Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Echo Episode Count Is A First For Marvel's Disney+ Shows

Disney+ has accumulated a massive library of Marvel television series, both good and bad, but the series focusing on Maya "Echo" Lopez (Alaqua Cox) aims to be something different. A Daredevil villain from the comics, Echo's Marvel Cinematic Universe debut came in the "Hawkeye" miniseries after the fallout of "Avengers: Endgame." Though set up as an adversary, Echo contends with her betrayal at the hands of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), who was a surrogate father to her. Now, with her own series, the titular character will deal with her demons in a way that hasn't quite been shown before in the MCU.

Set to drop all the episodes on Hulu and Disney+ at once, the series is the first MCU show to be rated TV-MA. The "Echo" trailer is hard-hitting, full of brutal violence that seems more in line with the Netflix era of Marvel television. Also a first is the episode count, confirmed by Marvel. When "Echo" premieres in January, it will only have five episodes. In contrast to other projects like "Loki" and "Secret Invasion," which have six, the upcoming series seems to have a more streamlined philosophy. Industry insider @CanWeGetToast stated the episodes will be around an hour long and that the original order of six was cut down due to concerns with pacing. While the episode order is short, it could bode well for a new era of Marvel television shows.

Echo will stand apart from other Marvel shows

While cutting down an episode count doesn't automatically inspire confidence, "Echo" isn't the first show to have done it. One of the most successful series on HBO similarly altered the episode count due to pacing issues. "The Last of Us" was originally slated for 10 episodes but shortened to nine to create a grand premiere on the scale of a film. Shorter episode counts create a more concise story with little room for filler. And by all accounts, it sounds like that is exactly what creatives behind the scenes intend. "Echo" will be the first series featured under the new Marvel Spotlight initiative, which will differ from previous disappointments like "Secret Invasion."

"Marvel Spotlight gives us a platform to bring more grounded, character-driven stories to the screen, and in the case of 'Echo,' focusing on street-level stakes over larger MCU continuity," Brad Winderbaum, head of streaming, told Marvel. With the series focusing on the character of Echo, there will be less time devoted to the heavy-handed plot. This direction could also indicate the need for a shorter episode count. There is no need to fill the gaps with exposition or grueling lore. Instead, the series seems to be heading in a more artistic direction.

"It's a little on the grittier side for Marvel and shows the breadth of what Marvel is capable of," The Hollywood Reporter quoted Winderbaum saying. "It is sort of a new direction for the brand, especially for Disney+."