With Makkari in Eternals, the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced its first deaf superhero. Fairly soon afterwards, Hawkeye debuted Alaqua Cox’s Maya Lopez as its first deaf antihero. She seems more of a villain at present, but considering she’s set to get her own series under the super-alias of Echo, one suspects she won’t stay all-bad. But she and Makkari have one thing in common. Their lack of hearing actually gives them power, rather than taking it away. Beyond that, Lopez also has a prosthetic leg that she effectively uses as a weapon.
In a conversation with Variety, the Hawkeye directorial team known simply as Bert and Bertie discussed bringing the character to the screen without falling into disability cliches. (Note: Variety’s story contains unrelated spoilers.) Says Bert, “It was a huge learning curve for us; Alaqua brought so much to this. We just went in asking to be taught how to do this because we want to represent her wholly and correctly on screen. So there were a lot of discussions ahead of actually filming, but then every day on set was learning with he [sic], and she was very gracious.”
Adds Bertie, “Maya’s story, for obvious reasons, mirrors Alaqua’s story in many ways. I think for us, and with Alaqua, it was about looking at these things that people might term as disabilities in Alaqua, and actually using those as her superpowers. So the fact that she’s a non-hearing person means that her sense of observation — a heightened awareness as she walks into a room and observes things — is a superpower. Her prosthetic leg, we see that Clint tries to hockey stick [it] out the way, and then she swings that metal leg at him, and it takes his hearing aid out. Using what could be considered her weaknesses as her strengths was a huge part of that character formation.”
Neither would cop to knowing when they found out about the Echo spin-off. But they acknowledged it didn’t change Hawkeye plans in any major way. Says Bertie, “Echo was announced halfway through our filming. So it was something where it didn’t particularly change the script. But it made sense of why there was such depth to this character, because she was going to have longevity in the world.”
What do you think of Maya Lopez thus far? Let us know in comments.
Recommended Reading: Daredevil: Echo – Vision Quest
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