Summary

  • Echo is a strong outing for Marvel Studios and one of its most unique and compelling Marvel shows.
  • The show focuses on street-level fighting between Maya and Kingpin, giving it a more character-driven feel.
  • Echo features Marvel’s first deaf and Indigenous superhero, with representation and unique storytelling as key strengths.


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The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Five has been one of the studio’s most uneven phases thus far, with extremely low lows and only middling highs, but Echo is by far one of the franchise’s strongest outings post-Avengers: Endgame. Ostensibly a spinoff to Hawkeye, Echo follows the deaf Choctaw character of Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), who was introduced as a member of Kingpin’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) organization. However, Maya learned that Kingpin was behind her father’s murder — at the hands of Hawkeye while he was operating as Ronin — and turned on him. Though the new show picks up after Hawkeye, Echo is more reminiscent of Marvel’s Netflix fare, and is all the better for it.

Echo TV Show Poster

Marvel’s Echo

Release Date
January 9, 2024

Cast
Chaske Spencer , Zahn McClarnon , Graham Greene , Alaqua Cox , Cody Lightning , Charlie Cox , Tantoo Cardinal , Devery Jacobs , Vincent D’Onofrio

Seasons
1

Writers
Amy Rardin , Marion Dayre

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+ , Hulu

Directors
Sydney Freeland

Because Echo is so loosely connected to the rest of the MCU, it becomes the perfect launchpad for Marvel Spotlight, a new banner under which Marvel Studios releases projects that offer more character-driven stories. This isn’t a show like Loki, which is dealing with Kang variants or the threat of a multiversal war. Instead, it focuses on the street-level fighting between Maya and Kingpin, with some Daredevil (Charlie Cox) thrown in to ensure it feels fully entrenched in the MCU’s New York City. Perhaps as a result of getting to tell its own story, and using the TV format effectively, Echo is able to stand on its own to be one of Disney+’s most unique and compelling Marvel shows.

Related

Echo Show Cast & Marvel Character Guide

Hawkeye’s MCU spinoff, Echo, is set for release as part of Phase 5, seeing the return of Maya Lopez as well as several new Marvel Studios characters.


Echo’s Story Starts Slow But Quickly Ramps Up

Zahn McClarnon as William Lopez, Graham Greene as Skully and Tantoo Cardinal as Chula Sitting Around A Fire Pit In The Backyard In Echo Season 1 Episode 1

We were only given access to the first three episodes of Echo — out of the five released all at once on Jan. 9 — so it’s difficult to gauge the full pace of the season, but the show is slow to start. In fact, the first 30 minutes of episode 1, which is roughly 45 minutes long, acts as an exceptionally long prologue, catching us up on what occurred in Hawkeye season 1, and a lot of Maya’s early life. This prologue moves as fast as it possibly can while including some of the bigger emotional beats and thrilling action scenes. Although the prologue ensures viewers who haven’t seen Hawkeye can watch Echo with ease, it’s still an oddly paced episode that can feel like a hurdle to get over.

It’s Maya’s connection to her Choctaw heritage, and her way of navigating the world as a deaf person, that makes Echo so unlike any other Marvel offering.

Thankfully, once the prologue is done, Echo vastly improves its pacing and settles into its compelling story. The show follows Maya as she returns to her hometown to wage war on Kingpin from afar, which naturally finds her entangled with various members of her family, from which she was estranged. The first three episodes of Echo deftly balance familial drama with action and the story of Maya’s burgeoning powers. In fact, it’s Maya’s connection to her Choctaw heritage, and her way of navigating the world as a deaf person, that makes Echo so unlike any other Marvel offering.

Marvel’s First Deaf & Indigenous Hero Gives Echo A Stunningly Unique Voice

Echo not only depicts Marvel’s first deaf and Indigenous superhero, but the show fully embraces these elements and entrenches the viewers in Maya Lopez’s world. This is done partly through flashbacks of past Choctaw women, which allows for some experimentation with style that works to break up Echo’s largely grounded tone. By following Maya’s story along with the glimpses into the past, Echo tells a story rarely, if ever, seen before on television, let alone in the MCU. Crucially, these history lessons about Maya’s ancestors are integral to her journey as a hero, creating a beautiful story that spans generations.

As for how Maya’s deafness is incorporated into the story, the directors of the first three episodes choose key scenes when the sound is dulled down so that we’re able to experience the world as Maya does. This is especially effective in fight scenes, showcasing how skilled a fighter Maya truly is, as well as how she’s adapted to a hearing world, like using other people’s senses against them. It all helps to develop Maya’s character, furthering her story in a compelling way.

Echo Isn’t Necessary MCU Viewing But It’s More Compelling Than Other Phase 5 Entries

Vincent D'Onofrio As Kingpin And Alaqua Cox As Maya Lopez Sitting At A Table In Echo Season 1 Episode 4

Without having seen the full season, it’s difficult to judge it as a whole, but Echo’s first three episodes indicate it’s an entertaining story about an entirely new kind of MCU hero. The fact that it’s only five episodes is a good sign. It ensures Echo doesn’t get bogged down with too many subplots and remains as focused on the conflict between Echo and Kingpin, while also exploring the difficulties of Maya returning home after a long time away. Maya’s relationships with family and friends are a major highlight, with the full cast of Echo being incredibly strong.

However, as a project under the Marvel Spotlight banner, Echo isn’t very connected to other MCU projects. Maya’s history with Hawkeye and vengeance against Kingpin are the main connections to the larger universe aside from Daredevil. Echo doesn’t feel like it’s furthering any overarching story in the MCU, which means the show can focus instead on telling its own standalone story — and it does that wonderfully. So, while Echo may not be a must-watch to understand Daredevil: Born Again, or any other upcoming Marvel project, it’s certainly worth checking out as an entertaining TV show that just so happens to be set in the MCU.

All five episodes of Echo are now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

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