Marvel’s Hawkeye is still filming, but the studio is already planning a spin-off for it.
Variety reports that Marvel is developing a solo series focusing on deaf warrior Echo, played by Alaqua Cox, who will be debut in the coming Hawkeye series.
Who is Echo?
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack in 1999, Maya Lopez was the daughter of a Native American mobster killed by the Kingpin. Her father’s dying wish was for the Kingpin to care for his daughter, which Wilson Fisk followed, ensuring Maya went to the best boarding schools.
Deaf since birth, Maya was believed to be mentally disabled as well. However, she astounded her teachers by perfectly playing a piano piece after seeing it performed at a concert.
She possesses photographic reflexes (much like popular Marvel villain Taskmaster who will be seen in the coming Black Widow movie) that allow her to replicate any physical action after seeing it once.
Unaware of the Kingpin’s role in her father’s death, Maya saw Fisk as a second father as he had her trained in the martial arts with her taking on ninja-level skills. She was sent after Daredevil, becoming romantically involved with Matt Murdock while hunting his costumed persona.
Daredevil convinced Maya how the Kingpin was using her and she broke away from him. She took on the name Echo to try fighting crime on her own.
Maya took on the masked persona of the warrior Ronin and worked with the New Avengers (who at first were unaware of her identity). She left the team and gave the Ronin identity to Clint Barton, who had recently given up his Hawkeye persona.
Echo would bounce around various adventures, including being briefly killed off but later resurrected. While deaf, she can easily read lips and her photographic reflex skills allow her almost instantly to mimic any fighting style.
Echo in the MCU
In the coming Hawkeye series, Clint (Jeremy Renner) takes young archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) under his wing as he seems ready to train some new heroes.
Deaf actress Alaqua Cox will play Maya. There is no word yet how her origins are adjusted for the MCU, but on-set videos show Cox using sign language in a scene with William Lopez, who plays Maya’s father.
The addition of Echo is interesting. In Avengers Endgame, Clint, driven by the loss of his entire family in “The Blip,” becomes the ruthless Ronin to hunt down criminals. Clint was also profoundly affected by best friend Natasha Romanoff sacrificing herself for the Soul Stone.
The show might do the reversal of the comics where Clint gives the old Ronin identity to Maya to use. It can also be her simply using her skills with her own costume.
Also, given Echo’s history with Daredevil, this may be the MCU offering a way to integrate DD from the Netflix shows into the Disney+ series.
To create a spin-off before the series even has an air date is a bold move for the MCU. However, Echo has long been a popular character, and it would be daring to give a Native American deaf heroine her own TV series.
While these are only preliminary plans, Echo is ready to make some noise in the MCU.
Hawkeye will premiere on Disney+ in late 2021.