Marvel’s Eternals has made waves on several fronts. It directly referenced DC’s Superman, features an LGBTQ couple, and marked Marvel’s first ‘rotten’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. Another massive landmark was the inclusion of Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, the first deaf superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the Avenger Hawkeye marked one of Marvel’s first deaf superheroes in the comics.
Ridloff found herself tearing up before she saw Eternals at a special screening. After several delays due to COVID, Chloé Zhao’s movie rolled.
“‘It felt like it was a lifetime of waiting,’ Ridloff told Variety through the use of an American Sign Language interpreter. ‘I didn’t really see anyone like myself ever represented on the screen.’”
Ridloff’s Makkari became the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first deaf superhero in the Eternals.
Lauren Ridloff, who will play Makkari in ‘Eternals’ will be the MCU’s first deaf superhero pic.twitter.com/MP96OdBjVs
“Finally seeing Makkari appear on the screen — wow,” she said. “It was definitely life-changing. And I hope that this has the same impact on different communities, people who have been marginalized or are underrepresented in this industry.”
All of this came about from Zhao wanting to diversify the Eternals, Celestials, and Deviants from the comics.
Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari could hardly appear more different from her comic counterpart. In the Marvel comics, Makkari appeared as a hearing white male.
The most prevalent deaf superhero in Marvel comics was a hero who was with the Avengers since Thor. Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, has been deaf since the 1980s.
However, Hawkeye does not live with total deafness. The Avenger is canonically 80% deaf due to an injury from events that have changed over the years. While the character has a long history of being deaf, Renner’s take on the character is not.
Disney is reportedly looking to cast two deaf actors to join Alaqua Cox in 'Hawkeye' spinoff series 'Echo,' with filming scheduled for Feb. 2022
Cox is playing Echo / Maya Lopez in 'Hawkeye'
(via alaquacox | IG) pic.twitter.com/kefpZGMR20
Unlike Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari in the Eternals, Hawkeye never lived with deafness from birth. Another comic character has, though.
Maya Lopez, AKA Echo, debuted in the 1990s, born entirely deaf. However, her deafness worked as an advantage when facing villains with sound-based powers. Her status as a deaf Native American superhero made her unlike any other superhero.
Echo looks to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Disney+ show Hawkeye, played by Alaqua Cox. However, fans suspect that Echo might not serve as the only deaf superhero on the show.
Fans spotted a detail in the Hawkeye trailer where the hero wore hearing aids.
“Hawkeye first lost his hearing in  when a sonic arrowhead blasted his eardrums,” Hearing Like Me reported. “That detail was written out in later installments, but in 2014, it was reintroduced during a fight when a gunshot left Hawkeye with serious hearing damage.”
Deaf Activist Calls for Hawkeye to Be Deaf in Marvel Cinematic Universehttps://t.co/HnxQN3CIOR pic.twitter.com/AR7ZjwukJ2
While Renner’s Hawkeye never appeared deaf in the Marvel movies, something similar could happen in the Disney+ series.
This would make Echo and Hawkeye the second and third deaf superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari in Eternals.
With multiple deaf superheroes present, Marvel provides more diversity on screen. More and more people find themselves represented as a hero.
Hawkeye releases on Disney+ November 24, 2021.
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