If you’ve been keeping up with the Disney+ series Hawkeye, then you’ve come across Maya Lopez. Apart from what we’ve seen in the Marvel Studios show, many newer Marvel fans are just getting acquainted with her. For those who already know her, they know her more famously as Echo.
Maya Lopez/Echo in Hawkeye
In Hawkeye, Maya Lopez/Echo is played by Hollywood newcomer Alaqua Cox. This role is Cox’s breakout role and she was chosen for two very specific reasons. Like the comic book character, Cox is both Native American and deaf. During an interview with Variety, directors Bert and Bertie were asked about the conversations around their approach to Echo, who made her debut in Hawkeye‘s second episode, “Hide and Seek.”
“It was a huge learning curve for us; Alaqua brought so much to this,” Bert said. “We just went in asking to be taught how to do this because we want to represent her wholly and correctly on screen. So there were a lot of discussions ahead of actually filming, but then every day on set was learning with her, and she was very gracious.”
“Maya’s story, for obvious reasons, mirrors Alaqua’s story in many ways,” Bertie added. “I think for us, and with Alaqua, it was about looking at these things that people might term as disabilities in Alaqua, and actually using those as her superpowers. So the fact that she’s a non-hearing person means that her sense of observation — a heightened awareness as she walks into a room and observes things — is a superpower. Her prosthetic leg, we see that Clint tries to hockey stick [it] out the way, and then she swings that metal leg at him, and it takes his hearing aid out. Using what could be considered her weaknesses as her strengths was a huge part of that character formation.”
Echo’s backstory and powers
Echo first appeared in the pages of Daredevil, created by David Mack and Joe Quesada, as an antagonist. In the comics, she was (recently) established as a member of the Cheyenne Nation. Born deaf, she possessed a supernatural ability to perfectly copy the movements of anyone she saw — an extremely useful and lethal skill that is shared with fellow Marvel villain Taskmaster (from Black Widow).
She was left orphaned when her father died while working as an enforcer for Wilson Fisk (also known as Kingpin), who you might remember from Netflix’s Daredevil series or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Fisk saw Echo’s abilities and wanted to utilize them for his criminal operations. He took her under his wing in order to develop her abilities, became an adoptive father, and eventually unleashed her against Daredevil — who he convinced was the culprit behind her father’s death.
Her most common superhero marking is a handprint on her face, a tribute to her father’s last moments, which we saw in Hawkeye’s “Echoes.” Her history in the Marvel comics has always been a constant up-and-down. Echo has dated Daredevil, befriended Wolverine, was the first to take on the Ronin identity, fought with Elektra, spent some time with Moon Knight, has been an Avenger on multiple occasions — where she has been written with the ability to read lips through masks, and been a host of the Phoenix Force (you know, the cosmic force that gave Jean Grey unstoppable powers of destruction).
While we probably won’t see Echo’s experience with the Phoenix Force in Hawkeye, we might see it down the line. Alaqua Cox is set to return as Maya Lopez/Echo in her own spin-off series Echo. There’s no word on what the plot synopsis for the upcoming series will be but an entire show gives us more than enough time to get to know her as more than the girl who’s hunting down Clint Barton and Kate Bishop.
Photos via Marvel Studios/Disney+