When Simone Missick first debuted her version of the iconic comic book character Misty Knight on Luke Cage two years ago, she was as badass as fans had hoped. The NYPD cop was fierce, strong, and yet still commanded every ounce of her femininity and didn't allow her job to compromise that. But something was still missing. Or, more accurately, something had yet to be missing. Marvel's TV version of the bionic woman still had both of her arms, unlike in the comics, where she loses one of her arms in a bomb attack leading her to get a fancy prosthetic that turns her into a superhero.
It wasn't until The Defenders — Marvel's Avengers-on-TV team-up featuring characters from Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist — that Misty lost her arm, albeit not in a bomb explosion but in a fight with evil organization The Hand. In an instantly iconic scene in the finale in which Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) visited Misty in the hospital while she recovered from her unexpected amputation, The Defenders seemed to hint that they would both soon fulfill their comic book destiny with a future Daughters of the Dragon spinoff series starring these two female heroes. While Netflix has yet to make any official announcements about it, Luke Cage Season 2 lays the groundwork for that potential spinoff even more in an early episode that heavily features the Daughters of the Dragon, as Colleen helps Misty get her swagger back as she adjusts to life with only one arm.
When it came time to filming that episode, Missick and Henwick fought hard to make sure the blossoming friendship and partnership between Misty and Colleen was "authentic." Speaking to Bustle ahead of Luke Cage's Season 2 launch, Missick makes it clear that since this episode is meant to be the stepping stone towards a possible Daughters of the Dragon spinoff, they had to get it just right.
"We didn't want to, for the sake of convenience or a neat storyline, have some instant friendship that comes out of nowhere," Missick says. "These women don't really know one another. They've just been through this traumatic experience together. Colleen is who Misty calls up because she understands what she's going through. What she and I wanted was to explore what it would be like for these two women who are both hurting, who are both strong, are trying to figure it out together and not just pat each other on the back. To have someone tell you, 'You have to get your shit together,' is the beauty of the beginning of their friendship."
And it's a friendship that will continue to be told in Marvel's Netflix series whether or not Daughters of the Dragon does become an actual project. "In Iron Fist Season 2 we see Misty and we definitely get to explore that relationship even more," Missick reveals. "Hopefully it will lead to a separate series. Hopefully it will lead to the fans getting Daughters of the Dragon, but we won't know until it happens. I always say, if you tweet it, it will come."
Despite the fact that it's been two years since Misty first appeared on screen in Luke Cage and more than a year since Colleen was introduced in Iron Fist, Missick is glad that Netflix has taken the time to create the backstory for their characters individually before greenlighting a spinoff series (although the fans have been anxious for a spinoff since the beginning). The current political climate only makes the possibility of a Daughters of the Dragon series feel even more inevitable and relevant.
"We are looking at a time where we as a nation but also globally are very aware of women, of women's stories being told, of them being told honestly and authentically," Missick says. "And then also we are aware of how often women's stories are marginalized and we are there to sometimes service just the storyline of a man. There are so many people out there that are fighting for that to not be the reality anymore, for there to be equal pay for women and equal representation for women. For there to be two women on screen [who don't] spend all of their time talking about a man is important."
She pauses for a moment, then continues passionately: "Because of that, the world is ready to see Colleen and Misty. They're ready to see two women fighting for themselves and for each other, for their communities, in a way that we haven't seen before. I know that I'm ready for it. I'm ready for my nieces to see it. I'm ready for my children, whenever they come along, to have that be a world that they grow up in, a world where women are just as valued as men."
Missick then cites the success of Black Panther, adding that the women of the Marvel film were just as much of if not more than a draw than the male stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan. "We are ready to see the Daughters of the Dragon coming together because we know that, as successful as Black Panther was, just as many people were talking about the Dora [Milaje] and the women," she says. "So it's time. Time's Up, because it's time right now."
But before Misty can run with the Daughters of the Dragon, she'll have to learn to walk. The future Hero for Hire begins Luke Cage Season 2 very much off her game, as she struggles to get used to her new normal of only having one arm (she won't get her fancy bionic prosthetic until later in the season). Misty is officially at her lowest point, but that doesn't make her any less strong than she was in Season 1.
"It was a gift to explore that emotional depth. Season 1 I got to explore Misty's power and her fierceness and her unapologetic nature and that was something to relish, because we don't often get to see women in positions of power in that way," Missick says. "So being able to explore her vulnerability in Season 2 was an even bigger gift."
It takes a lot to be vulnerable, according to Missick, and Misty doesn't hide her struggles. "We're in a time right now when depression is getting discussed more and more and we're opening up about what that looks like," she says. "To be able to show that on screen is important, that you can be a strong woman and still need help, you can still need someone to help pick you up off the floor — literally, as we see with her and Colleen Wing this season."
Misty's journey towards accepting her new life will obviously affect her physically, but it came about in a way that surprised Missick.
"When you think about a person who is physically confident — in Season 1 Misty was very sexual, she's sensual, she's unapologetic about her body and herself and who she is and so much of her existed and is tied into her physical abilities, she's a basketball player, she's a cop, she's a detective," Missick says. "When we see her in Season 2 at the beginning she's hiding. She's hiding from others and from herself in everything from the way that she dresses to her routine. She's no longer a cop, she's lost in her identity. It was a lot of hard work to bring that representation and presentation to life."
In her research into the lives of amputees while preparing to film Season 2, Missick was struck most by documentaries and stories about the Boston Marathon bombing survivors.
"These people were at the top of their game physically, running 26.2 miles, and what their lives were like after they lose a limb or multiple limbs," she says. "Then I did research on what it's like to then gain something that is not yours but it has to become a part of you and how different and wonderful that can be when you change your mind about it. For Misty, so much of it, her recovery, is mental. Once she's able to get her mind around her new normal and what that is, she's able to accept the idea of getting this prosthetic."
Of course, in the beginning, "it's a learning curve," Missick says. "She's frustrated. She can't open drawers. She can't pick up a coffee cup," she adds. "But her journey takes her to the end of the season and she'll be whooping ass right alongside Luke. It's a great physical and mental journey this season."
Once Misty finally gets her bionic arm, don't expect her to instantly transform into the superhero Misty Knight from the comics. "There is still a lot of growing for Misty to do," Missick says. "We are definitely building the foundation for Misty and showing who she is in her former life. There is so much more for her, especially with her arm and its power and her abilities in the comics. In the comics, Misty's not a cop — she's a private detective, a Hero for Hire. If we get a Daughters of the Dragon [spinoff], we'll hopefully be able to explore that." So if you want to see that as much as I do, start your Twitter campaigns now.