What to Know Before Watching Marvel’s Echo

What to Know Before Watching Marvel’s Echo

Marvel is finding footing in the new year following a whirlwind of box office flops and the firing of Jonathan Majors after he was found guilty of assaulting and harassing his ex-girlfriend. The entertainment behemoth’s first release of 2024 is Echo, a spin-off of Hawkeye. Centered on the titular Echo (Alaqua Cox), the series comes to Disney+ and Hulu on Jan. 9.

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Echo, or Maya Lopez, was introduced to the MCU in the 2021 Disney+ show Hawkeye as the commander of the Tracksuit Mafia, a gang that was previously run by her father. Born deaf, she’s the second deaf superhero to show up in the MCU, following the appearance of Makkari’ in Eternals (2021). Maya is Native American and Echo follows her as she attempts to process the death of her father and embrace her indigenous roots and family. Over five episodes, the show dives into Maya’s culture and roots in an exploration of her origin story.

“Culturally, there’s such a specificity that we hadn’t explored with the character,” supervising producer Eleena Khamedoost says in the show’s press notes. The team behind Echo worked with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to make sure the show felt authentic to the community. “It was important for us to take Maya out of New York City and showcase a world we have never seen in the MCU. The idea of setting the story in Tamaha, Oklahoma, was attractive because this small, intimate rural town feels like a character in the show.”

Here’s everything to know before watching Echo.

Echo appears in Marvel’s Hawkeye

In Hawkeye, Maya Lopez is the commander of the Tracksuit Mafia, a gang that was previously run by her father, who was killed by the Ronin, Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) secret identity that was introduced in Avengers: Endgame. Maya and her gang manage to kidnap Clint and his now sidekick, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), to interrogate them about the Ronin so that she can get answers about her father’s demise. They escape, and she tries to follow them to get answers.

In the penultimate episode of Hawkeye, Maya and the Ronin fight at the auto shop where her father was killed, and as he almost defeats her, Clint takes off the mask to reveal that he’s her father’s killer. He tells Maya that her boss—who we find out later is Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio)—wanted her father dead; this convinces her to leave him and his family alone. Toward the end of the last episode, Maya and Fisk are together in an alley, and she shoots him, leaving him for dead.

This is the last we see of Maya before Echo.

What the comics tell us about Echo’s role in the MCU

While Maya may not have supernatural powers, her abilities are more practical. At a young age, she learned how to read lips and is a skilled fighter. Maya learned martial arts, sword, and staff combat, is an expert marksman, and has acrobatic training. In the comics, she and Daredevil fought because Fisk made her believe that he was her father’s killer, but he finally explained himself to her and led her to shoot Kingpin. In the comics, Maya also becomes an ally to the New Avengers team, which we could see in the MCU as the Young Avengers begin to assemble.

Daredevil is set to make an appearance in the series after The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Charlie Cox joined the series in 2022.

How Echo sets up the future of the MCU

Echo suggests that audiences may be treated to more Hawkeye and Kate Bishop in the future—and sets up Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin as the potential Marvel villain to watch. The Multiverse Saga has gone through multiple changes over the last couple of months, and the future of Marvel’s next Thanos-level villain is up in the air after the studio dropped Jonathan Majors, who was poised to take that mantle with his Kang the Conqueror character.

Marvel told TIME that they have no plans to move forward with Majors at this time, and it’s unclear if the role will get recast or cut entirely.

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