This story contains spoilers for the third episode of “Hawkeye” on Disney+.
Maya Lopez has a grudge to settle with Ronin.
“Hawkeye” Episode 3, aptly titled “Echoes,” kicks off with a trip to the past, showing how a young Maya (Darnell Besaw) navigates the hearing world. Besides being the apple of her father’s eye, this Maya excels at her schoolwork (despite her teacher’s worry) and even takes out a kid much larger than her during a martial arts class.
The story then jumps a few years forward — where a now grown-up Maya (Alaqua Cox) is shown to have developed into an even more formidable fighter — to reveal exactly why she’s after the vigilante ninja. Sometime during the blip years, when half the world had been snapped out of existence by Thanos, Maya watched Ronin stab her father amid a scuffle with the Tracksuits. During his final moments, Maya’s father reaches to caress her face, leaving a bloody handprint on her cheek before dying in her presence.
It’s clear that Maya is ready to avenge her father now that Ronin appears to be back, which is bad news for Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
One of the episode’s biggest reveals, however, is that there is someone even higher up on the Tracksuit Mafia’s command chain than Maya.
“The guy at the top, he’ll do anything to grow the operation,” Clint tells Kate during the episode. “Someone you don't want to mess with.”
All signs point to this mysterious figure being an uncle Maya’s father mentions to her in the earlier flashback. But audiences are only given a glimpse of his black suit and large stature during that scene, as this uncle reaches to pinch Maya’s cheeks.
While this mysterious uncle’s identity has yet to be revealed, Maya’s comic book backstory offers big clues on who this villain may be.
What is Maya’s comic book backstory?
Maya’s Marvel Cinematic Universe origin story is pretty similar to that of her comic book counterpart.
Maya Lopez makes her comic book debut in the pages of “Daredevil” No. 9 by David Mack and Joe Quesada. She’s introduced as a concert pianist and expert fighter who has the unique ability to replicate exactly any physical action she sees.
As a child, Maya saw her father killed by a gunshot wound and was taken in by one of his associates, Wilson Fisk. Fisk — who unbeknownst to her is a vicious crime lord known as the Kingpin — describes her father as his best friend. He also tries to use Maya to take down Daredevil by telling her that the superhero killed her father.
Picking up the alias Echo along the way, Maya proves to be a formidable adversary. But after a couple scuffles and Maya putting together Daredevil’s civilian identity (that of lawyer Matt Murdock), the crimefighter convinces her that he couldn’t have killed her father. Maya then realizes that Kingpin is the actual killer.
Who is Maya’s uncle?
The big hands, the organized crime ties and friendship with Maya’s father are clues that point to Kingpin being the uncle in charge of the Tracksuit Mafia.
Kingpin, who was originally introduced as a “Spider-Man” villain in the comics in the 1960s, is a fearsome crime lord known for his signature white suit jacket and extremely large stature. He’s typically depicted as a ruthless criminal mastermind and over the years became associated with Daredevil as one of his archrivals.
Before Maya and Fisk's falling out, she describes him as her "number one fan," whose applause she can identify by sound because of the "sheer mass and force" of his hands.
Fisk, of course, has already appeared in the MCU, portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio in Netflix’s “Daredevil” series. Could D’Onofrio’s Fisk be the first character from the catalogue of canceled Marvel Netflix shows to return to the MCU?
Considering the MCU’s latest trend of tapping the rogues gallery of the past (see: the premise of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and Abomination’s appearance in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”), Fisk appearing in “Hawkeye” wouldn’t be the biggest surprise.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.