Who Is Echo In Hawkeye? Explaining The MCU's New Villain

Marvel's "Hawkeye" is rolling right along on Disney+ and as of today, we are at the halfway mark of the series with episode 3, titled "Echoes." It turns out that title was rather appropriate, as we ended up getting a proper introduction to the character of Echo, aka Maya Lopez, played by Alaqua Cox. Given that we are getting an entire TV show about her, she is going to be an important character within the confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe from her on out. So, let's dive into who this character is, and what it might mean in the short-term, as well as the long-term for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Echo's Comic Book Origins

The character of Echo came to be back in 1999 in the pages of "Daredevil," specifically issue #9 of that particular series. David Mack and Joe Quesada brought her to life and they ended up crafting a character with a lot of meat on the bones, from a story perspective. She is of Native American descent and also deaf, making her a true rarity in mainstream comics. Also of particular importance, she is the adopted daughter of none other than Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin. Given that many have theorized that Vincent D'Onofrio is going to return as Kingpin in "Hawkeye," that is not at all insignificant. And there were certainly lots of potential winks and nods pointing in that direction during episode 3.

Also of importance as it relates to this episode's story, Maya Lopez was actually the first person in the pages of Marvel Comics to take up the Ronin persona. This happened in "The New Avengers" #11 back in 2005. As we know, Clint Barton became Ronin in "Avengers: Endgame" following the death of his family, and Ronin has been playing a big part in this show. So it is very important that her character has deep comic book ties to that identity.

Who Is Echo In Hawkeye?

So, how has the character been adapted to fit into the confines of the MCU and, more specifically, "Hawkeye?" Well, we got a tiny look at Echo at the end of episode 2, but this served as a significant introduction to the one they call Maya Lopez. The cold open of the episode actually gives us a glimpse into her upbringing and tragic backstory. Her father clearly did his best to toughen her up for the world.

We see her doing martial arts as a youngster, and this cool scene of her kicking a much larger kid's ass with ease is more important than one might think. In the comics, Echo is an excellent mimic. She watched this kid once, then knew how to beat him. It seems this was a strong reference to her abilities. It also appears they are being quite faithful to the character thus far, which is pretty neat.

Things really kick into gear when, as an adult, Echo has an encounter with Ronin who, rather tragically, appears to end up killing her father. We know that Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton had a bad run-in with these guys in the past as they have done some "bad stuff." Much of that past remains vague for now. But what is important is that Maya now has a vendetta against Ronin. Following his tragic demise, Maya took up her father's mantle and wound up in charge of the Tracksuit Mafia. Thus, this explains why the gang of thugs has been at the center of this show from the beginning.

For now, Echo/Maya Lopez is serving as the primary antagonist of the show. But that is just for now. With her "uncle" looming large in the background and the impending arrival of Black Widow's sister, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Clint and Kate Bishop will have much to contend with. For the time being, Echo is at the top of that list, as she wants revenge. Just wait until she figures out who Ronin really is.

Echo's Future In the MCU

In the immediate future, we have questions about who Echo's uncle might be, given the ominous conversation that was had between her and Kazi (Fra Fee). "They started small and grew, but it's the guy at the top," Clint mentions in the episode in discussing the Tracksuit Mafia. He then says that there is "someone above Maya, someone you don't want to mess with." This is seemingly her uncle, and presumably someone we will get to know sooner rather than later. Kingpin, anyone? Or is this another misdirect? Don't say Mephisto. I won't say Mephisto.

Come what may of the remaining episodes of "Hawkeye," it's safe to say Cox is going to have a significant role to play in them. But the big thing is that Marvel Studios is developing a full-on "Echo" spin-off series, which was formally confirmed during Disney+ Day several weeks back. This to say, Cox is going to have a big future in the MCU. This is not just a one-and-done character. Marvel sees this as someone who can truly be a major player in this universe for some time. That is all the more impressive given that Cox had never acted professionally before this show, and is deaf in real life. Talk about making one hell of an entrance in Hollywood.

"Hawkeye" returns with new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.