Movies & TV / Columns

Marvel’s Iron Fist Star Jessica Henwick Talks w/ 411 About Filming Season 2, Her Character’s Relationship With Misty Knight, and Her Epic Fight Scenes

September 5, 2018 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Iron Fist - Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing

One of the breakout stars for the first season of Marvel’s Iron Fist was easily Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) with her amazing performance as Colleen Wing. Henwick would later get the opportunity to reprise the role for both Marvel’s The Defenders miniseries and also during Luke Cage Season 2. She’s back in a larger role for the second season of Iron Fist, with a lot of interesting material to work with. 411 recently had the chance to spit down and speak with Jessica Henwick on Colleen’s role this season, the evolution of her relationship with Danny Rand, and more.

Jeffrey Harris: Colleen has been through quite a bit between The Defenders and Iron Fist. That has carried over into the second seasons of both Luke Cage and Iron Fist. So, how has it been to get to see Colleen’s story unfold over multiple shows now?

Jessica Henwick: The shows have completely different styles, so it’s a lot of fun. It’s my fourth outing with Colleen.

Jeffrey Harris: I’m very amused with how both you and Finn Jones, who plays Danny Rand, both appeared as recurring characters on Game of Thrones, but your characters never met or interacted with each other onscreen. Right?

Jessica Henwick: Yeah. We didn’t. We had no scenes together.

Jeffrey Harris: Did you ever meet Finn Jones at all before you started working on the show together?

Jessica Henwick: Yeah. We knew each other. We started doing conventions together, and we have some of the same representation. So yeah, our paths had crossed. I was actually one of the first people he told had got the role [of Danny Rand/Iron Fist]. And this was before I was even auditioning, so I was like, “Oh my god! I’m so happy for you!”

Jeffrey Harris: Starting in Luke Cage, we see more development of Colleen’s relationship with Misty Knight (Simone Missick). That continues in Season 2 of Iron Fist, and the key is we see more development of Colleen’s character outside of her with Danny. So, how did you like getting to develop Colleen’s other relationships and fleshing out her characterization outside of involvement with Danny Rand?

Jessica Henwick: Yeah. We’re kind of introduced to the more normal side of Colleen this season. She’s the straight man. She’s decided to live a normal life. She doesn’t want to be part of the super-villain or superhero world, and yeah, we get to see her interact with the people she meets at work, the kids that she meets on the street, the local restaurant owner. It’s nice to get a feel of a full life from her. And certainly with Simone, it’s always such a blessing. She’s one of the most giving scene partners. She’s such a great actress. She is as good as everyone says. When Colleen is with her, they get to have fun together, which is really refreshing.

Jeffrey Harris: Colleen is dealing with a bit of an identity crisis this season, so how did you like getting inside the headspace of this character and peeling away those Layers? Because she spent all her life training with the Hand, and now she’s trying to redeem that time of her life and trying to come to grips with that part of life as well.

Jessica Henwick: Yeah. I definitely think she’s going through an identity crisis. Everything that had defined that was in any way attached to the Hand, she’s eviscerated from her life. She’s closed down her dojo. She doesn’t train kids anymore. She’s put up her katana because Bakuto was the one who taught her, so she’s just like, “I’m done. I’m done.” Killing Bakuto was the end of that. It was definitely hard coming in and feel like, “Well, god. We’re starting almost from scratch with this character, and I don’t know what to do with her.” It’s very hard because you don’t want her to suddenly become the housewife. She’s still a badass woman, but how do you portray this badass woman if she’s not doing any of those things that we associate with that? That’s definitely a challenge to make it feel like the same person, but someone effectively going through mourning her entire life because it’s all been taken away from her.

Jeffrey Harris: Housewife is not a term I would use to describe Colleen.

Jessica Henwick: Yeah, I don’t think she takes kindly to that term either.

Jeffrey Harris: But hypothetically speaking, since Colleen has a friendship with Misty Knight, if Colleen were to break up with Danny, and then Danny started going out with Misty, do you think they could all still be friends with each other?

Jessica Henwick: I think so. I think even from Episode 1 as soon as you get into the show, you see that Colleen and Danny are fractured. They’re relationship is — they’re having some communication errors, and I think she disagrees with the amount of violence that he uses in his pursuit of justice. I think she’s like, “Your answer to everything is to use the Fist.” Someone’s robbing a bank? OK. Destroy the whole street! I think that’s such a fundamental difference of opinion that we’re seeing that if I think if Misty were to see him, I completely think Colleen could move past it and be friends with them because I think her relationship with Misty is so important to her when we finish the season. And also, I’m interested to see because it’s [from] the comic book. Misty and Danny were always a pairing in the comic book. In Season 1, we kind of foreshadow it because Colleen is talking about Danny with Madame Gao, and Madame Gao says something along the lines of, “He will never be yours. He’s destined for another.” I think that foreshadows that Colleen isn’t endgame for Danny, and Danny isn’t endgame for Colleen.

