It’s not every day that you make your entrance into the Marvel Universe and are also guaranteed a solo project within that universe, but such is the case for Hawkeye‘s Alaqua Cox whose character Maya Lopez was fully introduced in the show’s third episode.
The character who also goes by Echo is both Native American and deaf, two things that executive producers Trinh Tran and Kevin Feige were adamant about representing onscreen. As a deaf, Native American actress, Cox checked both those boxes but also brings her own unique spin to the comic character.
“Marvel, Kevin Fiege, and Trinh Tran felt so strongly about finding an actor like Alaqua who is deaf, and going on that journey with her and supporting her,” series director Bert, of the duo Bert & Bertie, tells TV Insider. “They supported her every step of the way and obviously are supporting her into the future,” she adds, referring to the fact that Disney+ has already ordered the spinoff series Echo for Marvel’s upcoming slate of TV projects, meaning viewers are about to see a lot more of Cox.
In terms of carrying the weight of such a big introduction, Bert says, “I think it was important to introduce her in a very human way because that character’s going to evolve… This is a complex human story, and [it’s important] to show that she has a family and she isn’t just the baddie.”
Bert also notes that she and Bertie “love the fact that [Maya]’s the head of the mafia. Of course, she means the head of the Tracksuit Mafia, not the entire operation. That duty belongs to a faceless man who was teased to be Maya’s “Uncle” in the episode’s flashback sequence.
Many fans believe it could be the introduction of Kingpin into the MCU, a possibility that seems stronger than ever after Feige’s confirmation that Charlie Cox would be the actor to fill Matt Murdock’s shoes in any future projects utilizing the character. Charlie Cox starred as the titular hero in Netflix’s since-canceled series Daredevil from 2015 to 2018, a show in which Vincent D’Onofrio portrayed Kingpin, a.k.a. Wilson Fisk.
While Bert & Bertie can’t reveal any true clues about Maya’s “Uncle” in the show, when asked about some of the signage on his places of business, like “Fat Man Auto Repair,” being a possible reference to his identity, Bertie teased that “yes,” fans can read into that a bit. “We love that the Marvel fans are just so brilliant [and have] all those theories.”
“It’s kind of like a treasure hunt for Marvel fans,” Bertie continues. “Sometimes they’re on the money and sometimes it’s like, ‘wow, where did that come from?'” But all theories aside, viewers will see more of Maya’s badassery as the season continues. “Alaqua is just such a real-life hero,” Bertie muses. “She’s had to overcome so much in her life and she does it with such grace and she’s so understanding that we were learning how to work with her.”
In order to get things just right, the show utilized a team of deaf consultants and interpreters, who Bertie shares helped invent certain terms and translate them into ASL (American Sign Language). “[They] were inventing ASL names for different characters like Black Widow and the sign for what that was.”
As Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) continue their journey this season, expect to see more of Maya’s story unfold as well with the help of Bert & Bertie. And in the meantime, get to know Maya a little better in the featurette, below.
Hawkeye, New Episodes, Wednesdays, Disney+