While Netflix’s smash hit series Luke Cage is obviously centered around its title character (played by Mike Colter), one of the biggest breakout supporting characters is surely female lead Mercedes “Misty” Knight (Simone Missick). A tough-talking NYPD detective focused on keeping Harlem safe, she’s blessed with “Misty Vision,” an almost sixth-sense way of analyzing a post-mortem crime scene, that lets her fill in the missing pieces. Missick’s portrayal has been universally well received, fusing her acting chops with a dynamic star-making role.
For those previously unfamiliar with the character, Misty Knight has had a long and storied legacy with both Luke Cage and Marvel Comics, beginning all the way back in the mid-1970s. If you’re interested in some fun factoids about Knight’s comic book origins that might come into play in future Netflix seasons, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 15 things you need to know about what makes Misty Knight tick.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read until you’ve finished the full first season of Luke Cage. You’ve been warned!
15. Origin Story
Misty Knight’s first appearance came with little fanfare 44 years ago. She was an unnamed victim of a mugging saved by Spider-Man and the Human Torch in the first issue of Marvel Team-Up written by Roy Thomas and penciled by artist Ross Andru. She wouldn’t get a proper introduction until 1975’s Marvel Premiere #64, where she would be fleshed out by writer Tony Isabella and artist Arvell Jones.
Her origin story plays out similar to Missick’s portrayal in Luke Cage but with key departures: A dogged NYPD detective with a cantankerous partner (a much more heroic take on Rafael Scarfe), Knight’s police career is derailed when she tries to stop a bomb attack. Placing herself in harm’s way, she loses her right arm in the explosion. When offered a desk job in light of her accident, she declines, refusing to sit on the sidelines. But not before receiving an assist from none other than Iron Man himself, Tony Stark.
14. Long Arm of the Law
Marvel fans got an Easter Egg of sorts when Knight took a near fatal shot in the arm during episode 10 of Luke Cage. But unlike the comic version of Knight, she got to keep her appendage. After losing her arm in the comics, Knight gets a bionic replacement from Tony Stark, which gave her superhuman strength.
Misty’s arm got an upgrade from Stark later on, which came with some significant enhancements, like being transformed with a combination of diamond alloy and Vibranium (the mysterious metal used to make Captain America‘s shield). Her arm also gained the ability to create concussive blasts, repulsor fields, magnetic powers, and project cryogenic blasts. Her 2.0 limb can also melt other metals (including Adamantium) at close range and even gives her technopathic abilities, which she used to take control of attacking robots.
We’ll have to see if Knight will get a similar live-action enhancement in the TV series. It would certainly be a cool way to bridge the Marvel Netflix television universe and feature film universes together with her making a visit to Stark labs.
13. Feats of Strength
In addition to her robot appendage, Knight has some other physical gifts. She’s an expert marksman (and an ambidextrous one at that), capable of sharpshooting and knife throwing with perfect precision. Missick’s character alludes to these gifts with her basketball skills, while also showing Knight’s expert skills with police forensics, interrogation techniques, deductive reasoning and detective work.
But what Netflix’s Luke Cage doesn’t reveal are her significantly impressive martial arts abilities. In the comics realm, Knight is a master in physical combat, having trained with some of the best martial arts instructors in the world, including Shang Chi (also known as the Master of Kung Fu), and Danny Rand, better known as superhero (and future Luke Cage bestie) Iron Fist, who will be getting his own Netflix series next year.
12. The Defenders
For anyone lamenting that they will have to wait until Luke Cage‘s second season to see Misty Knight’s return, think again. The character will next be seen in The Defenders, the upcoming Netflix series that will see Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist join forces to fight an undisclosed threat.
Missick confirmed her appearance in the series via an interview with The Wrap, saying, “I believe I’m safe to say that I will be on The Defenders,” before joking, “Spoiler alert! If I lose my job because of this interview, sorry! I was supposed to be on The Defenders, until I got fired.”
The next big question is what role will Knight play into the small-screen equivalent of the Avengers? We have a few theories, all of which come from her characters comic book past, involving her interactions with Cage, Daredevil and the character who comprises the next entry on our list.
11. Iron Fist
Luke Cage newbies may have been confused why Knight’s romantic entanglement’s with Cage were left as a one night stand given Missick and Colter’s creative chemistry. But the likely reason is to leave her single until she meets up with Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, the mystically powered Kung-Fu expert who will be heading Marvel’s upcoming Netflix series of the same name (played by Game of Thrones‘ Finn Jones). That being said, it is slightly confusing that Missick won’t be appearing in the first season of that series, but given their paths will cross in The Defenders, it looks like it’s still in the cards.
