Echo's director has expressed surprise over suggestions it's Marvel's answer to the beloved and multi-award-winning crime show Breaking Bad.
Speaking to TechRadar ahead of the show's January 9 launch on Disney Plus and Hulu, Sydney Freeland was taken aback by parallels between Marvel's Echo and some of the most notable crime and assassin-themed movie and TV projects of recent times.
Such comparisons began in November 2023, with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) claiming Echo's brutal first trailer was reminiscent of hit AMC series Breaking Bad and even the 'gun fu' action-thriller John Wick film franchise. Marvel fans latched onto THR's comparison following the trailer's public release, with many suggesting they could see how those parallels had been drawn.
Indeed, its crime-centric plot and small-town rural setting are reminiscent of Breaking Bad – and similarly positioned shows, such as Reacher on Prime Video – while the teaser's bone-crunching, headshot-filled action reminded viewers of the Keanu Reeves-starring John Wick movies. The appearances of Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk/Kingpin – the latter of whom plays a big role in Echo – have also seen fans enthusing that it'll bear more than a passing resemblance to Netflix's Daredevil TV show.
Given the numerous similarities between Echo and those celebrated entertainment properties, I couldn't pass up the chance to ask Freeland for her thoughts on the analogies. As it happened, my query was the first time Freeland had heard such comparisons made between the above quartet and the Marvel Phase 5 project.
"[That's] high praise," a somewhat stunned Freeland replied. "That's excellent company to be in. It's probably the first and only time it [Echo] will be mentioned in the same breath as Breaking Bad, so I'll take all of that."
The similarities between Echo and Breaking Bad don't end with the duo's overarching narratives, R-rated action, or serious tonality. Dave Porter, who created Echo's original musical score, was also the composer on Breaking Bad and spin-off show Better Call Saul, while Marion Dayre, who penned 21 episodes of the latter, was also chief script writer on two of Echo's five episodes. Add in Echo's Protagonist Maya Lopez being as morally complex/villainous as Breaking Bad's Walter White, and it's easy to see why Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans are excited by their correlation.
"This is Choctaw." Go behind the scenes to see how working closely with Choctaw Nation helped bring Marvel Studios' #Echo to life.All episodes of Marvel Studios’ #Echo are streaming January 9 on @DisneyPlus & @Hulu.Set your Disney+ profile to TV-MA to stream. pic.twitter.com/bQ2Z5GFUf4January 3, 2024
"What do we know about Maya coming off of [her first MCU appearance in] Hawkeye?" Freeland said. "She's a villain, so I wanted to lean into that aspect of the character. Marvel's response to that was 'yeah, let's really push the envelope and see how far we can go'.
"Because she's a villain, we get to explore a lot of untreaded ground and get to answer the questions like 'how does a deaf Indigenous girl from Oklahoma become one of the top-ranking lieutenants in Kingpin's army?' and 'what forces her to go home and reckon with her violent past?'. Delving into that story, which will be incredibly foreign and different to most viewers, was incredibly fun to flesh out."
Echo releases in full on Disney Plus and Hulu on January 9 in the US. All five episodes will also be available on Disney Plus internationally from January 10.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
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