“Hawkeye” is Alaqua Cox’s first-ever acting role. As she explained to The Hollywood Reporter, she never considered acting professionally, only pursuing the opportunity after her friends sent her Marvel’s casting call for a deaf, Native American actress. Cox is also an amputee and has a prosthetic leg, and audiences are thrilled at the on-screen representation seen in Echo.
“I love how rather than ignoring Alaqua Cox’s prosthetic they’ve incorporated it into the character, and aren’t ashamed of focusing on it,” says Twitter user @charliefay. They go on to point out that, despite the fact that comics have historically coded people with disabilities as villains, “I’m interested to see where they take the character, as the intro to the episode didn’t feel like a villains intro.”
The only other MCU character with a prosthetic limb is Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), which he was given by Hydra to become their superhuman assassin, which aligns with @charliefay’s assessment. It’s important to note that Echo’s disability isn’t what makes her the antagonist; rather, it’s just part of who she is. Hopefully, should Echo participate in any villainy in future episodes of “Hawkeye,” her spinoff show can provide the same redemptive arc that “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” did for Bucky.
There’s even more chatter on Twitter about this incredible representation, with @LoveAmuSystem saying, “We are still so excited that Alaqua Cox is cast for MCU’s Maya Lopez-Echo. They managed to cast someone who is Disabled (Deaf and prosthetic leg) AND Native?” and going on to conclude that the casting department was on the right track with their decision.