Marvel Studios never shies away from unprecedented moves—and their new trailer for Echo, the first Marvel project assigned a TV-MA rating, will not disappoint. The series, premiering on both Hulu and Disney+, should be a heart-stopper, if only because the trailer revels in a true onslaught of grit, violence, and realism. It’s not for the faint of heart.
The trailer is anything if not strikingly intense. While the gritty edginess, characterized by TV-MA-level content, breaks ground—the story does so as well. As fans of the comic and Deadpool universe will know, Echo, otherwise known as Maya Lopez—played in the series by Alaqua Cox—amounts to a relatively unique figure in the Marvel Universe, possessing background and abilities setting her apart.
First appearing in “Daredevil” #9 in December 1999, created by writer David Mack and artist Joe Quesada, the superhero is Native American and one of the few deaf characters in comics. Maya boasts “photographic reflexes”—an extraordinary ability to mirror perfectly any physical action, including complex fighting styles, acrobatic maneuvers, and other characters’ signature moves.
Beyond constituting the only TV-MA-rated offering by Marvel, the series will also be its first project to launch simultaneously on Disney+ and Hulu, heralding a new phase in streaming. Diverging from Disney+’s typical—albeit controversial—episodic release model, Echo fans can binge the entire Marvel series in one sitting.
One thing is clear: if the studio behind Daredevil intends to launch the program sporting the TV-MA rating on both streaming platforms, then clearly, it’s comfortable embracing more mature subject matter. From a business standpoint, the studio certainly bets that producing mature content will expand its reach.
The upcoming TV-MA venture will serve as a spiritual successor to Daredevil —and by that we mean the widely lauded series on Netflix produced by Marvel TV rather than Marvel Studios. Indeed, Echo’s violent, uber-atmospheric trailer evokes the shadowy sensibility of Marvel’s Daredevil; fans of the series will rejoice seeing Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio reprising their respective roles as Daredevil and the villainous Kingpin.
Along these same lines, Brad Winderbaum, head of streaming, television, and animation at Marvel Studios, conceptualized the Alaqua Cox-led series as a venture into darker territory, implying a new path for the studio’s brand. For his part, the project’s director, Sydney Freeland, underscored how the series would entail a unique tone steeped in real-world consequences.
Standing out all the more for its main protagonist, an Indigenous person who is also deaf, Echo highlights how representation ranks highly among Marvel’s priorities, something we’re all happy to see. Not shy contending with the above-mentioned real-world consequences, the project’s narrative will explore Maya Lopez’s background and heritage, alongside her transformation into Echo, the latter journey begun by a family tragedy and Echo’s dalliance with villainy.
Echo, Marvel’s momentous foray into more mature streaming content, premieres January 10.