Marvel’s ‘Echo’ Star Alaqua Cox Says the Series’ Impact Still ‘Feels So Surreal’

TheWrap magazine: “I’ll see myself on the screen as an ad and it just kind of hits me all over again,” the actress says

Echo Maya Lopez Alaqua Cox
Alaqua Cox in "Echo." (Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney+)

Alaqua Cox wasn’t even a full week into filming “Hawkeye,” her first professional acting job, when she found out that she was getting her own Marvel series. Naturally, she was overwhelmed. But now, five months after “Echo” premiered on Disney+ and Hulu, Cox is still wrapping her head around her career upturn and what it meant.

“Sometimes I sit and I’m like, Whoa, I still honestly can’t believe that I got my own MCU show,” Cox told TheWrap. “And I made history. And we all made history.”

It was in “Hawkeye” that Cox made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Maya Lopez (a.k.a. Echo), a young woman who is part of the criminal organization run by Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio).

But when she finds out Kingpin ordered the murder of her father, she is determined to kill the crime lord. “Echo” picks up from there, with Maya returning to her hometown in Oklahoma and plotting to turn Kingpin’s empire into her own.

The series marked several firsts for Marvel. It was the first MCU series to debut on both Disney+ and Hulu; it was the first to receive a TV-MA rating; and, most significantly, it was the first series to star an indigenous amputee who is deaf. Knowing all of that heading into the show’s release, there was certainly a level of pressure. The weight of it still hits Cox.

“Sometimes, I’ll watch a TV show on Disney+ or Hulu and I’ll see myself on the screen as an ad and it just kind of hits me all over again,” she said. “It still just feels so surreal. I’m so happy to have this platform to be able to advocate for the communities that I represent.”

She continued, “These communities are so underrepresented, and I’m excited to be able to open doors for them. And hopefully, Hollywood will give them more opportunities to have our voices be heard. So I’m looking forward to that.”

Cox has started going to fan conventions since the series release, where she sees that impact up close. For her, the best part has been encountering fans who dress up as Maya. “I’ve seen a bunch of different versions of the ‘Hawkeye’ version and the ‘Echo’ version with the white handprint on the face,” she said. “It’s just so cool to see what they come up with. And even men are wearing it too! I think it’s so cool when the men dress up like Maya because they’re representing as well.”

At this point, the future of Maya Lopez in the MCU is unclear. Cox would love to see a second season of ‘Echo’, or perhaps even get to play in the upcoming limited series ‘Daredevil: Born Again,’ which will reunite D’Onofrio and Charlie Cox (no relation to Alaqua) as Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil, who popped in briefly on ‘Echo.’

Prior to joining the MCU, Alaqua had never considered pursuing an acting career. But she’s changed her mind. She just doesn’t want to get stuck playing villainous or morally gray characters like Maya all the time.

“I want to keep acting, yes, but I want to try something new,” she said. “I want to try different roles, maybe a comedy or horror or thriller, some things like that. I don’t want to play a bad guy. Because, you know, it’s very tough to get into that bad guy character. There’s a lot of emotion involved. So, I think I’d rather do a new role, try new things.”

“Echo” is now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

This story first appeared in the Limited Series/Movies issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine. Read more from our issue here.

Hoa Xuande The Sympathizer cover
Hoa Xuande photographed by Elizabeth Weinberg for TheWrap

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