How Marvel Kept The Hawkeye Villain Secret From Everyone, Including The Crew

Marvel Studios really likes their secrets — and judging by how intensely MCU fans worry about spoilers, so does everyone else. This penchant for secrecy has become one of the studios' greatest superpowers. In the age of the internet, it's gotten pretty difficult to keep casting surprises and even plot developments under wraps, especially when it comes to enormous films with hundreds of crew members involved. And somehow, we (mostly) manage to enter the latest superhero flick with a trove of surprises awaiting us on the other end. And as long as you're in the company of respectful moviegoers, there's an unspoken agreement that we'll all wait until the time is right to openly discuss major surprises like [REDACTED] in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." 

But what exactly makes all this possible? Stories from the set of the "Hawkeye" series give us a glimpse at the process. 

Beware, spoilers for season 1 of Hawkeye will follow.

The Secret-Keeping Studio

Based on reports from various Marvel cast and crew members, the studio goes to great lengths to preserve its many secrets. They pretty much do everything short of tranquilizing stars, bringing them to a super-secret location for filming, and knocking them out once the day is over. As far as we know, anyway. Some of their methods are pretty pedestrian when it comes to franchise spoilers, like keeping the main team small and letting some details be on a need-to-know basis. Other more extreme methods include drafting dummy scenes, not giving actors the full script, and according to one "Eternals" star, not letting them keep their scripts. Lauren Ridloff cited a man in a trenchcoat knocking on her door at 11:00 at night with a manila envelope filled with script pages. Ya know, typical movie-making stuff.

These extreme precautions might be because the studio has gotten burned in the past, usually in the most hilarious way possible — like Tom Holland awkwardly saying more than he should about an upcoming Spider-Man movie. Or Mark Ruffalo accidentally live streaming "Thor: Ragnorak" on Instagram. Or Tom Holland saying too much about an upcoming Avengers movie. Or Mark Ruffalo literally explaining the ending of "Infinity War" ahead of its release. But Marvel secrecy has never been reserved for these repeat offenders alone, as it seems like most cast/crew members are kept in the dark for as long as possible. 

Dummy scenes and fake scripts are often used to cause confusion and keep major developments buried — sometimes making a funeral appear as a wedding or keeping a character's appearance a secret by presenting them as someone else. "Hawkeye" costumer designer Michael Crow recently revealed that he wasn't aware of Vincent D'onofrio's Kingpin return until halfway through filming the series. The "Daredevil" actor made his non-Netflix MCU debut as the Big Bad at the end of the series, so how did Crow manage to get Kingpin's floral button-up ready in time? Under a very tight deadline, apparently. Crow told Insider:

"I think in the original script it was scripted as another character. Like something from the [Matt] Fraction [Hawkeye] comic books, but not Kingpin. I started asking questions about what we wanted to do, how do we wanna approach it? And I got an immediate phone call back from Trinh Tran [Marvel Studios Producer]. And she just said: 'We'll talk about that a little bit later. We're not ready to talk about that yet, but it's not gonna be that [the character from the script]. It's a big secret.'"

After finding out about D'Onofrio's return as Wilson Fisk, Crow and his team had about two months to create his costumes and the fittings were done remotely. Crow added:

"We did a lot of long-distance fittings because [D'Onofrio} was working on another show in New York at the time. I didn't see him until the very last minute and I mean, he is truly a lovely gentleman. A pleasure to work with."

Maybe Crow should've kept his eye on Twitter, where fans were airing out conspiracy theories about the possibility of D'Onofrio's return in "Hawkeye." The Marvel star himself was adding fuel to the flames, but none of that dampened the fun of finally seeing Kingpin return to our screens. Good thing for all that secrecy, huh?