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The Silence & The Fury

A new crusader joins the MCU, as deaf Native American antihero Echo spins off from Hawkeye, with cameos from Marvel heavy-hitters Daredevil and Kingpin

In recent years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a massive blockbuster sensation. Fans of the superhero genre have long been divided into camps — DC vs. Marvel, most prominently — and that debate continues to rage just as ferociously about the films and TV shows as it did about the comics.

That said, ever since The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 (for a whopping $4 billion), the company’s streamer, Disney+, has been the undisputed most prolific purveyor of the “super” genre. Newest to join their ranks is Echo.

While hardly new to the Marvel Universe, Echo as a character is best known to current Marvel fans in the form of budding actress Alaqua Cox, who was born and raised in the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin, and is of the Menominee and Mohican nation. Starring alongside Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld in the 2021 miniseries Hawkeye, the antiheroic Echo was introduced in a supporting role and garnered plenty of attention for her two-fold inclusivity and incredible fighting abilities. As is the case with nearly all superheroes and villains in the MCU, Echo’s personal history is somewhat complicated and varies significantly between comics, but at least three things remain consistent: her name, her background and her deafness.


Born Maya Lopez, Echo is the highly gifted daughter of secret mob enforcer William Lopez (Zahn McClarnon) — sometimes referred to as William Lincoln in other related source material — a proud Indigenous man of the Cheyenne Nation, and a Latina mother, known vaguely as “Ms. Lopez,” who abandoned the family when Maya was young. Upon his untimely death related to criminal activities, William urges hulking mobster Kingpin, a.k.a. Wilson Fisk (played once again in Echo by Vincent D’Onofrio, reprising his role from Netflix’s Daredevil), to look after his young daughter at all costs. Nothing if not a man of his word, Fisk agrees — and so begins Lopez’s fraught journey to superheroics.

Per the Marvel website, this Disney+ series serves as Echo’s origin story and “revisits Maya Lopez, whose ruthless behaviour in New York City catches up with her in her hometown. She must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward.”

Praised pre-release for its largely Indigenous cast and crew, the series co-stars Canadian Devery Jacobs (Reservation Dogs), Chaske Spencer (The English) and iconic First Nations actors Tantoo Cardinal and Graham Greene, both of whom have appeared in Wind River, Dances With Wolves and Longmire.

Daredevil fans will furthermore be delighted to learn that, in addition to the aforementioned Mr. D’Onofrio, Charlie Cox reprises his role as Matt Murdock, a.k.a. blind vigilante Daredevil — Echo’s original companion in her December 1999 comic book debut.

Behind the scenes, Navajo filmmaker Sydney Freeland (Reservation Dogs) and Australian/Gunaikurnai creative Catriona McKenzie (Satellite Boy) direct the series. Naturally, both were excited to begin work on a project focused on the only deaf Indigenous superhero in entertainment media. Beyond that, the official trailer for Echo prominently features the hero’s prosthetic leg, an addition to the original source material to provide added inclusivity and incorporate Alaqua Cox’s own, real-life prosthetic into the storyline.

“Representation was extremely important to myself and to everyone on the crew,” Freeland stated at an October 2023 news conference.

But neither Cox’s amputee status nor the character’s deafness was front and centre while plotting the show’s details. Sure, the creators gave thought to their star’s day-to-day reality and incorporated it into the storyline, but her so-called “disabilities” — as Hawkeye fans have clearly already noticed — are hardly disabling. Instead, the writers laid much of the focus on the toll that anger, resentment and physical trauma can take on a human being as they interact with the oft-cruel world around them.

“Maya is in a very vulnerable, emotional place,” Freeland said at that same, aforementioned media event. “She’s got all this bottled-up emotion and rage and feeling inside of her, and she doesn’t know what to do with it.”

Echo, streaming Wednesday, Disney+

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