Marvel's True to Life Echo
Marvel has always been a progressive storyteller. Their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Hawkeye series has made their efforts more authentic by placing Deaf actress Alaqua Cox in the role of Echo.
Who is Echo?
Echo made her first appearance in Daredevil #9 as one of Matt Murdock’s love interests. Her proper name is Maya Lopez. Echo is the creation of Joe Quesada and David Mack. What makes Echo super? Similar to Task Master, Maya’s superhero ability is mimicry.
The MCU takes a lot of liberties with the traditional print canon. In her original comic book representation, Maya’s origin is the daughter of Willie Lincoln and part of the Cheyenne Nation. She becomes an understudy of Kingpin and one of his enforcers.
Echo’s MCU backstory seems to diverge from canon in Hawkeye. The flashbacks of her youth don’t indicate an upbringing by Kingpin. This means we shouldn’t expect any association with Daredevil either.
Who Is Alaqua Cox?
Alaqua Cox is a Deaf actress who communicates in American Sign Language (ASL). Her presence in the show provides an important opportunity to showcase ASL and the Deaf community. Echo is a complex character with a rich backstory, and Alaqua’s portrayal is sure to be authentic and resonant.
The importance of Echo as a Deaf character is amplified by the fact that Alaqua Cox, Echo’s actress, also uses ASL to communicate. Echo has an emotional backstory and it will be important for viewers to see her story reflected authentically and accurately through Alaqua.
Alaqua is not only Echo on Marvel’s Echo in Hawkeye, she is also an accomplished actress. Alaqua has starred in the films A Girl Like Her and The Deaf Family. In addition to her work as an actor, Alaqua also advocates for the Deaf community.
In Echo, Marvel has created a complex and compelling character that will be brought to life by an actress who is herself Deaf and communicates in ASL. This is a groundbreaking opportunity to showcase the beauty and power of the Deaf community.
Will Alaqua Cox Be Replaced in Echo?
Disney+ has announced Echo will get her own series. A casting call for a younger Echo shouldn’t leave anyone to hope her backstory will include Wilson Fisk or any of the Marvel Knights storyline.
For now, we have an older Echo in Hawkeye with Alaqua Cox. She too scored the role in response to Disney’s casting search requesting a female actress Native American or Latinx, Deaf.
Now that Alaqua has portrayed Echo in Hawkeye, the question is will Disney/Marvel recast her role for their intended spinoff?
Her presence in the show is sure to inspire others to learn more about American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Alaqua Cox’s Echo will be a role model for all viewers until a fresh new Echo is released on Disney+.
A casting call for a younger actress from age of 15 to 18 may mean Alaqua’s role as an older Echo is short-lived. Just like Alaqua, Disney is requiring those who answer this next casting call to be fluent in ASL.
The requirement for a younger actress is an apparent clue the Echo series will be an origin story. Regardless of where Marvel takes the Echo character in the upcoming series, Alaqua Cox’s Echo is a role model for all viewers, and her presence in the show is sure to inspire others to learn more about American Sign Language and the Deaf community.
Alaqua Cox Trivia
Alaqua Cox is both Deaf & amputee.
Echo is a chaotic neutral character who leans more towards good than neutral as an anti-hero.
Lauren Ridloff is the MCU's first deaf actress. She portrayed Makkari in the MCU's Eternals released in November 2021.