Did Hawkeye Just Kill [SPOILER]? An Investigation

Warning: major spoilers ahead for the "Hawkeye" finale. Proceed with caution.

It's been a big week, Marvel fans. Not only is "Spider-Man: No Way Home" finally in theaters, but the "Hawkeye" finale has dropped on Disney+, bringing forth several major conflicts that have been built up for weeks now. Yes, Clint and Yelena had it out, as did Kate and her Mom. But at long last, Kingpin, aka Wilson Fisk, has re-entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe after asserting himself as one of the best Marvel villains to date in Netflix's "Daredevil." Unfortunately, it seems that may have been short-lived. Or was it?

As anyone who has seen the finale is surely well aware, Kingpin found himself on the wrong end of Kate Bishop's trick arrows, and Maya's thirst for vengeance. But now we must ask the question, is Kingpin really dead? At the moment, we have no concrete answer one way or the other, but let's talk this whole thing out and see what we can make of it.

What Happened to Kingpin In Hawkeye

To briefly recap, the episode sees Maya break away from her life of crime as the head of the Tracksuit Mafia. Leaving a life of crime behind isn't easy, especially when a major, powerful figure such as Kingpin, once again played by Vincent D'Onofrio, is at the top of the food chain. But Maya does what she needs to do, even going so far as to kill (or seeming kill) her best friend Kazi (Fra Fee) in order to get away from all of this.

To that point, Maya didn't stop there. Kingpin has it out with Kate and her mother Eleanor in an attempt to clean up loose ends. At first, Mr. Fisk demonstrates his brute strength and dispatches Kate with little effort, despite being shot in the chest with an arrow point-blank. Things get a little trickier for him when Eleanor runs him through a storefront with her car. Kate then uses a trick arrow to trap him in the store, and they duke it out. Eventually, and rather amazingly, Kate gets the best of the ruthless killer we came to know in "Daredevil," thanks largely to some trick arrows.

Badly wounded, Kingpin is later seen wandering down an alleyway when a van pulls up, and none other than Maya steps out. At first, Kingpin seems relieved, figuring she is going to help him out. Then Maya pulls out a gun, much to his dismay, pointing it right near his face. Fisk says: "Maya. You and I. We're family. Family. Sometimes family doesn't see eye to eye..." And that's about the end of that. The camera pans up, we hear gunshots, and there is an implication that Kingpin was killed by his adopted niece. 

Cue the sounds of the collective Marvel fandom who had been dying to see Kingpin return screaming "what the f***!" at the same time.

A History of Fake-Out-Deaths In the MCU

Look, if we weren't in a comic book universe where two (admittedly skilled) archers without superpowers could take out 100 guys without even coming that close to dying, this would be a different conversation. But we do live in that world and, as Hawkeye so eloquently put it in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" several years back, "The city is flying, we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense." Having established that we live in that universe, it is entirely possible that Kingpin is still alive, though surely injured gravely.

Let us not forget that the MCU has a major history with fake-out deaths, dating back to its earliest days. Loki seemingly died in "Thor: The Dark World" but, surprise! He tricked us and, even after his real death in "Avengers: Infinity War," he managed to be alive enough to have his own show. Captain America seemingly laid down his life in "The First Avenger" only to come back to life 70 years later after spending all of that time as a Capsicle.

Phil Coulson "died" in "The Aveners" but was then brought back to life for a great many seasons of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Bucky kinda died but then came back as The Winter Solider. Nick Fury was shot and seemingly killed by The Winter Soldier in "The Winter Soldier" but, guess what? He lived! Groot didn't really die at the end of "Guardians of the Galaxy." Even Vision, who was absolutely killed by Thanos, came back for "WandaVision." And let's not forget that half the population in the universe was wiped out in "Infinity War," only for every single one of them to come back in "Endgame."

The point is, unless we truly see the body, there is a lot of room for doubt. And in some cases even if we do see the body it's not that cut and dry. We didn't see Kingpin's body. We didn't see where the bullet went. We don't truly know what happened once the camera pulled away. He very much could still be alive.

The Comic Book History

Outside of the MCU, there is some comic book history to back up this moment. In the storyline "Parts of a Hole," Maya and Kingpin have a shockingly similar square-off. Though not in an alleyway, Maya points a gun right at her Wilson's face and blasts away. However, as is so often the case with major characters in the pages of comic books, he didn't die. The gunshot does blind Mr. Fisk though, which is obviously a huge turn for the character. 

The incident in question comes from "Daredevil" #15 written by David Mack and illustrated by Joe Quesada. Published in 2001, it would seem that, 20 years later, the MCU used this moment to inspire the on-screen confrontation between Maya and her so-called uncle. But the turnout in the world of Marvel Comics only lends more credence to the idea that Wilson Fisk is not dead.

It Would Be a Waste

Aside from the evidence at hand that points in either direction, let's look at this from a pragmatic point of view. Why on Earth, after all that build-up, would the brass at Marvel Studios let such a great villain be killed so unceremoniously off-screen like that? Practically speaking, it makes zero sense and would surely go down as one of the most unpopular major decisions to come about within the MCU in a very, very long time.

The fact of the matter is, the MCU only recently started to acknowledge the existence of the Netflix shows at all, with Kingpin showing up here and a certain someone also showing up somewhere else important recently. That being the case, it would be downright lunacy for them to just waste Kingpin like that, especially with the limitless potential his presence could provide to the MCU in the future. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is one of the most successful producers in the history of Hollywood and he's proved time and time again that he is good at anticipating what people want to see. For my money, he's smarter than this.

It just seems to me that the deck is only now just being stacked. Why kill Kingpin when you could use this as an opportunity to piss him off and make him an even more evil, vengeful presence in the MCU's version of New York City? He could cross paths with Spider-Man down the line. He could reunite with Daredevil potentially. There is too much on the table to take it all off the table this soon, in this way. Nothing further, your honor.

"Hawkeye" is now streaming on Disney+.