Unlike the old days, when fans would scratch their heads over how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could be set in the MCU when the movies never referenced it, Marvel’s Disney Plus TV series are well and truly part of the franchise’s ongoing narrative.
That was made clear out the bat with the way Black Widow called back to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and fed into Hawkeye. Likewise, Hawkeye then featured some crossover with Spider-Man: No Way Home.
For one, there were references to the Statue of Liberty now holding Captain America’s shield, something that we got to see for ourselves in No Way Home, which has its big third act set on the reconstructed statue. Plus, Spider-Man snuck in a fun nod to Hawkeye‘s Rogers: The Musical.
What’s more, the two projects also both included a major returning character from Daredevil. Kingpin came back in Hawkeye and Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock made a cameo in NWH. Interestingly, it’s possible that Wilson Fisk’s return happened first.
While speaking on the D23 Inside Disney podcast, Hawkeye directors Bert & Bertie revealed that they never heard anything about Cox’s comeback while making their series, so they suspect the Spider-Man filmmakers might’ve been inspired to get him on board after discovering Kingpin’s involvement in the Jeremy Renner vehicle.
“We got to see Widow, Black Widow, ahead of its release because of the Yelena storyline,” Bert & Bertie said. “I feel like that kind of influenced us more…I feel like I might be speaking out of turn, but I feel like we influenced Spider-Man. You know what I mean? Spider-Man was watching us, we were watching Widow. I think it was prior to us, because you know, we did hear about things along the way that was going on with the Statue of Liberty, and we didn’t know about the Charlie Cox of it all until later. We didn’t actually see No Way Home, I haven’t seen it yet. It was kind of like a need-to-know basis, so when we needed to know something, someone would be like ‘Oh, by the way, you know, the Statue of Liberty gets a makeover in No Way Home.’ And we’re like ‘Ok, cool! On it!’”
Cox’s role in No Way Home was certainly rumored far earlier than Kingpin’s return in Hawkeye, which indicates his comeback was already in place, but it’s possible that Marvel actually made Murdock’s cameo a reality after the rumors started. We’ll probably never know whether the Disney Plus series did influence NWH in this way, then, as — like the directors remind us — the studio is so secretive. Probably only Kevin Feige can answer that question definitively.
All six episodes of Hawkeye can be streamed on Disney Plus now.