Echo parent guide: Why is the Marvel series rated TV-MA?

Unlike the rest of the MCU, Echo is a decidedly more adult affair.

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2023. All Rights Reserved. /
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The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series is here: Echo has arrived, with all five episodes dropping at once on Disney+ and Hulu. Unlike every other entry in the MCU, Echo is rated TV-MA. But why is it TV-MA? And is it still appropriate for your kids, despite the rating?

We’ll get to the complete breakdown of the content in a moment, but first, here’s the gist of the series. Spinning out of Hawkeye, Echo follows Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), an expert fighter who just happens to be deaf and uses a prosthetic limb. In the finale of Hawkeye, she shot her adoptive Uncle, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in the face, seemingly killing him after the Kingpin of Crime had Maya’s father killed.

Pretty violent stuff, and Hawkeye was rated TV-14. In Echo, things go even further as Maya is on the run from the remnants of Kingpin’s criminal empire. She heads back home to Oklahoma where she plans on taking over that empire, and in the process ends up reconnecting with her Choctaw roots.

The series is a laudable mix of ASL (American Sign Language), alternate sign languages, and the native Choctaw language. And despite Marvel labeling it “Marvel Spotlight,” a designation given to shows and movies that you don’t need to watch anything else to understand, it is still part of the MCU – and helps set up Daredevil: Born Again, an upcoming series.

Point being, even with the TV-MA rating, there’s a good chance your Marvel-obsessed kiddos are going to want to watch this. So is it appropriate? Let’s get into it.

Marvel’s Echo Parents Guide: Explaining The TV-MA Rating

ECHO
(Right): Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' Echo, releasing on Hulu and Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2023. All Rights Reserved. /

The usual caveat with these sorts of things: your mileage will vary based on your kids, what you let them watch, and how they are impacted by these sorts of things. TV-MA is “Mature Audiences Only” so technically no children should be watching this. But it’s up to you to determine based on the below whether your kids are mature enough.

Sex & Nudity: None really to speak of? There are a number of characters in the very first scene who we later find out are caked in a sort of mystical mud, but otherwise technically naked. However, nothing untoward is shown. And at one point, Maya’s butt gets mildly groped by a bad guy. But that’s it. Not even any kissing! Pretty mild, even by Marvel standards.

Violence: This is definitely where the TV-MA rating comes from, mostly because there is a lot more blood than your usual Marvel production. There’s blood spraying, shooting, bone-breaking fights, constant killing, and one time the camera lingers on Kingpin beating an ice cream man to death for no clear reason. That said: this is very much in line with Marvel’s Netflix shows like Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and The Punisher, which is where Echo takes a lot of inspiration from – and some plot points. It’s very violent and bloody for Marvel, but if your kids watched the Netflix shows and were a-okay, they’ll probably be fine here. That said, if you are not comfortable with the Netflix level of violence (for example, I told my blood-averse, Marvel-loving kid to skip this one), maybe sit this one out.

Language: There are infrequent curse words, including some in Choctaw, but it’s nothing beyond what broadcast TV airs.

Drinking & Drugs: Some beer and wine drinking, but nothing too wild.

Overall Verdict: What Age Is Echo Appropriate For?

The TV-MA rating is perhaps responding to the level of violence compared to other Marvel productions; and making sure it’s behind an age-gate on Disney+, a la the Marvel (formerly Netflix) series like Daredevil. That’s not a bad thing, but the actual rating should probably be closer to PG-13. Though again, your kids are your kids. If they’re regularly watching Schwarzenegger movies, they should be just fine here.

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