This week’s third episode of Hawkeye introduced us to yet another major new player in the MCU, Maya Lopez aka Echo. Ahead of the character’s own Disney Plus show, episode 3 explored Maya’s origins, including her childhood struggle with her deafness and eventual loss of her father at the hands of the Ronin (probably). While Alaqua Cox plays the adult Echo, the young Maya was portrayed by newcomer Darnell Besaw.
If you thought Besaw was the perfect casting for a young Cox, there’s a reason for that — the two actresses are actually real-life cousins! Directing duo Bert and Bertie revealed this surprise connection while reflecting on episode 3 in an interview with ET. Bertie explained that the uncanny likeness between the pair — who are both members of the Menominee Tribe — sealed the deal for Besaw’s hiring.
“The similarity between them made it a slam dunk for us,” the director continues. “She just came in and learned ASL [American Sign Language]. And there’s just such a wonderful naivety and charm to her that sets up the character in exactly the right way. It was just lovely that there was a family connection between the two of them also.”
Besaw shared most of her scenes in episode 3 with on-screen father William Lopez, as played by Zahn McClaron. Bert stressed that it was a priority for the directors to depict young Maya’s bond with her ill-fated dad so we could feel for the character despite her antagonistic relationship with Jeremy Renner’s Clint and Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate.
“It was very important to introduce her as someone who lost someone very close to her,” Bert said.
Of course, we also learned that Maya has another strong familial connection in her life: her mysterious uncle, the real boss of the Tracksuit Mafia. Thanks to a glimpse at their silhouette and unmistakable laugh, fans are convinced Maya’s uncle is really the Kingpin, with Vincent D’Onofrio reprising his role from Daredevil. If that is the case, we’d expect more of D’Onofrio on Echo. Likewise, it feels plausible that Besaw could be brought back for further flashbacks.
Hawkeye, which has three episodes left to go, continues next Wednesdays on Disney Plus. Echo, meanwhile, is due to start production in spring 2022.