Back in 2021, Marvel’s series Hawkeye debuted a supporting superhero who is deaf and an amputee: Echo. In the TV miniseries, Echo is an indigenous young woman gifted with super strength and desire for vengeance. Now in 2024, her success working alongside the titular Hawkeye earned her own miniseries!
Embracing Diversity on Screen
In her groundbreaking role as Echo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Alaqua Cox brings a unique perspective and challenges traditional norms. The character Echo, also known as Maya Lopez, communicates primarily through American Sign Language. Cox herself is an amputee, adding another layer to her character Echo. This representation is one of the first for Disney and Marvel to broadcast as a main focus of their show.
Sydney Freeland, the director of the show and herself indigenous, emphasizes the importance of showcasing Echo’s ASL communication in close-ups. This deliberate choice aims to highlight the beauty and power of sign language, making the character’s journey more authentic and relatable. The close-ups serve as a visual celebration of diversity, reinforcing the idea that heroes come in all forms.
It is worth noting that one of Echo’s original creators is David Mack, an accomplished comic artist who happens to be on the Autism Spectrum himself. Mack was already working on the Daredevil series when he created Echo with Joe Quesada– increasing disability awareness in media and entertainment back in 1999!
Cox’s Personal Influence on Echo
Cox’s personal journey adds another layer of depth to her portrayal of Echo. In an exclusive interview with People, she reflects on her experiences growing up on the Menominee Indian reservation. She recalls being bullied for her deafness and being an amputee and spoke of how she turned those challenges into strengths, which helped her channel into her role as Echo.
Where to Watch
Marvel fans eager to witness Alaqua Cox’s performance as Echo can catch her on Disney+.
Alaqua Cox’s journey, both on and off-screen, serves as a representation of the importance of embracing diversity in storytelling. As audiences tune in to watch Echo on Disney+, they are not only watching a superhero’s adventures but also contributing to a positive shift in the portrayal of characters with disabilities.