Marvel’s Disney+ series, “Hawkeye,” is getting a lot of attention, in part due to breakout star Alaqua Cox, who plays the mysterious villain, Echo. To give fans a bit more understanding of the incredible woman behind the character, Marvel has released a featurette called “Becoming Maya.” It doesn’t give us any major details about the character herself but rather shows off just how impressive Cox is in her debut role and proves that taking the time to find the right person for a role can be extremely rewarding.
In the featurette, producer Trinh Tran explains that the folks behind “Hawkeye” went on a global search to find the perfect person to portray Maya Lopez, who becomes the superhero Echo. It was important that they stay true to the character in the comics, who is Indigenous and Deaf, and they wanted to bring authenticity to the role. They put out casting calls around the globe, and Cox’s friends pushed her to audition despite her lack of experience. Prior to “Hawkeye,” Cox had only performed background roles in school plays, but now she would be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Cox grew up on the Menominee Reservation in northeastern Wisconsin. While “Hawkeye” is her first major acting gig, her co-stars and directors all believe that she has what it takes to be a big star. Director Bertie, of the directing duo Bert and Bertie, shared her experience watching Cox perform:
Cox’s first appearance on “Hawkeye” as Echo is equally breathtaking, as she emanates a kind of cold rage that’s reminiscent of who fans are speculating is her infamous “uncle.” While she’s more than able to hold her own with her “Hawkeye” co-stars, it will be interesting to see how she leads a series of her own when the “Echo” spin-off eventually debuts.
The biggest takeaway from the featurette is that taking the time to find someone as authentic to the role as Cox ultimately paid off. Her life experience makes her understand the role in a way others cannot, and she’s living proof that proper representation in acting can be done right. Cox shares that her biggest excitement isn’t even just being in the series, necessarily, but that she’s showing others out there that “for people with disabilities, anything is possible.”
In addition to being Deaf, Cox also wears a prosthetic leg. She’s the perfect embodiment of the character Echo, who has also faced adversities throughout her life as both an Indigenous person and a Deaf woman. She inspires hope for people out there who didn’t think they could achieve their dreams because of their circumstances.
I’ll be honest here — Echo is one of my favorite Marvel characters, and I was incredibly nervous when I heard that she would be joining the MCU. Thanks to the creators behind “Hawkeye” and Alaqua Cox herself, all of my fears have been laid to rest. Now I just want to see her face off against Charlie Cox’s Daredevil for some comic book Cox on Cox action.