In the comics, there’s a reason why Maya Lopez is named “Echo.” It’s because her main superpower is the ability to copy and recreate any physical action she sees. An “echo,” if you must. But as we’ve seen on a previous Marvel Studios show, this Maya Lopez doesn’t have that power yet. Nor, do we think, will she get it at all. So what will her power be and how will she get it when she does?
That’s one of the more mysterious throughlines that weaves through Echo, the new Marvel Studios show debuting on Disney+ and Hulu on January 9. It’s not a mystery that Maya will have powers. Nor is it, after the show’s very first scene, a mystery where they come from. But how she herself will put all that together doesn’t happen immediately and io9 asked one of the show’s executive producers, Richie Palmer, about the decision process behind that choice. Watch a video below or read more after.
“Her powers in the show come from a connection to her ancestors,” Palmer told io9. “[Director] Sydney Freeland had a really clear vision about how to translate those powers from the comics to the screen and doing it in kind of a way that feels real to a lot of people. Maya Lopez is the character that resisted this connection to her past and her ancestors. And the second she goes to her hometown, she starts feeling all these things that she hasn’t felt since she was a kid. And at first, I believe she’s resistant to it, but she lets it in over the course of the show. And from there, some real powers develop. So it was our way of honoring true spiritual connections that we have with our ancestors in real life and, and, you know, giving it that Marvel bend.”
io9 screened the first three episodes of the show in preparation for the interview and, in response to Palmer’s answer there, mentioned that we hadn’t picked up on the fact the powers were directly related to her leaving New York and going south. Palmer hinted that was, in fact, an important distinction.
“It’s all, again, trying to stay true to life,” he said. “When you go home after not being home, especially if you’re Maya who lived in New York for 20 years and had this larger-than-life life with Kingpin … I think that there’s a jarring feeling that a lot of us feel where it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I haven’t felt this in a long time yet again.’ And because she’s Maya Lopez it takes a different spin.”
So basically, making the full reveal of Maya’s powers—which Freeland confirmed in another interview will not be comics-accurate—a more drawn-out experience was Marvel’s way of giving her a more personal, powerful origin story. One you can see yourself next week on Echo, which debuts January 9 on both Disney+ and Hulu.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.