In the comics, Cage and Rand are long-time love interests, which culminated in a historical moment in comics: the first interracial superhero kiss, with the duo locking lips in Marvel Team-Up #65 in 1977.
Rand and Knight have remained an on again, off again couple ever since, but they seem destined to stay together. And with Missick already giving hints that she’s aware of the couple’s backstory, its only a matter of time until romance blooms on The Defenders.
10. Iron Fist and Misty’s Baby Bundle of…Chi Energy?
One of the oddest moments in Danny Rand and Misty Knight’s relationship came shortly after they became engaged, when Knight revealed she was pregnant (in the final issue of the Immortal Iron Fist series). The comic, which was cancelled due to poor sales in 2009, left this storyline dangling for nearly a year.
The pregnancy plot-point was finally resolved in the epilogue to the series which was published in the first issue of the 2010 miniseries I Am An Avenger, which contained the eight-page short story entitled The Books of the Iron Fist.
That story made the shocking revelation that Knight was never with child at all. It was deemed a “phantom pregnancy,” a side effect caused by Danny Rand’s Chi powers. This event proved a relationship killer at the time. The lazy narrative device was certainly one of convenience that should definitely be avoided in any form or fashion on The Defenders or any future comic storylines.
9. Flew With The Falcon
While Misty Knight is most famously romantically linked to Danny Rand’s Iron Fist (and a brief relationship with Luke Cage), they aren’t the only high-profile heroes who have won her affections in Marvel canon. For a brief while Knight was also involved Sam Wilson, better known as The Falcon, as well as the most recent incarnation of Captain America (part of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different Marvel event).
In this rebranding of the Marvel Universe, both Wilson and Steve Rogers became competing incarnations of the iconic character. Wilson confided in Knight regarding his conflicting emotions and doubts about assuming Rogers’ patriotic costumed role and they became intimate for a while.
This could prove yet another way to eventually bridge Marvel’s cinematic and television roots together, if Missick’s Knight and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon were ever to cross paths. It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility, given his cinematic character might repeat the comic book events that brought them together in the first place.
8. Mutant Roommate
Misty Knight at one point was a roommate with none other than Jean Grey before she rejoined the Uncanny X-Men in the mid-’70s. But years later it was determined that Grey was actually The Phoenix Force in disguise during their entire tenure together.
This wasn’t Knight’s only connection the X-Men however: she also crossed paths with Marvel’s merry mutants on several occasions. One of those times was to intervene when they attacked Iron Fist (over a misunderstanding). However, her most high-profile appearance occurred in the iconic 1990s Age of Apocalypse storyline.
Deemed a “flat-scan” (the villainous Apocalypse’s disdainful term for non-mutants), Knight was forced to live underground with all other mere mortals. Eventually she would be rescued by X-Men members Cyclops (Scott Summers) and his brother Havok (Alex Summers), but her ultimate fate in the Age of Apocalypse storyline was unresolved; she’s presumed dead after fighting the reanimated corpses of her former friends. Yikes.
7. Heroes For Hire and Knightwing Restorations Limited
Perhaps one of the more frustrating elements of an otherwise stellar season was Luke Cage‘s finale. Many longtime comic fans assumed he would change the barbershop into the storefront for Heroes For Hire, and would later be joined by Misty Knight after she quit the police force in disillusionment over Mariah Dillard’s (Alfre Woodward) release. That’s certainly what the plot suggested, but those plot points were merely hinted at.
Heroes For Hire, for the uninitiated, was a private detective agency founded by Luke Cage, who would eventually be joined by Iron Fist, with Knight and her colleague Colleen Wing (a character who will make her television début in Iron Fist) contributing in an unofficial capacity on many adventures.
Knight and Wing’s primary gig was their own private detective agency, Knightwing Restorations Limited. As a result we feel pretty strongly that the duo will also pair up onscreen in The Defenders and second seasons of Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
6. Former Employee of Nelson and Murdock’s
To help earn extra cash in-between private investigation gigs with Knightwing Restorations and Heroes For Hire, Misty Knight also took on paralegal duties with the law-firm Nelson and Murdock. Yes, that same infamous Hell’s Kitchen based law-firm featured in Netflix’s Daredevil series.
And as one might expect, Knight did more than simply tend to legal paperwork, teaming up with Daredevil (Murdock) in crime fighting duties, facing against the villains Insomnia and Mr. Hyde specifically. In addition, she also helped Daredevil take on The Hand in the 2010 miniseries Shadowland.
It will be interesting to see if her history with the law-firm is ever touched on when Knight crosses paths with Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson in the The Defenders series, either as a plot-point, flashback, or just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter Egg gift to fanboys. Odds are doubtful, but its’ still a fun connection to a brief moment in Marvel Comics history when a Daughter of the Dragon and The Devil In Hells Kitchen joined ranks.
