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The MCU’s Latest Superpower Change Makes Marvel’s Next Team-Up Movie More Exciting


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Summary

  • Marvel Studios’ TV show Echo introduces significant changes to the character’s powers, deviating from the comic book version.
  • The changes in Echo’s powers were made to avoid similarities with a returning character in Marvel’s 2025 movie Thunderbolts.
  • Echo’s new powers, rooted in her ancestral line, add depth to her character and align with her struggles and connections to her family legacy.


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Marvel Studios’ latest TV show release, Echo, significantly changed the powers that Maya Lopez, a.k.a. Echo, had in the comics. Echo, Marvel’s first Marvel Spotlight installment, is somewhat separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline. While it still connects to MCU content, it’s meant to be accessible to first-time Marvel viewers and fans who aren’t caught up on all the shows and movies. It’s perhaps unsurprising that, given that, Marvel made some changes to the character.

In the comics, Echo can learn or mimic what she sees someone else do through “photographic reflexes.” In Echo, she connects to women through her ancestral line and their various powers. Although Echo’s comic book powers are compelling, they would have been dangerously close to a returning character in Marvel’s 2025 movie Thunderbolts. This change to Maya’s character may spell greater success for and interest in both Thunderbolts and Echo because each adds something new, but that wasn’t the reason for the shift. In an interview with Variety, Director Sydney Freeland explained:

“Her power in the comic books is that she can copy anything, any movement, any whatever. It’s kind of lame.”

Rather than the ability to copy someone else’s powers, Freeland elected for a stronger familial significance, which aligns with Maya’s struggle to make sense of her complicated family dynamics and her connections to the legacy of her ancestors throughout Echo.

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Echo: Maya Lopez’s Powers & Comic History Explained

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Echo’s New Superpower Avoids Repeating Taskmaster’s Skillset

taskmaster in black widow referenced in the avengers

While Freeland had distinct and valid reasons for switching up Maya’s comic book powers, the decision has positive implications for Thunderbolts. Now that the franchise won’t have an overlap between Echo and Taskmaster’s powers, Thunderbolts can showcase Taskmaster’s abilities in a way that feels fresh and authentic. Although Taskmaster appeared in Black Widow, and the groundwork for a compelling storyline for the character has been laid out, she had little on-screen fighting time, as the film seemed much more focused on Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, and her difficulties with confronting her past, including her family and her role in permanently scarring and nearly killing Taskmaster, essentially ‘creating’ her.

It’s clear that the MCU intends to keep Taskmaster’s copycat skills canonical, though; in her fight with Natasha in Black Widow, Taskmaster demonstrates her ability to copy both Natasha and other Avengers’ fighting styles. Little else is known about the Thunderbolts film at this time, but the inclusion of Taskmaster, Yelena Belova, and Red Guardian suggests an exciting follow-up to Black Widow, hopefully addressing the fallout from the destruction of the Red Room. Of course, the loss of Natasha will surely play a role in that, too, and it will be interesting to see how those stories play out without her; Hawkeye already showed how much Yelena struggled.

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Echo Is The Second Hero To Get New Powers And Avoid Big-Screen Overlap

Kamala Khan using her powers in Ms. Marvel's series finale

Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, also had her powers changed considerably between the comics and the MCU’s Disney+ Ms. Marvel TV show. Rather than the stretchy superhero of the comics, Kamala has the ability to manipulate photonic, or “hard light,” energy. This may be in part to avoid yet another overlap with the stretching power of Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic 4. While Mr. Fantastic has yet to have a proper MCU debut, he did appear briefly in the second Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, showing off this skill. This change, and that of Echo, suggest that Marvel is thinking strategically about interweaving these stories.

Source: Variety

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