star Alaqua Cox recently described what it was like for her to make her professional acting debut in the Disney+ series.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor recounted how she first heard the news that she had been cast as Maya Lopez. After auditioning for months, she received an "urgent text" from a Marvel casting agent telling her to log onto Zoom. "I see about 12 people, including the Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, doing the deaf clap where you wave both your hands," she said. "I was like, 'What’s going on?' and they said, 'Welcome to the Marvel family!'"
On bringing Cox onto Hawkeye, Director Rhys Thomas stated, "We met with quite a few people, and I had the fun of reading with Alaqua," he said. "I got to sort of help her get prepared and then got to present her to Kevin and the team. I'm so grateful to them that they had the confidence. She had never acted [professionally] before, but they said, 'Let's do it.'" Casting director Sarah Finn added, "Alaqua is one of a kind, absolutely. She went through a large audition process… We were all rooting for her, from the beginning."
Cox plays Maya Lopez/Echo in the series, a deaf martial artist who has the ability to perfectly mimic any fighting style she sees. Marvel Studios was impressed enough with Cox's performance to greenlight a spin-off series focusing on Echo
that Hawkeye will lead directly into
. Cox said of the spinoff, "Hawkeye
is my first experience of acting. Now I’m going to get my own show in the MCU? It’s wild."
Cox also spoke of the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the MCU. On the set of Hawkeye
, she was able to spend time with Douglas Ridloff, who worked as an American Sign Language consultant for the series; and Lauren Ridloff, who played the heroine Makkari
in the recently released Eternals
. "I believe kids deserve to see inclusivity and accurate representation," Cox said. "It will make kids with all types of cultures and disabilities feel like our dreams can break free from limitations."
Hawkeye follows the titular superhero and introduces another master archer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Kate Bishop. The first two episodes of Hawkeye are currently available to stream. New episodes premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.