5. Civil War
Knight didn’t appear in Captain America: Civil War, but she had a prominent role in the Civil War comic series that inspired Marvel’s latest blockbuster film. In the miniseries, Knight and Colleen Wing are contacted by Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Mr. Fantastic to join the Initiative. Afterward they pledged to help uphold the legal registration required by the government for all superheroes.
Reforming Heroes For Hire, Knight and co. tracked down costumed heroes who refused to register with the government. This unfortunately put Knight at loggerheads with Iron Fist, who balked at registering as a show of solidarity with The New Avengers.
Knight would later use the reformed Heroes for Hire to take down the Hulk and his army during the Planet Hulk event. In other words, she’s unafraid of any threat, no matter the size, scope, or if it conflicts with the people she loves. Just another reason she’s a consummate badass in the Marvel universe.
4. First TV appearance
While Luke Cage has introduced Misty Knight to a wider audience than ever before, it’s not the characters television debut. Knight’s original small-screen appearance was in animated form, on the Cartoon Network children’s series The Super Hero Squad Show, which aired from 2009-2011. The show, produced by Marvel Animation, provided a humorous look into the Marvel Universe, miles away from the comic brand’s more violent and grounded Netflix series.
Sadly, she only appeared in one episode, “A Brat Walks Among Us” (voiced by Sister, Sister actress Tamra Mowry), and didn’t get her own action figure in Marvel’s accompanying Marvel Superhero Squad Hasbro toy-line. Knight also popped up in several Marvel video games, including Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel Heroes, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, and Marvel Avengers Academy. But it’s pretty safe to say that Missick’s interpretation of the character is the most essential; her popularity might even lead into Knight getting her own spinoff series in the near future.
3. Fearless Defenders
While Misty Knight’s role in the upcoming The Defenders series has yet to be determined, her comic book incarnation has some experience with a similar affiliation. She helped lead the Fearless Defenders, in a 2013 series (written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Phil Jimenez, Will Sliney and Stephanie Hans) featuring an all-female group of heroes, including Valkyrie, Danielle Moonstar, and Warrior Woman.
While the comic book series (launched under Marvel’s NOW! initiative) only lasted 13 issues, it proved a critical smash, garnering a nomination for a GLAAD Media award and celebrated for its diversity and character development. Perhaps Misty Knight’s association with the group might extend itself to her Netflix characterization, opening the door for even more female heroes to be introduced series. Misty Knight is at her best in a leadership role in a group setting, and you can bet that the Disney, Marvel, and Netflix brass have taken notice.
2. Pam Grier, Blaxploitation, and Kung-Fu
Given that Misty Knight was created in the mid-’70s, her character’s genesis was inspired by the era. Taking cues from both Blaxploitation films and the Kung-Fu films from the decade, Misty Knight was a synthesis of the two genres. This was a progressive move from Marvel that helped sprout more diversity in comics (albeit some very dated and potentially offensive references today).
But if there’s one clear resonant figure that resulted in Knight’s creation, it’s certainly Pam Grier, the iconic actress at the forefront of many classic Blaxploitation ’70s films like Foxy Brown, Coffy, The Big Bird Cage, Friday Foster, Black Mama, White Mama, and Sheba, Baby. With her physical features, hairstyle, wardrobe, and defiant attitude, Knight is Grier’s empowered comic book descendant. It would be a poetic touch if Marvel would give the actress her due in a Netflix cameo to acknowledge her contribution at some point in the future.
1. Missick’s Preparation
Given the critical acclaim for Missick’s performance as Misty Knight, it might surprise many Marvel fans that she didn’t lean on the source material to prepare for her role. Instead, she looked to personal relationships to help her grasp the character: her Aunt, who was a Washington D.C. detective, as well as a friend who worked for the LAPD. Both helped her gain perspective on playing a no-nonsense NYPD detective in Harlem.
Missick explained in The Daily Beast that they provided insight in how to “survive in a profession that is male-dominated, aggressive, violent, and potentially deadly, while still maintaining your sanity, wit, and humanity.” It also didn’t hurt that Pam Grier was one of her idols growing up.
Despite not being overly familiar with comics, Missick realizes the importance of Knight’s legacy, saying in an interview with People that “This is the first black superhero show on TV, and I play the first black female superhero in the history of Marvel comics and on television.” Missick certainly does Knight justice.
That concludes our list of 15 interesting Misty Knight facts! Let us know some other illuminating factoids on the character in the comments.
Luke Cage Season 1, Daredevil season 1 & 2, and Jessica Jones are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist season 1 arrives March 17th, 2017, with The Defenders following later that year. Release date for The Punisher Season 1 (and all other Marvel series) has yet to be announced.