A cynic might wonder if Marvel just announced the release dates for Loki season 2 and Echo to distract from the backlash around those Kamala Khan spoilers on Tuesday. However, this announcement has generated a controversy of its own, with fans wondering why the Hawkeye spinoff Echo is being treated differently from other MCU shows.
While Loki will be released in the typical format for Disney+/MCU series (i.e. new episodes airing weekly), the Hawkeye spinoff Echo will drop its entire season in one day. This is a first for the MCU.
Fans are already speculating about what this means, mostly falling into one of two camps: People who take this as a sign that the show is bad and Marvel is trying to sweep it under the rug, and those who are worried that Marvel will fail to give Echo its due. That second concern is particularly contentious because Echo stars a deaf, indigenous hero, and this is her first solo spinoff.
Some people prefer to watch a whole show in one weekend, but the Netflix-style release model has faced a lot of criticism. In fact, it’s often cited as the main reason why some Netflix shows fail to find an audience.
If an entire series arrives on the same day, it’s harder to build momentum and create word-of-mouth buzz—and easy to be overshadowed by other new releases. By contrast, shows that air weekly like The Last of Us and House of the Dragon (or on Disney+, WandaVision, Andor and The Mandalorian) tend to dominate the public conversation. They’re appointment TV.
Ordinarily, episodic release strategies are an inside-baseball issue. But in an engaged fandom like the MCU, these differences spark a lot of debate. If Loki is still following the weekly format that inspired so much buzz for other MCU shows, why did Marvel choose Echo to test out a Netflix-style model?
On MCU Twitte,r this sent alarm bells ringing, prompting comments like “so they’re sabotaging Echo,” “wow, the show with a deaf woman of color gets all of its episodes released at once????” and “that’s how you kill hype QUICK.”
“Echo being dropped all on the same day really feels like a slight against the deaf people this is getting representation for,” wrote another. “this is gonna make it be dead in the water as quickly as possible.”
With more than five months to go before Echo arrives, we obviously don’t know how this show will be promoted. Maybe it will receive a big publicity push that transforms Echo from D-list supporting character to a household name. Marvel has done it before, after all. But given the contrast between Echo and shows like Loki, you can see why fans are concerned.