Iron Fist is gone, and now is Luke Cage is too. Both shows were setting up some potentially intriguing arcs for their lead characters, but what I’ll miss most isn’t actually Danny Rand or Luke. It’s Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, who were very close to stepping into the spotlight themselves.
From the get-go, both Iron Fist and Luke Cage faced the double-edged problems presented in Colleen and Misty. They were great supporting characters on their own but felt more intriguing than either titular protagonist of the show in comparison—whether that was down to Luke being the straight man to the increasingly weird world around him, or Iron Fist season one being, well...Iron Fist season one. From the get-go, Colleen and Misty formed compelling focal points in their respective series that yearned to be more than just secondary to their leads. Luke Cage’s first season gave Misty an important arc that navigated the duality of her life as a police officer in Harlem, trying to help her community from within an establishment that has a historically fraught relationship with it.
On Iron Fist, Colleen got one of the strongest arcs of the debut season, as she tackled first the struggle of fighting to keep her dojo open and honoring her past in doing so—far more dramatically engaging than Danny’s rudderless quest to seize his billion dollar corporation back—but also having to deal with her past as a member of the Hand and confronting her former master Bakuto. Even as crossovers like The Defenders pushed the worlds of the Marvel/Netflix universe together—in ways that felt a little forced, initially—getting to see Misty and Colleen form a bond had fans who were aware of their partnership as the Daughters of the Dragon in the comics chomping to see more.
Thankfully, it seemed like Netflix was listening, because not only did Misty and Colleen continue to get meaty arcs in the sophomore seasons of Iron Fist and Luke Cage, they did so in support of each other. On Luke Cage, Misty found herself struggling with not just the aftermath of her grievous injury from The Defenders—losing her arm to get her comics-accurate robotic one—but the internal moral conflict of having worked with a corrupt partner throughout the first season, a storyline that saw her questioning her position and her own self-doubts as she builds herself back up to hit the streets (and plenty of people with her fancy robo-arm). Colleen meanwhile went on a surprisingly precipitous journey in Iron Fist’s second season, as Danny—having had his powers stolen by his rival Davos—chose her to be the new recipient of the Iron Fist in his stead, letting a seemingly drifting Colleen find purpose as New York’s spiritual defender by the climax of the season.
These characters were getting to develop, not just as increasingly important parts of the wider narratives of their respective shows, but as friends and partners as well. Colleen came over to Cage to help Misty acclimatize to a future with a robotic prosthetic, and in turn, Misty played a part in Iron Fist to support Colleen as she was faced with a relic of her past coming back. Both women supported each other on their journeys and developed a bond that was ripe for further exploration. Hell, they even acknowledge that in the climax of Iron Fist’s second season, addressing that despite being friends they actually barely know much of anything about each other.
There was so much more to do—the promise of Misty coming further into the fold of this wild superheroic world as she realized her own strengths and capabilities, the promise of seeing Colleen be the Iron Fist, the promise of their partnership together—that the pain of losing both Iron Fist and Luke Cage within the span of a week was a blow that hit a lot harder than it otherwise should have. Both shows were on track for some intriguing directions, but Colleen and Misty were both arguably driving those intriguing directions as much as Danny and Luke themselves.
There’s still so much we don’t know about the future of the Netflix corner of the MCU—especially now that it seems so volatile with the sudden loss of two of the six shows. Are more cuts on the way? Is there even the possibility that Misty and Colleen could be given a new chance to thrive with their own Daughters of the Dragon? Could they be integrated into the supporting casts of the remaining shows? Right now, it’s hard to say. But what isn’t hard to say is that if anyone deserves another chance out of all this, it’s Misty Knight and Colleen Wing.