Marvel’s ‘Echo’: A standalone series outside the MCU continuity

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For better or worse, the number of firsts set by Echo has seen it become an experiment of sorts for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although the latest history-making string to its bow could set a dangerous precedent for the Marvel Cinematic Universe deeming certain content as inessential.

As well as being the franchise’s first TV-MA streaming exclusive, it’ll also be the shortest after reshoots and rumored production woes trimmed its six episodes down to five, while Alaqua Cox keeps on shattering milestones as the MCU’s first Native American, deaf, and amputee lead character.

Continuing to blaze a trail, Echo will additionally be the first episodic original hailing from the superhero sandbox to drop all of its installments at once for binge-watching, not to mention the first to air simultaneously on Disney Plus and Hulu. That’s an awful lot of new doors being kicked down, but executive producer Brad Winderbaum introducing the Marvel Spotlight banner inadvertently comes across as somewhere between an admission of defeat and disrespect.

As well as having “musical fanfare composed by frequent Marvel collaborator Michael Giacchino” that won’t be the signature Marvel Studios intro, the new offshoot will be “a platform to bring more grounded, character-driven stories to the screen.” While that sounds fine in microcosm, establishing MCU projects as being unimportant in the grand scheme of their respective phases might turn audiences off the idea of checking them out, even if they’ll be “focusing on street-level stakes over larger MCU continuity.”

Winderbaum comparing Echo to “comics fans didn’t need to read” could feasibly bite the studio in the ass, and explaining that “our audience doesn’t need to have seen other Marvel series to understand what’s happening in Maya’s story” comes off as a much greater slight on the series than it was presumably intended to.

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