The streaming homes for the acclaimed and mature-rated shows of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have proven to be confusing throughout Phase 4 and 5. Fan-favorite MCU spin-offs like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were removed from their original home on Netflix only to reappear on Disney Plus in a move that forced the family-friendly streaming platform to update its parental control settings.
This migration was widely regarded as a measure to keep any and all MCU projects under the same label as they were integrated more fully into the overall canon. Of course, that leaves 2024's Echo in an even more peculiar spot. The miniseries, which began streaming on Jan. 9, 2024, is streaming on both Disney Plus and Hulu. While it would make sense for the show to join the rest of the MCU on D+, why is Echo also streaming on Hulu? Here's what we know so far.
'Echo' wants to reach out to as many audiences as possible on its multiple streaming homes.
The MCU series takes place shortly after the events of Hawkeye. Former criminal gang leader Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) is on the run from legions of her own criminal organization after making an attempt on the life of her mentor, Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio).
The show represents many firsts for the long-running franchise. Echo is the first Marvel Studios' television release to receive a "TV-MA" rating for its mature content. It is also the first show to be released under the new "Marvel Spotlight" banner, which will be used for the MCU's more "grounded" stories.
Additionally, Echo is the first MCU show to be streaming simultaneously on two different platforms; Disney Plus and Hulu.
Unsurprisingly, this has a lot to do with the show's mature content and violent imagery. This is Marvel Studios' first official foray into matching the tone and gravitas of the Marvel Netflix shows while also firmly keeping its story planted in the MCU. However, such storytelling will inevitably clash with Disney's traditional kid-friendly mission statement. So while Marvel Studios still wants to keep all of its projects as in-house as possible, there comes a need to branch out.
Interestingly enough, folks at Marvel Studios have addressed this need. In an interview with The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios executive producer Brad Winderbaum — who also serves as the Head of Streaming, Television, and Animation — has spoken about Echo's unusual release.
Brad stated, "The fact that [Echo is] TV-MA made us feel like a co-release could be a great way to platform it.
He continues, "While Echo reached the core Marvel audience on Disney Plus, it also has something to offer to the audience that's on Hulu — to people who are used to watching shows on FX or shows that are a little more hard-hitting."
It would seem that Marvel Studios is fully aware of the tonal dissonance that may arise as the MCU continues to dip its toe into more mature narratives with projects like Echo. As such, they're already trying to compensate for it with multiple platforms.