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Who is Echo? Maya Lopez explained

Alaqua Cox is playing Maya Lopez in the MCU, bringing the martial arts badass to the new Marvel series Echo. Here's what we know about her.

Echo explained in the MCU

While we’re all busy talking about Kang, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, a new character could be about to steal the show in the MCU. We first met Maya Lopez, aka Echo, during the Hawkeye series two years ago, but she’s now stepping up to take center stage in her own story.

Maya first arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a villain trying to take down one of the original Avengers in Hawkeye, but as the lead of a new Marvel series, we’ll learn a lot more about her. Echo is one of the most prominent deaf MCU characters, along with Makkari from Eternals, and we hope she’ll continue to play a big part in upcoming Marvel movies. But before we get to the Echo release date, we need to delve into her backstory and her time in the MCU so far.

Echo in the Marvel Comics explained

Maya Lopez, aka Echo, was introduced in the Marvel Comics as the adoptive daughter of Kingpin and both an enemy and lover of Daredevil.

She first appeared in a 1999 Daredevil comic, introduced as the adoptive daughter of Kingpin. She was raised by one of the most formidable Marvel villains following the death of her father. The white handprint she paints on her face is a visual reminder of the bloody handprint he left on her as a child.

Echo and Daredevil have a complex relationship in Marvel Comics

Maya falls in love with Matt Murdock but almost kills him while carrying out the Kingpin’s orders to take down Daredevil. Murdock helps her realize that Kingpin was responsible for killing her dad, and she takes revenge by shooting and blinding her former father figure.

Maya later took on the Ronin identity and became part of both the Avengers and New Avengers. She has also had a romance with Moon Knight and became the host of the Phoenix Force, christening herself Thunderbird.

We don’t expect the latter part of her comics story to make its way into the Echo series, but it’s a tantalizing option for the future of the MCU beyond Marvel’s Phase 5. Once the X-Men characters are a part of the wider universe, we might get a movie that finally cracks the Phoenix Force as a story device. We’ve waited long enough!

Echo made her MCU debut in the Marvel series Hawkeye

Echo in the MCU explained

Alaqua Cox plays Maya Lopez in the MCU, originally appearing as an antagonist in Hawkeye. She will now continue the character’s story in her own series, called Echo.

Echo showed up in Hawkeye episode 3, and we wrote that she “steals the show” right out from under Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Maya was the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia, and she was determined to track down Ronin, believing him to have been responsible for her father’s death.

By the end of the show, Maya learned that Ronin acted on the orders of her adoptive uncle, Kingpin. Similar to the comics story, Maya turned on Kingpin and shot him. In the trailer for Echo, he’s wearing an eyepatch as a nod to how he was blinded in the comic books.

The Echo series will follow Maya as she reckons with her past and explores her Native American roots. Of course, her complex relationship with Kingpin will also be a key feature, and Charlie Cox is also confirmed to appear as Matt Murdock. So, in many ways, Echo could be a lead-in to the Daredevil season 4 release date.

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Is Echo a hero or villain in the MCU?

Echo started off as a villain in Hawkeye, but she’s now the protagonist of her own series, taking on her adoptive father figure, Kingpin. She’s still a villain for now, but we don’t think it will last long.

ComicBook.com reported from the trailer reveal event that Echo director and exec producer Sydney Freeland stated clearly that she is “a villain” in the new series. “She’s a villain. And so tonally, we wanted to lean into that. I think in talking with the executives and our approach, and when building visual style, it was sort of like: ‘Oh yeah, lean into that, lean into that’.”

However, the complex relationship between Echo and Kingpin appears to be very much at the center of the show after she shot her adoptive uncle at the end of Hawkeye. We’d be very surprised if this series doesn’t end up being a hero-origin story for Echo, positioning her to join our favorite heroes in new movies and shows to come.

With that said, we love to see shades of gray in the MCU, and the franchise seems to be more and more willing to allow anti-heroes and more complex characters. We don’t need Echo to be a card-carrying Avenger any time soon. If she wants to operate in the dark and murky corner of the MCU, that works for us.

Kingpin's bond wih Echo has now been established in the MCU

Echo powers and abilities explained

Echo, in the comics, has the ability to perfectly mimic the movements of her opponent. In the MCU so far, she’s been shown as a talented martial artist whose senses other than hearing are heightened. 

This is, of course, a shift from her powers in the comics, and that looks set to continue in her own show, which will be the first Marvel series to receive a harsher TV-MA rating. Based on the trailer alone, there’s a fair amount of blood on show, reflecting a more grounded approach than Echo’s photographic memory on the page.

Sydney Freeland said at the trailer event that he’s not a fan of her abilities from the comics. “Her power in the comic books is that she can copy anything, any movement, any whatever. It’s kind of lame,” he said. “I will say that is not her power [in the show]. I’ll just kind of leave it at that.”

Of course, when Echo merged with the Phoenix Force in the comics, she gained those awesome cosmic powers. She had superhuman strength and telepathic abilities, could fly, and could generate cosmic flames. Hopefully, we’ll see the MCU version of Echo wield those incredible powers at some stage. After all, we don’t need to repeat Jean Grey yet again.

That’s everything we know about Echo for now while we count down the days until her TV series. But you can look ahead to other upcoming treats from the MCU, including Deadpool 3 and the best movies planned for Marvel Phase 6.

It’s also a good time to explore the Marvel movies in order, as well as everything else that’s new on Disney Plus. You can also find out about Maya’s comic pals as we reveal that The Marvels’ alternate ending featured more Young Avengers.