IF YOU HAVEN’T been able to tell already, the Marvel Comics are a completely different beast from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With over five decades of storytelling at its arsenal, Marvel has access to countless characters, each with various different versions of themselves. Converting all of that into the MCU means that filmmakers don’t just have to condense years of world-building into an hour and a half to two hours, but they can also to pick and choose which versions of Marvel characters they wanted to portray. Once that’s put into a complex cinematic franchise built up over a decade, though, it’s hard to make changes from there for the sake of keeping continuity.

And as the MCU becomes more like the comics–adding more and more characters into the cinematic canon and lore–it means continually making hard decisions about what powers those character have, and what their backstories are. While it may seem like nothing for minor characters, there are still die-hard fans of even the most obscure comic book characters who want them to be immortalized on screen in their best possible forms.

When it comes to Marvel’s Echo, director Sydney Freeland made a major decision: Maya Lopez (played by Alaqua Cox), would have different powers than what she has in the comics. In an interview with Variety, Freeland didn’t want to spoil the changes she made, but made it clear how she felt about the original Echo’s abilities.

“Her power in the comic books is that she can copy anything, any movement, any whatever. It’s kind of lame,” Freeland told the publication. “I will say, that is not her power [in the show].”

So what are Maya’s powers in the MCU show Echo? Beware of spoilers from the 5-episode series below, but here’s what you need to know.

Marvel Studios

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Echo.

In the comics, Echo’s powers are the ability to copy anyone’s fighting style. Be it Captain America, Black Widow, or any other major person in the Marvel comics, Echo can imitate anyone to an impressive accuracy. And notably, once she learns those skills, they never go away, meaning she can later incorporate them into other fights. (This is not far off from the powers of popular Marvel villain Taskmaster, who was depicted on screen in 2021’s Black Widow).

The Disney+ Echo show, however, makes a drastic change to Maya’s powers (similar to how Ms. Marvel changed Kamala’s comic book powers). Rather than Maya “echoing” others’s abilities, Maya now has a different power thanks to her ancestors.

We first see her powers manifest in Episode 2, when Maya jumps onto one of Kingpin’s trains running through Oklahoma. As she prepares to leave the train, symbols begin to glow on her hands.

As the series progresses, Maya also sees visions of her ancestors and the various skills and strength they displayed in their past lives. When speaking to her grandmother, who also has the same visions, Maya learns her Choctaw ancestors are “echoing” to her. She then understands the full strength of her power when her late mother appears in Episode 5, and we see a memory of her mother healing a bird Maya accidentally injured as a child.

Marvel Studios

Maya’s full powers are revealed during the climax of the episode, when she has her final showdown with Kingpin. Although we don’t know the true extent of her powers, it appears that when she touches someone, she’s able to heal them, as dives into Kingpin’s mind and takes away much of his anger, which stems, in this case, from the emotionally intense moment of his childhood when he killed his abusive father with a hammer (the very hammer he offered to Maya earlier in the series). And it works, too—Kingpin retreats from his threat to kill (the rest of) Maya’s family, and even looks more thoughtful and introspective aboard his private plane in the episode’s mid-credits scene.

As for her fighting ability, Maya’s athletic prowess has also improved due to her connection with her ancestors. At the end of the final violent fight against Kingpin’s men, we see Maya standing proud, with various women from her past flanking her.

While Maya’s story may be finished (although as the first “Marvel Spotlight” show, anything is possible), we’ll hopefully see her powers again as the character could reappear in Daredevil: Born Again.

Milan Polk

Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.

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