- This is one formidable foe.
Hawkeye episode three was a big introduction for a new key character – Maya Lopez, aka deaf martial artist Echo, soon set to have her own series on Disney Plus but for now battling Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) as Hawkeye continues.
Screen newcomer Alaqua Cox plays Echo in the comic book drama, a low-level crime boss and martial artist with a hearing impairment and a prosthetic.
In the comics, she’s a superhero with the ability to perfectly mimic people’s movements (aka photographic reflexes) in a similar manner to misunderstood villain Taskmaster from the recent Black Widow movie.
However, it’s unclear if Hawkeye is including this ability – there are some hints of it in episode three, but this could be more of a nod than a specific shout-out.
Notably, Echo is the second deaf superhero to be introduced by Marvel Studios following the Eternals‘ resident speedster Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), as well as the first Native American to be prominently featured in an MCU storyline.
Read on to find out more about what you can expect from Maya Lopez in the Hawkeye series.
Who is Echo/Maya Lopez?
In the comic books, Maya is the daughter of Willie ‘Crazy Horse’ Lincoln, an associate of crime lord Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin), whose photographic reflexes make her skilled at fighting as well as many artistic pursuits.
When she was young, Fisk had her father killed, but adopted the orphaned Maya and enrolled her in some of the world’s finest schools, before inducting her into the family business.
This meant it was only a matter of time before she crossed paths with New York City vigilante Daredevil, who Kingpin falsely claimed was responsible for her father’s death.
However, she soon discovers this isn’t true and turns her back on his crime empire, becoming an ally to the heroes of the Marvel Universe.
Maya takes on the Ronin identity when she joins the New Avengers as she does not want her chequered past to sully the team’s reputation but later reverts back to her Echo moniker.
In episode three we see a slightly altered version of this backstory, with the young Maya pushed to live in both hearing and non-hearing worlds by her loving father. Unfortunately, her father (who was a figure in organised crime) was later killed by the vigilante Ronin in the years between Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, bringing her firmly into the business and giving her a grudge against Ronin (who, lest we forget, was actually Clint/Hawkeye going off-grid).
And following episode three, some fans think that Kingpin could feature in this version of Echo’s story as well. There are a few references to her “uncle” who apparently is a more senior organised crime figure, and who we glimpse in flashbacks as a tall, suited man who affectionately brushes her cheek and chuckles (in what could be a familiar voice).
There have been rumours for a while that Vincent D’Onofrio (who played the role of Kingpin in three seasons of Netflix’s Daredevil) could be making his return in Hawkeye, so could these hints be teeing that up? Well, anything’s possible.
It is intriguing that Echo’s introduction to the MCU comes at around the same time as Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is rumoured to feature a cameo appearance from Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock (take that with a pinch of salt). Maybe the Daredevil revival is here at last…
Who is actress Alaqua Cox?
24-year-old Cox is a relative newcomer, and Hawkeye marks her debut acting role. Born in 1997 in the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin, Cox was deaf from birth and is also an amputee with a prosthetic leg (which plays a part in Hawkeye when she faces off with Clint in episode three).
“It’s just so crazy that I’m getting my own show after Hawkeye. That was like my first acting role, ever,” Cox told Variety at the Hawkeye premiere.
“I don’t know why they’re giving me this opportunity, but I’m just grateful. I’m excited for the support and being able to advocate for the Deaf community. We want to have that equality and get more people involved. I’m just so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given.”
What are Echo’s powers?
In the comics Echo has photographic reflexes similar to those of Taskmaster, meaning that she can mimic a person’s movement perfectly just by witnessing it for a short time. It’s unclear if the TV series has adapted this directly – in episode three we see her watching and copying another child’s moves to win a martial arts bout, but this could just be good observation on her part (and a reference to the comics).
Anyway, in the source material Echo’s abilities allowed her to not only become lethal in various fighting styles, but also to pick up a variety of other talents including piano and ballet.
In the MCU, Taskmaster’s powers are derived from a technologically advanced suit whereas Echo’s are natural to her, so that could help the characters stay distinct despite their ability being more or less the same.
One of Taskmaster’s opponents, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), will be appearing in Hawkeye, so it will be interesting to see if she crosses paths with Echo at any point and acknowledges the link.
The film ended with Taskmaster – who turned out to be Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko) – being freed from the clutches of her evil father, with scope for her to reappear reformed in a future Marvel project.
When is the Echo spin-off series on Disney Plus?
It has been confirmed that Marvel Studios is developing a Hawkeye spin-off series centred on Echo, which will delve deeper into the character’s story. There’s even a logo!
No release date has yet been given, but given the sheer number of upcoming Marvel TV shows on Disney Plus, it’s possible the series won’t arrive until as late as 2023.
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Hawkeye releases new episodes weekly every Wednesday on Disney Plus. You can sign up to Disney+ for £7.99 a month or £79.90 a year now. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.