The trailer for Marvel series Hawkeye has the Avengers archer in the midst of Christmastime chaos tonally evocative of Die Hard—except, you know, in the streets of New York City and not a high-tech L.A. skyscraper. However, while the show’s long-teased idea of a reluctant Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) taking on a scrappy protégé in Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) comes to fruition before our eyes, the trailer also quickly flashes to another potentially important character, Echo, a deadly assassin who happens to have direct connections to Daredevil and Kingpin. Consequently, we could finally have a Marvel Cinematic Universe bridge to the forgotten “Street Level” Netflix shows.
Echo, as played by debuting actress Alaqua Cox, appears in the Hawkeye trailer in a red-lit flash that lasts for a single second before things move along. However, don’t let the briefness of that moment belie her prospective importance to the MCU. The character, otherwise known as Maya Lopez, is prominent in the pages of Marvel Comics, standing distinctly as one of only a handful of deaf heroes in the medium, and, eventually, as a key member of the New Avengers. However, Echo’s menacing mug in the trailer makes her an ominous player hiding in the periphery amidst the main twosome’s tussle with the Tracksuit Mafia. So, why would a character like Echo be involved in these events? Well, the answer is auspicious for fans of Netflix’s Marvel shows.
You can check out the Hawkeye trailer just below!
A creation of writer David Mack and artist Joe Quesada, Echo debuted in Daredevil (Vol. 2) #9, which hit back in May of 1999. She was depicted as a foster daughter of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin; a relationship that came about when Fisk killed her real father, although granted a final wish to care for his young daughter, whose face bore his bloody handprint.
Interestingly, the drawback of Maya’s deafness was offset by prodigious learning abilities similar to that of Taskmaster, making her able to mimic (or echo, if you will,) the most complex of skills, complemented by exceptional reflexes. Thus, with the Kingpin as her father figure, said abilities were channeled into making her his deadliest enforcer, and, upon her debut, was dispatched to deal with Fisk’s longtime rival, Daredevil, with the deaf assassin serving as a poetically parallel opponent to the blind hero.
Touting the Echo name, showcasing a face painted with a white hand elegiacally recollecting her father’s bloody handprint, Maya’s efforts to end Daredevil would—in a manner that deadly women like Elektra and Typhoid Mary know all too well—end up taking a romantic turn, except with Matt Murdock initially unaware that he was her crimson-clad quarry. Consequently, upon learning his secret identity, Echo’s scraps with the Man Without Fear would eventually lead to a major change in perspective on her de facto father, Kingpin, culminating in a confrontation that leads to the crime boss’s downfall (at least, one of them, anyway). Subsequently, Maya was left aimless in the initial post-Kingpin, pre-New Avengers days, leading her to briefly operate as a vigilante, becoming the first of several iterations of Ronin (Japanese for a master-less samurai); a mantle that, as the trailer indicates, is pertinent to Hawkeye in its own right.
While we won’t get ahead of ourselves speculating on the ways that Echo’s rather circuitous comic book trajectory (she joined with the Phoenix Force at one point!) could be mirrored in live-action on Hawkeye, it’s worth mentioning that the NYC-set gangster activity at the center of the show’s plot would likely blip the radar of the biggest gangster of them all, Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk. Such a notion would indicate that Echo is ominously hiding in the shadows, watching events unfold, perhaps on behalf of her adopted father, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Indeed, this would validate the long-running rumor that Vincent D’Onofrio will reprise his magnificently layered antagonist role as Kingpin (or, at least a version of him), in the MCU. While said return was once speculated for the movie we now know as Spider-Man: No Way Home, it could still bear consequences for the December-scheduled threequel, albeit indirectly. After all, Daredevil himself, Charlie Cox, is strongly rumored to be set for an appearance alongside Tom Holland’s Wall-Crawler for what is believed to be a cameo as Matt Murdock in his capacity as a lawyer.
Consequently, while the chances of Daredevil showing up on Hawkeye currently seem, to put it generously, small, the prospect of a Kingpin appearance is, by contrast, quite high. While such an appearance—especially given its super-secretive nature—would likely be relegated to a quick cameo of some kind, it would nevertheless be a profoundly consequential moment for the MCU, since it would be the first time that a Netflix character (even a version of one) would be properly christened into the MCU.
While Netflix Marvel shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders contemporaneously touted their status as MCU-adjacent—even to the point of including random Easter-eggs referencing MCU events like the Battle of New York—the favor was never returned by the MCU movies or shows in any form whatsoever. Thus, an appearance by D’Onofrio’s Kingpin, regardless of how brief, would be the long-sought acknowledgment of Daredevil and, by proxy, the other inhabitants of Netflix’s proverbial small screen island of misfit Marvel heroes.
On another interesting note potentially pertaining to Echo, the Hawkeye trailer is teeming with Ronin material, indicating that Clint’s post-Snap, blood-spilling family-grieving vigilante spree—as we saw in Avengers: Endgame—has now yielded new consequences with the arrival of a copycat. While he’s now living content with his Blip-returned family, his sense of responsibility compels him to briefly put them aside to deal with the new Ronin.
While we eventually see Clint unmask the new Ronin, revealing a star-struck Kate Bishop, the trailer might be playing some sleight-of-hand with the new vigilante’s identity. That’s because a whopping eight characters have assumed the guise of Ronin in the comics, and none of them were Kate Bishop. Moreover, with Echo—the first one to don the frequently-passed mantle—mysteriously manifesting on the series, it could be the case that Maya is the female Ronin in question, and that Kate was simply masquerading in the costume with some other agenda in mind. Thusly, Maya’s prospective turn as Ronin would be the bleak start of a character arc that could culminate with a heroic turn for an Echo spinoff series, which is reportedly in development.
Regardless, Hawkeye is set to let loose its explosive-tipped arrows for a weekly run of its eight-episode season on Disney+ starting on Wednesday, Nov. 24.