'Echo': How Alaqua Cox brings both deaf and Indigenous representation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Alaqua Cox is crashing through two glass ceilings at once.

After making her debut as Echo (aka Maya Lopez) in last year’s Disney+ series Hawkeye, Cox became the first major Indigenous character — and only second deaf one — to be prominently featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And next year, Cox, 25, will get her own spinoff series, Echo.

At Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. this past weekend, Cox tells Yahoo Entertainment that she’s been in regular communication with Lauren Ridloff, the deaf Walking Dead actress who entered the MCU a year earlier as Makkari in Eternals.

“Lauren is amazing and it’s great to have another deaf actor within the Marvel universe that I can talk to,” Cox tells us through a translator (watch above). “Because it’s full of hearing people that don’t sign, they don’t understand, so we can’t express feelings to each other. So it’s nice to have someone by my side who knows what it means. She’s a fantastic actress. She gives me great advice.”

Alaqua Cox in 'Hawkeye' (Marvel/Disney+)
Alaqua Cox in Hawkeye. (Photo: Marvel/Disney+)

Cox, whose foe-turned-friend of Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) winning many fans in Hawkeye, grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin.

“Watching things on the screen, it was always a white guy who played the superhero,” she says about her youth. “So we need more people of color to be in the MCU. And it’s just amazing that it’s changing. And I can’t wait for the future to be more inclusive, because I believe the kids deserve to see that inclusivity.”

—Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Jason Fitzpatrick

Echo will premiere mid-2023 on Disney+.

Watch our Hawkeye cast interviews: