Marvel Studios upcoming streaming series, Echo, will the be first project under the studio’s new Marvel Spotlight banner. That means, according to newly minted Head of Streaming, Television, and Animation at Marvel Studios, Brad Winderbaum, anyone who tunes in “doesn’t need to have seen other Marvel series to understand what’s happening in Maya’s story.” That’s not to say that watching other series or films won’t add some additional context to the series, only that while watching Echo, the audience “can focus on street-level stakes over larger MCU continuity.“
Just what does or does not make up MCU continuity had been an ongoing debate for quite some time; however, in the forward to Marvel Studios: The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline book, the studio’s One Above All, Kevin Feige, indicated that with the Multiverse now in play, pretty much everything is canon. “On the Multiverse note, we recognize that there are stories – movies and series – that are canonical to Marvel but were created by different storytellers during different periods of Marvel’s history,” wrote Feige, before adding that the “timeline presented in this book is specific to the MCU’s Sacred Timeline through Phase 4.” That book does not contain references to some of Marvel’s best-loved TV series including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist or Daredevil. And so while those stories are canon, the events depicted within did not take place on the MCU’s Sacred Timeline, aka the one in which all of the studio’s films and Disney Plus series have been set…but maybe that’s not the case after all.
In an interview with Screen Rant’s Joe Deckelmeier, Winderbaum seemingly contradicted Feige’s statement. When asked if the events of the Netflix series were part of the Sacred Timeline, Winderbaum went the long way around to say yes…at least in his mind.
Winderbaum’s admission to the studio’s caginess around the inclusion of specific projects on the Sacred Timeline touches on a topic much discussed and debated online. Many fans believe in its Marvel Studios’ best interests to avoid answering the question of canonicity in order to continue generating online discussion. However, given his very important new position at the studio, Winderbaum seems uniquely positioned to have THE answer to the question. It’s likely that something in the upcoming series, Echo, will connect so directly to the Netflix series that there will be no room left for questions.
All 5 episodes of Echo will synchronously debut on Hulu and D+ at 9 PM EST on January 9th.