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Home > ‘Echo’ Introduces New Characters and Dangers to the MCU

‘Echo’ Introduces New Characters and Dangers to the MCU

Echo will mark the first Disney+ series to be rated TV-MA, a sign of more adult programming to come. Alaqua Cox stars as Maya Lopez In "Echo."

The First Disney+ TV-MA Series

Echo will mark the first Disney+ series to be rated TV-MA. Is this a sign of more adult programming to come, or will Echo be doomed to repeat the mistakes of its forebears and continue a disappointing trend of lackluster, quantity-over-quality programming in the Marvel-verse?

Who is Maya Lopez?

Echo is a spin-off of Hawkeye, a Disney+ original that first aired in 2021. Based on the Marvel character of the same name, Echo is slated to be the tenth television series set in the current iteration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a shared continuity franchise encompassing both films and TV. An adoptive daughter of Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. The Kingpin, Maya is an elite black-ops agent/enforcer for Fisk. She is also deaf, an indigenous Native American, and a badass. 

Maya Lopez presents as more black ops than white knight. The trailer sees her trading blows with enforcers, mercenaries, and even Daredevil, aka. Matt Murdoch, played by Charlie Cox. Elite Assassins/Ronin aren’t necessarily new to the MCU, nor superhero IP in general. Much like Hawkeye in 2021, that same year saw the release of Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johanson as Natasha Romanoff, an elite superagent of both The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. But that is about where the similarities seem to end. Played by Alaqua Cox, her well-received portrayal thankfully continues the trend of appropriately casting actors that mirror their on-screen personas, including but not limited to people of color and differently-abled actors.

Not Another Fairy Tale 

Seemingly a more grounded approach to superhero narratives, Echo appears to earn its TV-MA rating, as the trailer shows various degrees of carnage, ruthlessness, and murder. Hawkeye was a series known for its stunts, and Echo seems to be following in its footsteps. The series looks more like what you might expect to see on a grittier network like AMC or even Max, perhaps signaling that Disney+ is eager to use Hulu as a platform for more adult fare. 

"Echo" will mark the first Disney+ series to be rated TV-MA, a sign of more adult programming to come. Alaqua Cox stars as Maya Lopez.
This image is courtesy of Marvel Studios. Alaqua Cox stars as Maya Lopez.

Created by Marion Dayre, she is known perhaps best for her contributions to AMC’s Better Call Saul, where she worked her way up from Writers Assistant to Executive Story Editor over five seasons. Marion is no stranger to anti-heroes and unsympathetic protagonists. Better Call Saul was known for showing great love to its titular, morally ambiguous characters, and Echo seems like a logical bridge for the creator to apply what she learned on the AMC program to the Marvel-verse.

Like Father, Like Daughter?

Maya presents as an anti-hero, meaning she’s not exactly the kind of character you’d typically root for. Disney+ used the same approach to Cassian Andor when, in the first moments of Star Wars Rogue One, Cassian is introduced by outright killing an informant in cold blood. This can be an excellent place to begin a character’s journey, seemingly at the bottom of the well, their lowest point, with nowhere to go but up.

The trailer poses a question of the continuing cycle of violence – are we wed to our parent’s choices, and do their worst tendencies continue through our worst deeds? These sorts of themes are a welcome change in a superhero narrative overloaded with do-gooders and show-offs. The Kingpin/Fisk is consistently rated as one of the top villains in the Marvel franchise. Reprising his role from Daredevil (2015-2018) is Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays the role very groundedly. Having raised Maya from less than ten years old, Maya learned everything she knows about violence from this man, whom she looks up to as a father. But every King has their reign, and then that reign ends.

All Hail the Queen-pin

Echo sees a continued trend in the MCU of putting more women at the front and center of its programming, following in the footsteps of Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and WandaVision. Will Echo be a return to form for the MCU or even a start of something new, or will it be the next in a line of disappointments? Audiences won’t have to wait long to decide. 

Echo will simultaneously debut on both Disney+ and Hulu, dropping all five episodes on January 9th. Check out the trailer below:

"Echo" will mark the first Disney+ series to be rated TV-MA, a sign of more adult programming to come. Vincent D'Onofrio stars as Kingpin/Wilton Fisk.
This image is courtesy of Marvel Studios. Vincent D’Onofrio stars as Kingpin/Wilton Fisk in “Echo.”

Echo (2024): Official Marvel Studios Trailer

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Caleb aims to write high-concept genre pieces that focus on broken families. His works have been recognized by the Nicholl's Fellowship, the ISA, Screencraft, Launchpad, and Nickelodeon.When not writing Caleb enjoys video games and tabletop RPGs, camping, and is a connoisseur of fine bourbon.

Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.