Maya Lopez is officially a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The character, played by Alaqua Cox, made her brief MCU debut as Echo at the end of Hawkeye’s second episode, and the show’s latest installment basically picks up where its predecessor left off. But before Hawkeye Episode 3 catches back up with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), it takes a brief trip into the past to reveal Echo’s MCU origin story and introduce viewers to her late father, William (played by the always great Zahn McClarnon).
While Hawkeye sticks fairly close to Maya’s comic book backstory as well, it does make some important changes to her origins. And those changes may not only impact Hawkeye but also Marvel’s Echo Disney+ spin-off.
Echoes of the Past — In the comics, Maya Lopez is a deaf girl whose father works as an enforcer for Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin. However, after her father is killed on Kingpin’s orders, Maya is taken in and raised by Fisk, who later tells her that Daredevil is her father’s murderer. That lie sends Maya on a quest to get revenge on Daredevil, which ends with Matt Murdock revealing the truth to her.
In response to Fisk’s trickery, Maya shoots him and sets out on her own.
For the most part, Hawkeye Episode 3 presents a fairly faithful adaptation of Maya’s comic book origin story. The show reveals that Maya’s father is a member of the Tracksuit Mafia and heavily implies in one of its early scenes that he works directly under Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, who has long been rumored to have a role in Hawkeye. However, the episode also clearly shows that it’s Clint Barton/Ronin who slays her father, not Wilson Fisk or one of his men.
That’s a change that not only ties Echo’s MCU backstory directly into the central plot of Hawkeye but also raises some interesting possibilities for the character’s broader future.
A Bloody Handprint — Maya Lopez is, notably, one of several Marvel characters who has donned the Ronin mantle in the comics. With that in mind, her interest in catching Ronin in Hawkeye opens the door for Maya to adopt the moniker at some point in either Hawkeye, Echo, or some other future MCU project. That’s assuming, of course, she gives up her quest for vengeance by the time Hawkeye has come to an end.
More importantly, Hawkeye’s decision to make Clint responsible for William Lopez’s passing means Maya and Wilson Fisk’s relationship may play out very differently on-screen than it did in the comics. Without the shadow of her father’s murder hanging over the characters’ bond, Marvel will have to come up with a new way to complicate Maya’s relationship with Fisk, which will almost surely play a central role in the Echo Disney+ series.
(Again, that’s assuming William’s boss in the MCU does, indeed, turn out to be Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk. Fortunately, we’re pretty confident that’s the case.)
Hawkeye Episode 3’s prologue also concludes with Maya holding her father’s lifeless body, his bloody handprint still on her cheek. Maya’s father similarly leaves a bloody handprint on his daughter’s face when he dies in the comics, and she goes on to frequently paint a handprint on her face as an adult.
Therefore, while William’s bloody handprint in Hawkeye may be nothing more than a reference to the comics, viewers should probably prepare themselves for the possibility that Alaqua Cox’s Maya will eventually appear with painted handprints on her face in either Hawkeye or Echo.
The Inverse Analysis — Alaqua Cox makes quite the first impression as Maya Lopez/Echo in Hawkeye Episode 3, and it’s easy to see why Marvel is so interested in continuing the character’s MCU story after Hawkeye. But while we’ll have to wait to see exactly how Maya’s journey across Hawkeye and Echo plays out on-screen, the character’s MCU origin story does a lot to set the character on a compellingly different path than the one she took in the comics.
Hawkeye is streaming now on Disney+.