Long before fans were introduced to her in Hawkeye, plans were already in place for Maya Lopez to have her own series. That series, Echo, was officially announced on 2021’s Disney Plus Day, but had been revealed by the trades months earlier. Hollywood newcomer Alaqua Cox impressed the Marvel Studios brass early on and will star in the series, tentatively set to go into production next April ahead of a likely 2023 release. While Echo still has a role to play in the conclusion of the events of Hawkeye, Episode 5, “Ronin”, seemed to put some things in place that should dovetail nicely into Echo.
Thought it’s been obvious since he was first teased in Episode 3, Episode 5 finally put a name and a face to Maya’s “Uncle”: Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. Kingpin in the biggest and most important piece on the board. In Episode 5, Clint reveals to Maya that her father’s death at his hands was the result of a setup by Kingpin, who used an informant to tip off Clint to the location of the Tracksuits. While it takes a little more convincing to make Maya believe that Kingpin could have set up her father to be murdered, it’s clear by the end of the episode that Maya’s life is about to head in a totally different direction.
That extra convincing she needs comes, unfortunately, from an unwitting acknowledgement of the set up by the person closest to her: Kazi. It’s not explicitly stated in the episode, but it’s heavily implied that Kazi may have in fact been the informant that Fisk used to tip off Clint. When pressed by Maya about why someone is his position within the Tracksuits wasn’t at the meeting where her father and others were killed, Kazi gives a half-baked excuse that Maya clearly doesn’t buy. In a short span of time, Maya is faced with the realization that she’s been betrayed by the two people closest to her.
As the conversation between Clint and Maya points out, the two characters are similar: deadly weapons pointed at other people. Throughout the series, Maya has been pointed at Clint and Kate; the revelations of Episode 5 will clearly give her new targets, but it seems unlikely given everything a show about Hawkeye(s) has left to accomplish, that fans will have a satisfying conclusion to Maya’s new arc. Rather it seems that Episode 5 serves to set the table for Maya’s continued story in Echo.
The most pressing unresolved issues for the Hawkeyes all now revolve around Kate’s mom, Eleanor Bishop, who was (in the least surprising twist in modern history) revealed to be the series’ “big bad.” Episode 5 revealed who was on the other end of that phone call Eleanor made last week (Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Val) and that she is in business with Kingpin. If that’s not bad enough, she was willing to throw her fiance, loveable doofus Jacques Duquesne, under the bus to save herself! Eleanor is no small fish and while the end of her story in Hawkeye will involve Kingpin and the Tracksuits, it’s her story and the impact it’ll have on Kate that should be the focus of Episode 6. Maya’s new path will certain and obviously intersect with Kate’s (a since-deleted set pic of Maya with Clint proves this), but it now seems much more likely that her involvement in the big “end battle” will more than likely set up her spinoff series and the villains in it.
When Maya and Kazi part ways in Episode 5, it’s not on good terms. Maya knows he betrayed her and Kazi, who’s much more perspicacious than the rest of the Tracksuits, knows that she knows. With the final battle set to involve Kate, Clint, Maya and the Tracksuits, Maya and Kazi seem destined to face off and Maya is going to have a whole lot of anger to take out on Kazi. This could well become the origin story for Kazi as the Clown. As for Fisk, it’s entirely unlikely that his hands get dirty here. Yes, we’ll see more of him in Episode 6, but it would be very unlike him to get tangled up in a very public fight that ties him to a criminal organization: he wouldn’t be much of a Kingpin if he was involved every time his goons get beat up. That points to him getting to walk away from this and, along with Kazi, being on Maya’s shit list heading into Echo. Unfortunately for Maya, that means she’ll be on his shit list, too, and that’s pretty exciting because Fisk has all sorts of criminals on his payroll that he could send after Maya. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t, but at one point in time, Echo was casting for two white, female roles, one of whom was described as a criminal and one of whom who sure sounded like another criminal. Leaving Fisk to be developed further in Echo is a good, albeit frustrating choice for the studio, that allows for him to continue to be a looming menace until he’s ready for a big-time showdown, perhaps in a future Spider-Man film.
Ultimately, Hawkeye will do exactly what is was intended to do for Maya Lopez. The character will have a redemption arc and get set on her new path ahead of her own series. While fans might feel slighted at her story not being resolved within the confines of Hawkeye’s 6 episodes, they also have to remember that Marvel Studios is in the business of pumping out content and resolving every story, every time doesn’t lend itself well to that.