Alaqua Cox plays the Native American protagonist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series.
Six days after Thanksgiving, Disney+ will offer a different sort of feast by releasing all six episodes of Echo, the new Marvel Comics-inspired series featuring newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, the deaf Native American assassin introduced to viewers in the 2021 Marvel series Hawkeye.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige made the announcement Tuesday in New York during a Disney+ plus promotional event, noting that Echo also will showcase the work of an “incredible team of indigenous writers, directors and cast members” that also includes co-stars Zahn McClarnon (Dark Winds, Longmire), Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves, Wind River), Chaske Spencer (Wild Indian, The English), Tantoo Cardinal (Smoke Signals, Killers of the Flower Moon), Devery Jacobs (Rutherford Falls, Reservation Dogs) and Cody Lightning (Smoke Signals, Four Sheets to the Wind), and directors Sydney Freeland (Reservation Dogs, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds) and Catriona McKenzie (The Walking Dead, Shining Vale).
In Hawkeye, starring Jeremy Renner as the avenging archer, Maya Lopez — a.k.a. Echo because of her ability to perfectly copy another person’s movements — prowled on the dark side. Specifically, she served as leader of the Tracksuit Mafia, minions employed by her adoptive uncle, New York crime boss Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk (played by Vincent D’Onofrio). The new series has Maya seeking a shot at redemption in her Oklahoma hometown, where she must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots — and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward.
Unfortunately, Kingpin is still around, having survived Maya’s attempt to violently conclude their relationship, and he is not in a forgiving mood. But the villain also has to contend with another handicap-transcending opponent: Lawyer Matt Murdock , the blind lawyer who moonlights as the masked vigilante known as Daredevil.
FYI: Charlie Cox — no relation to Alaqua Cox — will be reprising his Matt Murdock role from the 2015-18 Netflix series Daredevil, the same show where Vincent D’Onofrio first appeared as Kingpin.
“Yes, Echo has spun off from Hawkeye,” Zahn McClarnon told C&I last year. “The wonderful, beautiful, talented Alaqua Cox is playing the character Echo. A few years back, one of our casting directors in Hollywood who does a lot of the Indigenous projects called me up and asked if I knew of any deaf Native actresses — and I didn’t. So she went out and scoured the country and found, again, the beautiful, talented Alaqua Cox from the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. And she’s also an amputee [with a prosthetic leg] as well.
“It’s just wonderful to work with her. She’s such a generous human being, and I’m so happy that she’s getting the opportunity. She bypassed everything. She went from working at Amazon to being a number one on a TV show. So I’m very proud of her. And I’m glad that they went out and found an Indigenous person to do this job.”
In a 2021 Hollywood Reporter profile, writer Aaron Couch noted that, prior to Hawkeye, Cox’s acting experience consisted of a background part in a high school play. “In the years since,” Couch wrote, “she’d worked at a nursing home and for Amazon and FedEx. Truth be told, Cox had never considered acting professionally. All that changed when friends sent her a casting call that was looking for a female Native American who was deaf.”
Marvel Studios did not tell her that Echo was a go project until midway through production of Hawkeye. Her response: “Hawkeye is my first experience of acting. Now I’m going to get my own show in the [Marvel Cinematic Universe]? It’s wild.”
Here is the first teaser trailer for Echo.