- Echo is Marvel’s first show with a deaf and Native American lead, marking an important step forward for representation in the MCU.
- The show is breaking new ground by being the first Marvel Studios production to be released on both Disney+ and Hulu simultaneously.
- Echo has a TV-MA rating, allowing Marvel to explore darker and more violent themes, signaling a willingness to take risks and push boundaries in future releases.
Marvel just released the trailer for its newest Disney+ original MCU series, Echo, and the show has already broken four major firsts for the studio before its release. First appearing in the 2021 limited series Hawkeye, Echo is the alter ego of Maya Lopez, a deaf and Native American woman who was mentored by Daredevil’s arch nemesis Kingpin. After her villainous actions in Hawkeye, in which she was adamant about avenging her father’s death, Echo in the series finds that her behavior in New York City has caught up with her back home. Now, she must reconnect with her family and her heritage and finally confront her past to move forward.
The release of Echo’s trailer marks four major firsts for Marvel Studios, signaling a significant step in the right direction for the MCU. Echo‘s unique airing structure, which will drop all season 1 episodes at once instead of one per week, is a new experiment for the studio, as is the fact that the episodes will be released on Hulu day and date with Disney+.
- First Marvel Studios production to be released on Disney+ and Hulu at the same time
- First Marvel Studios show available to binge all at once
- First Marvel Studios show rated TV-MA
- First Marvel Studios show or movie with a deaf and Native American lead.
Moreover, Echo is the MCU’s first foray into TV-MA content, which is backed up by the violent, bloody trailer. Perhaps most importantly, though, Echo will mark the first Marvel Studios project with either a deaf or Native American lead. While none of these inherently tie to high quality, it’s exciting to see Marvel try new things in an attempt to fix its recent troubles.
Why The Echo Show Is An Important Step Forward For Marvel
Echo is an important step forward for Marvel as the first MCU project with a deaf and Native American lead. Its creators were reportedly very intentional about ensuring its representation of Maya and her community was accurate and sensitive (per Variety). In addition to centering Native and deaf contributors both in front of and behind the camera—Alaqua Cox, who portrays Maya, is deaf and of Mohican descent, while executive producer Sydney Freeland is Navajo, to name a couple—the crew consulted extensively with members of Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation to inform the development of Maya’s Choctaw identity. The crew also took ASL classes to better understand Maya, who communicates mostly through signing.
Beyond its groundbreaking representation, Echo also stands out for being the MCU’s first Disney+ original that has a TV-MA rating. The MCU has maintained a family-friendly, PG-13 image for over a decade now, so Echo will be an excellent opportunity for it to explore how heroes and villains function in a more gritty, violent environment. Shots from the trailer already hint at how bloody and gruesome the fight scenes can be, so audiences will be able to explore a new visual and tonal aesthetic with the show. Its rating lends well to its release on Hulu, as it can reach a wider audience interested in more adult themes.
It’s fitting that Echo has such strong narrative ties to Daredevil, as Daredevil was also a TV-MA rated Marvel show. Because graphic depictions of violence are so integral to his story, there was speculation as to how he would be incorporated into future MCU projects, with its more wholesome tones. Echo appears to be a seamless consolidation of previously non-MCU properties and new MCU storylines. Marvel establishing that it can explore darker themes and imagery in its canon is a great sign that it will take more risks with its future releases. Echo appears to be a promising step in more gritty, real-life depictions of Marvel characters.
All episodes of Echo will be available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu on January 10, 2024.