Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ and ‘Hawkeye’ recognized for disability representation

The Eternals
Image via Marvel Studios

The Eternals movie and the Hawkeye Disney Plus series have both received recognition for their representation of characters with disabilities. The characters are Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) from Eternals, the super-fast Eternal who’s also deaf, and Echo (Alaqua Cox) from Hawkeye, the skilled fighter who’s deaf and an amputee who uses a prosthetic leg.

From The Hollywood Reporter, the two projects have earned the Authentic Representation from the Ruderman Family Foundation, which recognizes movies and television shows that feature actors with disabilities in roles with at least five lines of dialog.

Eternals director Chloe Zhao described how important Makkari is in the revolutionary story.

“Makkari is full of heart and wisdom. She is strong, charismatic, mysterious and mischievous. We are very lucky to have found Lauren Ridloff, who is our real-life Makkari! She has brought this character to life with love and conviction and has taught us so much in the process.”

Makkari made a huge impact when Eternals was released. Her character’s inclusion led to a 250% increase in the number of people interested in learning sign language, proving just how much representation matters. She was an effective member of the team, and Ridloff has been commended for her beautiful performance.

MCU casting director Sarah Finn spoke very highly of Cox’s performance in Hawkeye.

“Alaqua Cox’s character, Maya Lopez/Echo, is based off an existing Marvel character who is deaf and Native American. In casting the role, we wanted to celebrate and honor both Deaf and Native American cultures. We couldn’t be more delighted by Alaqua Cox’s performance. She is phenomenal and part of a new culture in film and television, where authentic representation not only matters but is paramount to the kind of stories we want to tell and how we shape them.”

Echo made her appearance in Hawkeye as the dangerous martial artist who can copy the movements of others. In the series, she’s seeking revenge against Ronin because she blames him for her uncle’s death. She’s also the leader of the comical and dangerous Tracksuit Mafia and Kingpin’s (Vincent D’onofrio) surrogate daughter.

This was Cox’s first acting role, and she won over fans and critics alike for her genuine portrayal. Marvel has so much faith in the character that she’s getting her own spinoff where she’ll deal with that climactic ending in the Hawkeye season finale and rediscovers who she is.

Eternals and Hawkeye are both available to stream on Disney Plus.

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