Marvel Studios made company history with two of their announcements on Disney+ Day, confirming that two of their upcoming TV shows for the streaming service will be focused on characters from the pages of their comics that have never had their own series. In addition to announcing new animated series like X-Men '97, plus teases of She-Hulk and Moon Knight, Marvel confirmed two new shows that had been previously rumored by announcing Echo (a spin-off starring Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, who will make her MCU debut in Hawkeye) and Agatha: House of Harkness (a WandaVision spinoff focusing on Kathryn Hahn's evil witch).
Both of these characters have been developed pretty heavily in Marvel comics before, even taking center stage in some of them, but neither have had their own ongoing series to date (which will likely change to align with the premiere of both shows). Echo, a Native American hero with photographic reflexes similar to Taskmaster, has primarily appeared as a supporting character in Daredevil (with arguably an arc that was primarily about her from creator David Mack), Moon Knight, Defenders, and New Avengers, and did recently have her own one-shot during the "Phoenix Song" story-arc. Agatha Harkness on the other hand, being primarily a villain, has mostly only appeared in Avengers comics and others like Vision and the Scarlet Witch
These two new shows marks the first time that Marvel Studios has confirmed a film or television project for a character that has never had their own solo/ongoing comic as being in the works, and with logos and casting already taken care of these shows can't be too far away. So why did they decide to pick characters with very little source material?
Over ten years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios' way of developing projects has never been about adapting comic book stories one to one for the big or small screen. In larger part their driving ethos has primarily been finding characters and narratives that they think could work in live-action or that would simply make good projects. They then take whatever comics they do have as a building block, not a blueprint; think the Ultimates Comics influence on Phase One of the MCU and the make-up of the Guardians of the Galaxy team being influenced by the Abnett and Lanning run.
In the case of how two characters that don't really have big blueprints in the form of comics got their own shows, there's a couple of things to keep in mind; the big one being Disney+ needs content and Marvel Studios has proven they're capable of churning it out quickly and effectively, and also fan response. Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness was one of the most celebrated parts of WandaVision, even earning her an Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Though we haven't yet seen Alaqua Cox as Echo yet (besides a brief glimpse in the trailer for the show), it's clear Marvel sees a lot of potential in the character in terms of story and what fans will think.
Hopefully this is a step in a bold direction for Marvel Studios, taking chances on characters that they don't need workshopped in the form of comics before they decide to turn them into feature films and TV shows. One could argue that the bulk of their Disney+ programming so far has been designed around plucking what fans respond to from their other carefully crafted shows but even Loki, What If....?, and WandaVision all had some comics that influenced them.
Here's to branching out the MCU into new corners and directions that not even their comic book counterparts have dared to go.