Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for all five episodes of Echo.

The Big Picture

Echo is the first official Marvel Studios spin-off show and the first under the Marvel Spotlight brand. Echo’s superpower of replicating physical actions is unique in the Marvel Universe. The show explores Echo’s Indigenous heritage and features powers drawn from her ancestors in the Choctaw tribe.

Echo makes its debut today on Disney+ (and its sister streamer Hulu), marking the beginning of a few new trends. It’s the first official spin-off of a Marvel Studios show, taking place after the events of Hawkeye. It’s also the first series under the Marvel Spotlight banner — which aims to tackle more mature fare than what’s been previously seen from Marvel Studios’ film and television projects. Finally, it may be the one Marvel Studios project to feature a character with a truly unique superpower through protagonist Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox).

This is truly unprecedented territory for the MCU, as many of the heroes and villains that populate this world possess some form of superhuman ability. Whether it’s via the Infinity Stones, radioactive spiders, or even mastery over the mystic arts, Marvel heroes have that one singular element that puts them above the pack. For Maya to rely solely on her own physical abilities and fighting prowess not only makes her a standout in the world of Marvel’s heroes, but it also makes the Marvel Spotlight brand truly unique. Here’s a rundown of what Echo’s original comics abilities are, and how they’ve changed in the television show.


Maya Lopez must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward.

What Are Maya Lopez’s Abilities in Marvel Comics?

In Marvel comics, Maya Lopez has the ability to physically replicate any action she sees, whether it’s something as simple as a man juggling or an intricate dance. She first displayed these abilities when her adoptive father — Wilson Fisk, better known as the Kingpin of Crime — sent her to a school for children with disabilities. Maya was able to perfectly play a song on the piano after one of her teachers had done it, which piqued the interest of Fisk. He had previously told her that his longtime rival Daredevil was responsible for the murder of her father, and had her hone her abilities until she was able to corner and subdue the Man without Fear. Yet there was a wrinkle: Maya had fallen in love with Daredevil’s alter ego, Matt Murdock. Murdock tells Maya that Fisk was truly responsible for her father’s death, and she shot the crime lord in the face, blinding him — an event that was replicated in the Hawkeye finale.

Feeling lost after her confrontation with Fisk, Maya traveled to Japan, unaware that she would find a new purpose as well as new allies. She donned the mantle of the mysterious Ronin, and investigated the criminal activities of the Silver Samurai. Soon, conflict between the Samurai and the death cult known as the Hand drew in the newly reformed Avengers. Maya ended up joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, eventually infiltrating the Hand. She possessed a wide range of weaponry as Ronin, including shuriken and twin katanas, and was able to hold her own against a variety of foes including the Silver Samurai and Elektra. After a brief romantic entanglement with Moon Knight and her apparent death and resurrection (par for the course in the superheroic realm), Maya would become the host of an even greater power.

Echo Becomes the Host of the Phoenix Force in Marvel Comics

Echo, alongside other heroes, joins a cosmic contest by the Phoenix Force. The all-powerful entity sought its new host by splitting itself up into fragments and empowering Earth’s heroes with them – then forced them to fight to see who was the last hero standing. Despite losing her battle against Namor, Echo’s conviction as well as her unwillingness to die made an impact on the Phoenix. It chose her as its new host, empowering her with its cosmic fire as well as granting her new abilities. She could now communicate telepathically with others, and her combat skills were augmented by superhuman strength.

The Phoenix Song: Echo miniseries from Rebecca Roanhorse and Luca Maresca further dives into Maya’s connection with the Phoenix. Struggling with her newfound cosmic power, she returns to the reservation where she grew up and ends up in a confrontation with the X-Men’s master of machines, Forge. Having seen what the Phoenix Force did to Jean Grey and other mutants, Forge was hellbent on stripping it from Maya. But he fails — and eventually Maya burns the Phoenix out of herself during a battle to save all of time and space.

Echo Receives a New Set of Abilities in Her Show, Tied to Her Heritage

Image via Disney+

The MCU is known to shake things up from its source material, and Echo is no exception. Though it’s kept the source of Maya being Kingpin’s adoptive niece as well as their antagonistic relationship following her turn to heroism, director Sydney Freeland has said that Maya’s Indigenous heritage will play a large role in her journey. “I will say that Maya’s culture plays a huge crucial role in our show and it’s going to inform who she is and who she’ll become, and I think one of the things we always wanted to do is explore the ancestral side of where Maya comes from,” Freeland told Total Film in an interview. Freeland also mentioned that the series will leap through time to explore Maya’s ancestors — and this turns out to be the source of her new powers.

Throughout Echo, Maya receives flashes of her ancestors in the Choctaw tribe and draws upon their skills. From a sharpshooter to an athlete, Maya can draw upon a unique set of skills that aids her in combat against Fisk’s men. She also draws upon her late mother’s ability to heal others, stopping Fisk in his tracks and forcing him to confront his childhood trauma by reexperiencing his repressed memories. The Choctaw Nation helped consult on Echo, and their influence helps make this version of Maya Lopez unique while still touching upon her comic book roots of “echoing” others.

All episodes of Echo are available to stream on Hulu and Disney+.

Watch on Hulu

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