This article contains Marvel’s Hawkeye episode 2 spoilers.
At the end of the second episode of the new Marvel streaming series Hawkeye, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) are captured by the Tracksuit Mafia. Clint willingly lets himself be caught and is brought to what looks like some kind of abandoned shopping center, while Kate crashes the party — literally, through a skylight — as the Mafia is trying to interrogate Hawkeye to no avail about the whereabouts of, you guessed it, Kate.
But unbeknownst to both, they are about to face an antagonist — or at least she’s that for now — who will play a significant role in the story to come.
This is when we get a very brief first glimpse of Maya Lopez, a.k.a Echo, played by Alaqua Cox, with the episode actually ending on a close-up of her face. A number of people watching, more casual fans perhaps, might not know who she is — undoubtedly her full introduction will take place in episode 3. But this is the first tease of a character who will presumably be important to the Hawkeye narrative as the show unfolds — and who will then leap into her own series sometime in 2022.
Who is Echo?
As we explained in this exhaustive piece on Echo’s origins, she made her Marvel Comics debut in a 1999 story involving Daredevil and Kingpin. Unable to hear since birth, the Native American got her name by being able to perfectly emulate the movements of others (shades of Taskmaster). She eventually became part of a new lineup of the Avengers, and has also been connected to Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and the classic Secret Invasion storyline — all of which are joining the MCU via Disney+ shows.
Meet Alaqua Cox
Clearly Echo might be headed for big things in the Marvel screen canon. Asked for any hints about how Echo’s story unfolds and paves the way for the character’s own series, Hawkeye executive producer Trinh Tran is naturally circumspect in classic Marvel fashion.
“We introduce her character here,” she says. “I can’t say obviously much about the plot and how she is integrated into the story, but what I can say is that Alaqua is so impressive in what she brought to the character and onto the screen, and you see just how cool Maya is here. She is a formidable foe to our heroes. They have to figure out a way to deal with the situation that Maya brings forth. It’s exciting. I think Alaqua Cox is amazing and she nailed it.”
Cox herself is deaf in real life, has a prosthetic leg and is a member of the Menominee nation. Aside from the fact that her casting is truly representative of all those communities (with members of the Deaf and Native American communities in particular praising the casting choice), Hawkeye marks her first time on the screen ever.
At a press conference promoting the series, Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige explained that Cox came in as a “cold audition” and read several times for director Rhys Thomas. The latter said about the actor, “She just has amazing determination. She never performed before, but seemed completely unfazed when we came back and really sort of put her through the ringer. But she kind of walked into this universe like she should have always been there.”
And now she is there, and all the signs point to Echo/Maya/Alaqua becoming an important part of the MCU on the small screen and possibly beyond.
Hawkeye is streaming now on Disney+.