• Vincent D’Onofrio’s return as Kingpin in Echo has raised concerns about the MCU’s new viewer experience, as some have questioned whether they need to watch Daredevil to understand his story.
  • Watching the Marvel Netflix shows is not necessary to understand characters like Kingpin in Echo.
  • Marvel has shown that it knows how to handle characters with prior content and has taken steps to introduce them without requiring extensive viewing.



Vincent D’Onofrio’s popular version of Kingpin recently re-emerged in the latest MCU show, Echo, and reignited some long-held fan concerns surrounding the character entering the franchise. Kingpin’s on-screen return has been largely celebrated, especially as he and Daredevil’s teased story gives a good indication of how Marvel might be approaching street-level stories going forward. However, the Marvel villain’s reappearance on the small screen has also caused some anxiety about the scope of the MCU and how that might impact new viewers. More specifically, it has once again raised the question of how informed a viewer has to be before watching Echo or upcoming MCU releases featuring the character.

The MCU timeline has been steadily growing for years. In the lead-up to the first Avengers film, there were only five Marvel movies spread out across three years that informed the events of the crossover. This number has steadily grown as more characters get introduced and characters are now being introduced both in movies and in Disney+ projects. However, while these might seem like major concerns for anyone just trying to jump into the MCU, it’s important to note that Marvel has taken steps to address these issues.


Daredevil’s Complete MCU Timeline Explained

Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock has now made several appearances as Daredevil in the MCU, and his previous exploits on Netflix may also be MCU canon.

Kingpin’s Return Reignites Concerns Of The MCU’s New Viewer Experience

A close-up of Kingpin with his eye patch in Echo

Vincent D’Onofrio’s version of Kingpin was first introduced in Netflix’s Daredevil back in 2015. The show ran for three seasons, each about 12 hours long. As one of the series’ major antagonists, the show fleshed out a lot of Kingpin’s backstory, some of which is alluded to in Echo. At first glance, Echo referencing Kingpin’s backstory in Daredevil could give the impression that any fans wanting to follow along would need to go watch the nearly 39 hours of Daredevil just to understand this five-episode special presentation.

This concern was only further supported by Disney+ adding Daredevil and the other Marvel Netflix shows to the MCU timeline on the app. This made it seem to some as though the shows were now required viewing for future projects, or at least shows starring the characters from them. However, now that Echo is out, it is very clear that this isn’t the case. In fact, fans who invest a lot of time watching the Netflix shows to prepare for series like Echo may even be doing themselves something of a disservice.

It’s Unlikely The Marvel Netflix Shows Will Ever Be Required Viewing

The Defenders with Elektra and Colleen Wing in Netflix Marvel Television shows

As of right now, only Charlie Cox’s Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin have crossed over from the Netflix shows to the MCU. From the appearances made so far, it seems clear that Marvel is not banking on anyone having watched the original shows to understand these characters. While there are some references to the show in Echo – notably Kingpin saying his father “was killed” in the first episode – understanding that reference right away isn’t essential for enjoying Echo. Though knowing more about the character certainly adds texture, the show is still enjoyable without knowing his full history.

Additionally, watching the Marvel Netflix shows and expecting them to be canon might not be the best idea. As of now, they still aren’t officially canon, and major plot elements like the death of Kingpin’s father appear set to be explained to audiences in the MCU timeline itself. It seems like Marvel enjoys having the Marvel Netflix shows in the nebulous in-between zone they are in now, so they can pick and choose which parts of them are canon and which aren’t.

For example, fans loved Daredevil, but if the MCU wanted to recast Danny Rand due to how unpopular Iron Fist was, keeping the shows non-canon is the perfect way to do that. This also means anyone watching the full Daredevil series might just end up disappointed if some of their favorite bits don’t end up becoming included in Kingpin or Matt Murdock’s MCU future.

The MCU Has Already Proved It Knows How To Handle Characters With Lots Of Prior Content

Monica Rambeau, Carol Danvers, and Kamala Khan join forces in The Marvels

Recently, this same misconception over required viewing cropped up with The Marvels. There was a popular sentiment that in order to understand the movie, one would have to watch Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, WandaVision, and Secret Invasion just to follow the movie. Similarly to Echo, while watching these might add some additional context, the film did a fine job establishing the three main heroes, their powers, and even Kamala’s family during the scene where they all switch places. Not only did they properly introduce the characters, they did so efficiently in a film with a very short runtime for a Marvel movie.

With Echo, Marvel also introduced the new Marvel Spotlight banner. This is Marvel’s new way of signaling that, while a show is in the MCU, it functions as a standalone project with no required viewing. This will hopefully help avoid future misfires like WandaVision being required viewing for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to understand why Wanda wanted to find her children in other universes. Though that is an example of Marvel dropping the ball, it seems to be the exception, not the rule. Echo proves that Marvel has been taking steps to introduce characters like Kingpin to audiences without the need to see everything they have appeared in before.

Echo TV Show Poster

Marvel’s Echo

Release Date
January 9, 2024

Chaske Spencer , Zahn McClarnon , Graham Greene , Alaqua Cox , Cody Lightning , Charlie Cox , Tantoo Cardinal , Devery Jacobs , Vincent D’Onofrio

Amy Rardin , Marion Dayre

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+ , Hulu

Sydney Freeland

Key Release Dates

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