You can’t have a Marvel story without a villain. In the first two episodes of Hawkeye, the avenging archer gets hounded hard by a whole bunch of goons in tracksuits known as, well, the Tracksuit Mafia. They aren’t exactly original, but they know how to make a mean Molotov cocktail. Still, they ain’t on the level of Agatha Harkness or, like, Kang. Who’s gonna make Clint Barton and Kate Bishop’s life miserable for the next five weeks?
We find out at the end of Episode 2 when one of the tracksuit goons tells a mystery woman that the two heroes she ordered have been delivered. So, who is that mystery woman? And who plays her? And is she really the show’s major villain, or is this all just a misunderstanding? Let’s break down what we know.
Who is the character at the end of Hawkeye Episode 2?
That character is Maya Lopez, also known as Echo.
Who is Echo on Hawkeye?
We don’t know much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Maya Lopez/Echo—yet. We do know that she’s the brains behind the Tracksuit Mafia and that she’s the one who had them capture Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. We don’t, however, know if she’s their leader or if she merely hired them. We also don’t know what she wants with our archer odd couple. Is she the villain of Hawkeye? We will have to wait and see.
Who is Echo in the comics?
In the Marvel comics, Echo is primarily a Daredevil supporting character. Created by David Mack and Joe Quesada, Maya Lopez debuted in 1999’s Daredevil #9. She was initially aligned with Daredevil’s archenemy Wilson Fisk, the crime boss known as Kingpin. After Maya’s father was killed under orders from Kingpin, he took the deaf orphan under his wing and sent her to away to study at the most prestigious schools. As she grew up, she honed her natural talent of mimicry. She can echo the movements of anyone she sees, including their fighting styles (yes, just like Black Widow baddie Taskmaster).
Decades later, now a young adult, Kingpin sent Maya Lopez on a mission to kill Daredevil. Believing Daredevil killed her father, Maya attacked the man without fear in her new guise of Echo. But once Echo learned that it was actually Fisk who had her dad killed, she flipped sides, shot Kingpin, and became a superhero.
This is where things get tricky! Y’see, Echo actually joined the Avengers—but her teammates didn’t know it. Echo was the first character to use the Ronin identity when she joined the team in 2005’s New Avengers #11. She briefly served with the team as Ronin, eventually revealing to everyone that she was, in fact, Maya Lopez. Hawkeye didn’t take on the Ronin identity until a few years later.
So that’s who Echo is, and that’s who Alaqua Cox is playing.
Who is Alaqua Cox?
Hawkeye marks Alaqua Cox’s acting debut—and you gotta admit she’s perfect for the part. In the comics, Echo is deaf and is a member of the Cheyenne nation. For the role, Marvel Studios found Cox—who is deaf and of indigenous descent (Menominee and Mohican nation). Finding someone to play Echo involved a nationwide search, as executive producer Trinh Tran told Decider.
“We wanted to stay true to the character in the comics, and we wanted to make sure that, as we were casting this person, that we were looking for a Native American, and somebody from the deaf community. So our amazing casting director Sarah Finn had her work cut out for her,” said Tran. “She had to literally search the country for a potential Maya Lopez. She searched all over. And Alaqua auditioned, sent in a tape.”
Cox was new to the TV and film industry, but she didn’t let that stop her from going for a major role on a major TV show. “She was so determined to prove to us that she can bring this character to life,” said Tran. “So after many meetings, and after many auditions and putting her into stunt tests, and having Heidi Moneymaker, our amazing stunt coordinator, work with her to see how much she can deliver—and she killed in an audition tape. We absolutely were impressed at what she brought on screen.”
This is Alaqua Cox’s first time onscreen, but it definitely won’t be her last. There’s already a spinoff centered around Echo one the way, so Echo’s story is just beginning.