Jeffrey Harris: Alice Eve has also been a very interesting presence this season as Mary Walker (aka Typhoid Mary in the comics), and you do get to interact with her this season as well. What do you think she brought to the table as Mary, and how did you like working with her?

Jessica Henwick: She’s a lot of fun. She’s another Brit. She’s obviously done some amazing work in the sci-fi, fantasy and superhero genres. I think fans are going to be really interested with what she does with the character. It’s really — she has a way that draws you in.

Jeffrey Harris: She’s quite intense in this show because she’s playing a character who is suffering from dissociative identity disorder, so was she as intense on sense as she appeared to be on the show? Were her choices ever surprising to you?

Jessica Henwick: Yes, she is as as intense. Like when she’s playing Mary Walker, she is there as Mary Walker. It’s definitely quite intense because none of the rest of us stay in character, but she was always in character.

Jeffrey Harris: I’ve really been impressed with the work being done in the fight scenes this season, and that goes especially for the work you’ve been doing in the fight scenes as Colleen. Do you work with the stunt team or choreographers a lot about the character development with Colleen’s movement and how you want her to come across from a physical standpoint? Because martial arts are very much a form a personal expression and identity, and there’s a lot of that found with Colleen as well.

Jessica Henwick: We definitely talk about where Colleen is in her identity crisis. Throughout the fight scenes, all of her moves are very defensive, with the exception of the occasional front kick. She’s very much like, “This is a move to disarm him. This is a move to get him away from me.” She keeps trying to stop the fight. Only about halfway through the season where she goes, “You know what? I’m going to wreck you.” That’s when she starts to become more aggressive. So, we definitely talked a lot to make sure the choreography is matching where she is in her mind.

Jeffrey Harris: There was the fight scene that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con with the three women, you and Misty Knight. It was basically a Daughters of the Dragon fight sequence. I would say this is one of the signature fight scenes of the season. You look so cool when you take off your jacket in this scene and cut loose. Was this fight sequence a huge labor of love for you?

Jessica Henwick: Well, it’s funny because it’s probably my longest fight in the show, and we filmed it in one day. And we filmed it in one day with all the dialogue before and after it as well, so we had six-seven hours really where we could do this fight. So, it was very intense. I remember it was quite a serious day onset and that everyone was very focused. Like, “We want to do this right.” Because it’s like you said, it’s trying to be that Daughters of the Dragon moment. It’s time where we get to see those “good cop, bad cop” personas that Colleen and Misty start to nurture. I remember being really impressed by the fact that we managed to organize it on International Women’s Day and remember looking around and going, “Look at all these strong, incredible, talented women I’m working with.” It was definitely a lot of fun. From a series standpoint, it’s a turning point because when she takes off her jacket, that’s the moment where she goes, “Oh. I remember what this feels like. It’s fun. I remember. I enjoy fighting.” Up to that point, she’s been so negative in that she associates fighting with Bakuto and the Hand. This is where she goes, “Oh. No. This is something I like regardless. I like this myself.” We see her relish this fight with these two women.

Jeffrey Harris: Also, it looks like doing all your own stunts comes very easy to you. Is that correct?

Jessica Henwick: *Laughs* It’s not easy, and I don’t do all of them. I do what I can. Every time you see my face, that’s me. They didn’t put my face on someone else. But I also have a wonderful team around me, a wonderful double, and the stunt coordinator was great. The majority of that fight was me. In terms of it being easy, I’m not a martial artist. I come from a dance background, so I’m good at picking up moves and learning moves very quickly. So, I definitely think that came in handy. Thank you. I’m glad that you like it. I hope that the fans like it.

Jeffrey Harris: What I would like even more is if Colleen wears the white jumpsuit again. Do you think that might happen?

Jessica Henwick: *Laughs* Maybe, yeah.

Thank you to Jessica Henwick for taking the time to speak with us. Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2 debuts on September 7 on Netflix. You can see our review of the first six episodes here. You can also check out Henwick as Colleen Wing in the first season, The Defenders and Season 2 of Luke Cage, which are also streaming on Netflix.