The release of Marvel’s second trailer for Iron Fist, arriving next month on Netflix, gave fans a better look at Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones’ portrayal of super-powered fighter Danny Rand, who will be the fourth and final Defender to join this pocket of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although it’s been less than two years since Daredevil‘s debut, the MCU on Netflix is only one series away from successfully setting up their small screen Avengers equivalent – pending the success of Iron Fist.
Along with the billionaire playboy prodigal son turned expert martial artist, there are some other Marvel characters being introduced to live-action for the very first time. Among the most important of the bunch is Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). In the comics, the character has a very long history of being an ally to many of the players already actively in the mix, like Luke Cage and Misty Knight, so there’s a very good chance that this won’t be a one-and-done kind of thing. Colleen Wing very well may stick around for the long haul, even into The Defenders.
Iron Fist‘s debut season is fast approaching, and the best way to prepare yourself for an ultimately satisfying binge-watching experience is to get all of your research out of the way in advance. So, while we still have time, let’s take a look into the history of Colleen Wing, a character that will have a large impact on the journey of Danny Rand, and most likely several other characters over the next few seasons.
Colleen Wing was created by Doug Moench and Larry Hama. Her very first appearance anywhere in comic books was Marvel Premiere #17 in November, 1974. Danny Rand meets Wing, who has been sent by her father Lee – a professor of Oriental studies – to seek out the Iron Fist for help. Also in that issue, Rand is busy trying to clear his name from a murder he did not commit, so there honestly isn’t very much time for them to become pals. But Colleen’s dad does give Danny some info about the Cult of Kara-Kai and their plan to destroy K’un-Lun, the place where Iron Fist received his training, using a book that the professor discovered while traveling through Asia.
Not very long after, in issue #22 “Death is a Ninja,” the two characters crossed paths again, with more business to do with that secret book and the Cult of Kara-Kai. After Danny finally beats the bad guy, Colleen and her father Lee take Iron Fist in and give him a place to stay while he goes through a sort of existential crisis. As their story progresses through the years, the two can be seen teaming up to stop evil all over the panels. Colleen Wing is a formidable fighter who goes on to have her very own vigilante career – perhaps inspired, in part, by Danny’s own crusade.
Wing’s story begins in the mountains of Honshu, Japan. Her father Lee is a professor at Columbia University and, while not many details about her mother are available, it’s made very clear that she has ancestry deeply rooted in samurai culture. After her mother passes away, it is Colleen’s grandfather Kenji Ozawa who teaches and trains her to be a samurai, and over time she becomes very adept at martial arts and kenjutsu, which translates to “the technique of the sword.”
Years pass, however, before this character becomes anything close to a hero in her own right. Besides her encounters with the Iron Fist, the chain of events that sends her down the path of vigilantism introduces her to another key player in Netflix’s corner of the MCU – Misty Knight. After accidentally winding up in the middle of a shootout between Manhattan police and some fleeing criminals, Knight comes to her aid and helps Wing out. Colleen returns the favor when Misty’s arm is amputated, serving as a huge motivating factor in the character’s life when things are looking pretty grim. After Knight gets her bionic arm, the two go into the private eye business together, becoming heroes for hire. The name of their company is Nightwing Restorations, Ltd., but on the street they become well known as the Daughters of the Dragon.
Powers & Abilities
Colleen Wing is another one of those characters that starts her journey without any super powers, but through certain events (in this case unfortunate ones) comes to possess supernatural abilities. Before this, she is already a very skilled samurai and martial artist thanks to years and years of training – shown taking down all kinds of henchman and lower tier enemies without breaking a sweat or losing control of the situation. Her weapon of choice is a 1,000-year-old katana, passed down from generation to generation in her family.
In a story arc where Wing is kidnapped by Iron Fist villain Master Khan, she is brainwashed into doing Khan’s doing. Colleen essentially becomes a weapon used against Danny Rand, and the two fight it out in a final confrontation that Master Khan has organized to end Iron Fist once and for all. Obviously, that can’t happen, so Danny mind melds with Colleen to break the spell that is brainwashing her mind, and as a result Wing receives the knowledge of K’un L’un’s martial arts techniques and the power of chi control. She is able to heal faster, focus and increase her strength, and survive very severe environmental conditions by reducing body function.
It’s still not clear which iteration of Colleen Wing we’ll see in Iron Fist, or how true to the source material her origin story and history with with Danny Rand will be. But Marvel’s Netflix series have done such a great job of modernizing these stories and characters in a way that makes sense for the format and the time, so however it happens is sure to be satisfying for fans. Seeing a brand new Marvel team set up on the small screen is exciting enough, but you can be sure that we have some very great character dynamics to look forward to involving Wing – especially with Misty Knight (Simone Missick).
Iron Fist is available for streaming March 17, 2017 on Netflix.