Power Man a.k.a. Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist/Danny Rand (Finn Jones) made an interesting match in The Defenders as two men from completely different worlds. Luke’s humble, reluctant hero status often clashed with younger billionaire’s boldness, which led to a friendship that's huge in Marvel comics. Now the pair will reunite when Iron Fist shows up in Luke Cage Season 2, which premieres on June 22. But which episodes will Danny be in, and what role will he play in the next chapter of the Harlem Hero's legacy?
In the comics, the duo formed Heroes for Hire in 1978. It's a partnership where they take on assignments as investigators and body guards. Over the years, other characters became a part of Heroes for Hire, including Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick). Iron Fist isn’t featured in the previews for the next season, but the next major villain John "Bushmaster" McIver (Mustafa Shakir) does make a prominent appearance in both trailers.
In the trailers, he is on a mission to take Harlem from Mariah Stokes Dillard (Alfre Woodard), the resident nemesis in charge after the death of her cousin Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali). Bushmaster’s strength is an obvious match for Luke, who he knocks out on the street and gives an ominous warning about his desire to run Harlem. This mysterious new nemesis is likely the reason why Luke is bringing his fellow Defender into the fold. They may team up to investigate Bushmaster’s origins, including his super strength, and why he is determined to kill Mariah.
Colter spoke to Black Film about Danny’s appearance in Season 2 and what viewers can expect to see. “There are people that love the idea of Heroes for Hire,” Colter said. “When people saw The Defenders, they thought the relationship was good between Finn and I and they are curious. They want to see more of that. He will bring some fresh blood in the new season and I’m hoping that people will respond to it well. We are teamed up for a bit.”
The chemistry between Colter and Jones was a highlight in The Defenders, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is happy to see Iron Fist in Luke Cage’s world. Season 1 of Iron Fist was largely panned by critics because of a lackluster storyline, unimpressive fight scenes, and relatively clunky dialogue.
Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker’s interview with AllHipHop touched on the potentially controversial Iron Fist appearance. Coker revealed that Danny will appear in Episode 10, and hinted at a big fight scene for the character. It's not clear if his first appearance will be then or earlier in the series, but Coker did directly address the Iron Fist criticism and how he thinks Season 2 will show the character in a different light.
“It doesn’t bother me that people have criticized Iron Fist on his series and on The Defenders,” he said. “I’m arrogant enough to think that Iron Fist appearing on our show has a different sensibility … And I think when you see Iron Fist within the realm of Luke Cage, and the way that we do things, I think, hopefully, that people are going to come to appreciate the character differently, and hopefully that swagger that he’ll get from appearing in the Luke Cage universe will carry over into Iron Fist Season 2.”
Danny Rand certainly won’t be the only new face in Harlem. In addition to Bushmaster, Mariah’s daughter Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis) and criminal leader Rosalie Carbone (Annabella Sciorra) are two more new faces (and potential foes) for Luke to face. These new characters will have to be introduced and given some sort of backstory during the 13-episode season. This might mean Danny won't get much screen time, but his one-episode cameo shows that the Marvel Netflix universe is investing in this friendship.