'Echo' director on exploring the 'grittier side' of Marvel

Alaqua Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio star in the new Disney+ series.

January 11, 2024, 11:28 AM

After making her debut in "Hawkeye" in 2021, Alaqua Cox is back as Maya Lopez in her own Marvel Studios series on Disney+, "Echo."

Many fans were surprised to learn the show, which focuses on Cox's character, a deaf assassin, would be released under the new, more mature Marvel Spotlight banner.

"We saw the trailer launch and, for myself, just because I've been living with this for so long, you don't think about how different that impact might be, you know?" Sydney Freeland, who directed and executive produced the series, told ABC Audio.

PHOTO: Alaqua Cox, as Maya Lopez, in Marvel Studios' "Echo."
Alaqua Cox, as Maya Lopez, in Marvel Studios' "Echo."
Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

She added with a laugh, "And then ... I was texting with my producer and we were like, 'The comments! The comments!'"

Freeland continued, "When we initially came on board the project, I think one of the most interesting aspects about the character to me was the fact that she was a villain, you know? And then having the conversations with Marvel ... the response was ... 'Let's see how far we can push the envelope."

The director explained that Maya's story is "more grounded" and "a little on the grittier side."

PHOTO: Vincent D'Onofrio, as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, in Marvel Studios' "Echo."
Vincent D'Onofrio, as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, in Marvel Studios' "Echo."
Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Vincent D'Onofrio reprises as the brutal crime lord Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin, who acted as an uncle to Maya in her youth.

"You had two actors on opposite ends of the experience spectrum, right? You had Alaqua ... this is her first real production, aside from a few days in 'Hawkeye.' And then you've got Vincent, who has ... worked with Stanley Kubrick and he's done hundreds of episodes of television," Freeland said. "You put the two of them in ... a room together. And they just they just click and they just vibe."

All five episodes of "Echo" are now streaming on Disney+.

Marvel is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News and "Good Morning America."

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