I know. Marvel hasn’t had the best track record of late, comparatively speaking. Variety recently dropped a deep-dive feature titled, “Crisis at Marvel” about how many issues they’ve had behind the scenes.
Marvel is having trouble navigating the whole Jonathan Majors/Kang situation, are contemplating bringing back Robert Downey Jr. and the original Avengers, and have seen their reputation take a hit overall. The latter problem stems from a shaky track record on Disney Plus shows.
So imagine my surprise when Echo — the first such Marvel series to have all episodes release at once, Netflix binge format style — came from the top rope and just went absolutely HAM today with this trailer:
No bad deed goes unpunished.
All episodes of Marvel Studios' #Echo, a new Original series, streaming January 10 on @DisneyPlus & @Hulu.
The mere description before you watch a frame of this thing implores Disney Plus users to adjust their settings so that it’s watchable. Due to that TV-MA rating.
And oh my goodness. If you want to set a freaking tone out of the gates, put Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk front and center. I don’t know why this wasn’t simply a Kingpin solo spin-off show to take us into the soft reboot of Daredevil. Then again, based on this trailer, I’m wildly intrigued.
The Maya Lopez/Echo character played by Alaqua Cox made her live-action MCU debut in Hawkeye, but she was definitely a secondary character. D’Onofrio played Fisk on Netflix’s Daredevil show and reprised his role in Hawkeye as well. Marvel’s Netflix were considered non-canon to the interconnected continuity of films and TV shows.
OK clunky backstory out of the way. This trailer rocks. They’re leaning into that TV-MA rating. Actual blood. Grounded grittiness. Street-level stakes. Wilson Fisk in maximum menace mode. Action scenes that have a real sense of danger, as opposed to a perfunctory sequence that doesn’t even reveal much about character, as good action is meant to to. For Maya, who can’t hear, it’s all the more imperative. And it looks like Cox is owning this role, which is so important on a variety of levels for representation. Let’s. Go!
What makes this trailer most effective is intercutting the seemingly well-choreographed, brutal fights with the more tender father-adopted daughter relationship between Fisk and Maya. That juxtaposition makes me actually care about these characters. There’s a bond between them you can already feel before the show airs.
So yeah, Marvel has had their woes. Lots of them. Since Avengers: Endgame, really, a lot of middling efforts or outright misfires. Between how strong Loki has been in its second season and how (again) shockingly good Echo looks, there’s at least some positive momentum building.
Semi-related suggestion for Marvel’s bigger picture: If Majors is too problematic to move forward as Kang for the planned epic duology of Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, recast him! You have the whole multiverse, wonkified timelines and any number of quick reasons to explain away his changed appearance. Just do that if necessary. Otherwise, per the Variety report, shoehorning in Doctor Doom in Kang’s stead is probably not going to end well.