With Daredevil season 2 now streaming and Luke Cage heading into production, all eyes now fall on Marvel Studios’ next Netflix venture, Iron Fist — the final new series set to debut en route to the planned crossover event The Defenders. Though initially not paid as much attention amid the buildup to more well-known characters like Cage and Jessica Jones, Iron Fist found renewed focus with the casting of Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones as the title character and the prominence of Asian mysticism in Daredevil’s second season narrative indicating that the series might play a more prominent-than-expected role in setting up The Defenders’ storyline.
Now comes word that one of Jones’ fellow Game of Thrones alums will be joining the cast as well, as it has been reported that Jessica Henwick will play Colleen Wing, the series’ female lead.
Debuting alongside Iron Fist himself in the pages of Marvel Premiere in 1974, Wing is a martial artist (specializing in samurai swordsmanship and chi control) of Chinese and Japanese ancestry who becomes an ally of Iron Fist upon his initial return to New York city from K’un-L’un to seek his family’s murderers and become a vigilante superhero. As one of Marvel’s rapidly expanding cast of martial arts-themed heroes of the 70s, she eventually became the best friend of police detective Misty Knight (for a time also Iron Fist’s love-interest), leading the two to found a private detective team nicknamed “The Daughters of The Dragon.”
Henwick first arrived on the acting scene in the 2009 BBC series Spirit Warriors (a role that made her the first woman of East Asian descent to headline a series in the UK), in recent years she has seen her profile raised thanks to small but noteworthy roles in a pair of huge franchises. Fans of Game of Thrones will recognize her as one of the Sand Snakes, Nymeria (the one with the whip), while her character of X-Wing pilot Jessika “Testor” Pava from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been building a significant fanbase online.
As Wing, Henwick will likely be part of Iron Fist from early on. According to the EW report, the series will open with Danny Rand arriving in New York having already mastered his Iron Fist powers — likely meaning that his origin will be delivered in flashback throughout the series (a’la Daredevil and Jessica Jones before him). In stepping into the role, Henwick becomes the first actress to play the character, one of Marvel’s more prominent second-tier players (Wing has been an ally of everyone from the X-Men to The Avengers at one time or another) in live-action. The early casting also makes it hypothetically possible for her to appear in Luke Cage (where Simone Missick is playing Misty Knight) as well, though no indication has yet been made that this is the case.
Daredevil seasons 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 debuts on September 30th, 2016. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, Iron Fist, and The Defenders on Netflix have not yet been announced.