Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting a lot of new installments this year, and the Hawkeye TV show is one of them. Many new characters are getting their introduction to the MCU, including Echo. So, who is Marvel’s Echo from the Hawkeye TV show?
Echo is a villain-turned-superhero character from Marvel comics usually connected to Daredevil, as she’s the adopted daughter of Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin. She’s a deaf Native American character, and she’ll be portrayed by Alaqua Cox, a deaf Native American actress.
She has a connection with Hawkeye that is not that big in the comics, so it’ll be interesting to see her role in the show. A spin-off series based on Echo is already in early production, so it’s safe to say she’ll be an important asset to the MCU. Let’s dive into Echo’s origin, powers, and connection to Hawkeye in the comics to see what her MCU role might be.
Echo, aka Maya Lopez, is the adopted daughter of the criminal mastermind and one of Daredevil’s main villains, the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. Maya’s father worked for Fisk before his boss killed him and took Maya under his wing, raising her as his daughter.
As a kid, she was believed to be mentally disabled and sent to a special school until they realized she was deaf but extremely gifted. Despite her disability, Maya showed prolific skills and potential in martial arts and creative arts. When she learned she was adopted, Fisk manipulated her into thinking that Daredevil was responsible for her father’s death.
So, she took on the Echo identity, marking her face with a palm print – similar to the palm print her dying father left on her face – and decided to get revenge upon Daredevil. She took the name Echo due to her special ability called photographic reflexes (more on that later). At the same time, she fell in love with Matt Murdock.
Learning that Daredevil is blind, she created a situation where his heightened senses were useless, and she nearly killed him before realizing that he’s actually her lover, Matt Murdock. Echo learns about her adoptive father’s manipulations and eventually shoots him before fleeing the country.
When she returned, Matt had already moved on with another woman. Maya also learns that her father indeed survived the shooting but was in prison at the moment.
Later, Echo was the first character to introduce the Ronin identity. Ronin is a masterless Samurai in Japan, and she operated as the mysterious ninja-like vigilante for quite some time. Echo had also been associated with the Avengers and the New Avengers, both of which she’s still associated with.
After passing the Ronin identity to Clint Barton (Hawkeye), she continued to operate as an undercover agent infiltrating criminal groups and tearing them up from the inside. Lopez worked with Moon Knight before heading back to New York and partnering with Daredevil again.
Currently, the story of Echo stands with her becoming the new host of the super-powerful cosmic entity called the Phoenix Force, meaning that she became one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe right now.
He had won the Phoenix’s affection by winning the tournament in Avengers: Enter the Phoenix storyline, while the details of her and the Phoenix Force becoming one are just starting to unravel in a separate storyline called Phoenix Song: Echo, which debuted in late October.
Her role in the upcoming Hawkeye series will be the character’s debut in the MCU, and it’s not quite clear what her role will be. However, a spin-off series based on the character had already been announced and put into early production, so I’m sure her role will be crucial for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Seeing that she became the host for the Phoenix Force just recently, she might be the character to bridge the gap between the X-Men and the main MCU.
We know that rumors stated the X-Men would get their MCU introduction soon, and they were the ones most associated with the Phoenix Force (through Jean Grey), so it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that Echo will be the one to connect the X-Men and the MCU. I doubt she’ll already have the Phoenix Force in the Hawkeye series, but the Echo’s spin-off will likely feature it.
Echo’s Powers and Abilities
Now that you know who Echo is and what her character arc looks like so far in the comics, let’s find out what we can expect from her in terms of powers and abilities.
Elite Athlete & Martial Artist
Before ever taking on the Echo mantle, Maya Lopez grew up into a prolific, Olympic-level athlete. Her physical condition is close to peak human physical shape, with great strength, endurance, and agility.
Other than that, she has incredible skills in creative arts as well. Maya is a great pianist, a prolific acrobat, and a gifted ballerina. Still, all her skills – sports, amazing acrobatics, creative arts, martial art, hand-to-hand combat skills – stem from another one of her abilities called photographic reflexes.
Echo’s name stems from her ability called photographic reflexes. One other Marvel character has the same ability – the Taskmaster. It allows him and Echo to replicate other people’s moves and skills to perfection. For instance, Maya can replicate a song on the piano after only seeing somebody play it once.
That skill translates to other aspects of her life, especially her fighting skills and martial arts. Whoever she fights is kind of an “anything you can do, I can do better” situation, where she can replicate their moves to perfection. Echo is a quick study and a very formidable opponent to anybody.
Therefore, Echo is a highly-skilled combatant with incredible abilities to learn and replicate what she sees, along with being a proficient martial artist, acrobat, and genius.
Even without the Phoenix Force, Echo is a formidable opponent for anybody in the Marvel Universe. She is still only human, though, and her deafness can be seen as a disability. Better said, it would be a disability if she didn’t have other special abilities like photographic reflexes and being overall gifted both physically and mentally.
However, what took her over the top was the introduction of the Phoenix Force. Maya is the newest host of the cosmic entity, granting her unfathomable superhuman powers, including telepathy, telekinesis, flight, superhuman strength, cosmic energy and fire manipulation, and much more.
When you combine her skillset with the powers granted by the Phoenix Force, she is one of the strongest Marvel characters currently on Earth. How she uses the Phoenix Force remains to be seen in the ongoing story Phoenix Song: Echo.
Echo’s Connection to Hawkeye
Seeing that Echo will be one of the characters in the upcoming Hawkeye series surprised some fans. They didn’t have much to do with each other in the comics, but there’s certainly a connection.
Obviously, they both fought for the Avengers and shared a couple of battlefields, but what connects them the most is the Ronin identity. If you remember, Clint Barton estranged himself from the Avengers and spent five years operating alone as Ronin after Thanos erased his entire family from existence.
Well, in the comics, Echo was the first one to bring the Ronin identity to life. Ronin appeared as a mysterious ninja-like character in the New Avengers, and while fans knew it was somebody familiar, it wasn’t revealed for a while that it was, in fact, Echo.
The writers planned on giving hidden Ronin identity to Daredevil but changed the story’s direction after some odd circumstances, eventually making Echo the first Ronin. Later, she passed the torch and gave the mantle to Hawkeye.
I’m not sure if we’ll see that in the Hawkeye TV show or the writers will go in a different direction, but maybe we’ll see a flashback of the time between Infinity War and Endgame and the five years where Clint was Ronin.
No matter what kind of role Echo will have in the Hawkeye series, getting her spin-off series is a clear statement from Marvel Studios that Maya Lopez will play a big part in the future of MCU. I believe that we’ll eventually see Echo host the Phoenix Force and connect the X-Men to the MCU, but don’t take my word for it – it’s just still just speculation.
One thing is certain – Alaqua Cox will portray the character, and I love that casting because Echo is a deaf Native American character, and Cox is a deaf Native American actress. It gives Marvel some much-needed diversity and the best possible way to include and represent minorities and people with disabilities on the big screen.