way. But I think there were real feelings there. And I think that when we saw him last at the end of Hawkeye, he was definitely humbled by Maya with her shooting him in the face and leaving him for dead. “
Throughout the first few episodes of the series, Fisk’s memory looms large for Maya as she tries to move on — and claim what she believes is rightfully her own budding empire. Early in the creative development, the idea was to have Fisk’s memory weave in and out throughout the story, as Palmer notes, before “showing up and really being the villain of our show.”
This means that Vincent D’Onofrio returns to the iconic role, with Winderbaum stating the obvious that he’s a “force of nature with this character.”
“It's a character that is such a fan favorite, and everyone's always eager to see him on screen,” Winderbaum continues. “It was important that he was wielded in just the right way, because when he arrived on screen, it was going to have such an impact on the story that it could have overshadowed everything.”
Not only that, but this is Maya’s story, not Fisk’s. The creative team knew that Maya still needed to be the focal point here, and as Freedman explains, “All that pressure soft of landed on Alaqua Cox to be able to rise and meet the occasion. And she did.”
The shared history (and traumatic) events of these two plays out on screen between Maya and Fisk, and Cox and D’Onofrio. “To have a heavy weight of Vincent's stature, you need to have someone to match him blow for blow,” Freedman continues. “Time and time again, some of my most favorite experiences on set were scenes between Vincent and Alaqua, and them being able to go toe to toe physically, psychologically, emotionally. It was such a welcome challenge for us.”
Cox was more than ready to face off against D’Onofrio again, calling the whole experience amazing. “I did learn so much from him, honestly. From behind the camera, mostly, I would watch him on TV shows and movies for all these years, all the movies he's been in. When we have scenes together, even the intense scenes, I, myself being Alaqua, felt scared of him when he would yell — I could feel his vibrations of his voice because of how loud he was acting. But honestly, off camera, he's one of the nicest men ever. I really loved and appreciated working with him.”
D’Onofrio was more than happy to rise from the dead, and share his wisdom, especially during some of the more emotional scenes between the two, knowing the weight it would carry for viewers. “I just wanted her to understand that she shouldn't ever let anybody feel like she's in a rush. Once we walk on set, and we hit our first marks, that time is ours. I used to talk to her about just forgetting everything else around her. Let your body, let your heart and your stomach, not your head tell you when to begin. That's a nice peaceful place to start. Even if you're playing a frantic character, it's still a nice peaceful place to start.”
No bad deed goes unpunished. Echo is now streaming on Disney+, and available on Hulu until April 9, 2024.
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