With the release of its second season last month, Luke Cage kicked off the latter half of a story arc on the four planned MCU shows initially ordered for Netflix, which also includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. While the first seasons loosely teased connections between the series, each follow-up season has linked the Defenders and their respective allies even further — to say nothing of the connecting miniseries that saw all four members banding together to take on the villainous organization known as the Hand. In the aftermath of the Defenders team-up, we’ve seen these small-scale superheroes cross over onto each other’s shows a lot more frequently. Characters like Danny Rand and Colleen Wing made an appearance on Season 2 of Luke Cage, while Misty Knight will pop up on Season 2 of Iron Fist when it premieres sometime this year.
But what happens after this latest superhero story arc has run its course? At first, there was no news of any plans to expand the Marvel Netflix franchise further beyond those first four series, but one of the standout supporting characters in Daredevil’s second season, the Punisher, wound up getting his own spinoff in January 2016, before his episodes had even premiered. A month after The Punisher debuted on Netflix in November 2017, it was renewed for Season 2. Clearly, Marvel isn’t resistant to the idea of expanding the world they’ve created on the streaming service even more than they already have, and Season 2 of Luke Cage sets up the potential for yet another spinoff: Daughters of the Dragon.
In the comics, the Daughters of the Dragon is the name given to the baddie-fighting duo of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. While they’d previously only been supporting characters in comics primarily dedicated to Iron Fist and Power Man (aka Luke Cage), the two women embraced the Daughters of the Dragon moniker as a sort of reclaiming after the phrase was leveraged at them as an attempted insult by Iron Fist baddie Davos. The duo’s first appearance from writer Chris Claremont and artist Marshall Rogers in 1977’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32, was followed later that same year by Marvel Team-Up Issue #64, where the Daughters of the Dragon fought side by side with none other than Spider-Man. Under that team title, however, their total number of comic appearances has been low. In the ‘90s, the two popped up in several Marvel Comics Presents issues, but they didn’t receive their own self-titled limited series until 2006, which was praised for being “an entertaining mix of gritty action [and] biting comedy.”
In examining the backstories of both women, it seems that Colleen Wing and Misty Knight have always had a significant bond dating back to their first time sharing the comics page. The aforementioned Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32 sets the tone for their entire partnership. In their first meeting, Misty saves Colleen from an attempted rape, and later when Misty loses her arm in a bomb explosion, Colleen is the one who motivates her to return to a career in crimefighting. The two become fast friends and eventually start a private detective agency together, which they name Nightwing Restorations Ltd. The details of the story leading up to this partnership are somewhat changed for the Marvel Netflix adaptation, but the basic tenets of Colleen and Misty’s reliance on one another are still present in the arc that begins on The Defenders before continuing over into Misty’s recovery storyline on Season 2 of Luke Cage. Misty still loses her arm, although it happens as a result of fighting off Hand founding member Bakuto in The Defenders’ final battle, and subsequent Luke Cage episodes see her training with Colleen, who also convinces her to accept a bionic arm designed by Rand Enterprises.
There’s perhaps no better argument for a Daughters of the Dragon spinoff than watching Colleen and Misty’s scenes together in Luke Cage, brief though they may be. Season 2’s third episode, “Wig Out,” holds the entirety of their interactions, but they make a powerful case for why these two women are deserving of a future Marvel Netflix series. Leading up to the premiere, the show teased the scene where Colleen and Misty are confronted at a local bar by a man who just won’t take no for an answer, and while it certainly showcases the fun fight stunts that these shows have acquired a reputation for, it also encapsulates the driving force behind this unique female friendship in a way few shows do. As actress Simone Missick stated when speaking about this scene, “It's that they both identify each other's pain, and yet at the same time, neither of these women is the type of woman to sit there and cry with you and say, ‘Go ahead. Wallow in it. Spend as much time as you need.’ They're both women who say, ‘All right. You had enough. Now, what are you gonna do?’” The reason Colleen and Misty’s relationship feels refreshing is that they know how to motivate one another without sinking too deeply into emotion. Colleen knows Misty has been experiencing depression in the wake of losing her arm, but she also knows that pitying the other woman won’t be helpful. Between the bar scene and their earlier training session, which also appears in “Wig Out,” Luke Cage presents a dynamic between women rarely explored in genre, and one that could stand to be fleshed out even more with its own spinoff show.
Female friendships aside, one of the aspects where Luke Cage’s second season shines doesn’t really have anything to do with its main character. In some ways, Luke is a weaker link, bolstered by the strengths of those characters who support his arc, with Misty’s attempts to navigate her career path being one of them. But a technique first introduced last season and continuing into Season 2 makes for one of the most visually cinematic parts of the series, as well as the Netflix Marvel universe in general — and it happens every time Misty sets foot on a crime scene. We’d seen the detective use her exceptional deductive skills back in Season 1 of Luke Cage, and the way they’re technically staged and shot leads to some of the show’s best sequences. When Misty visualizes a crime, Luke Cage puts us right there with her, reliving the events as they happen. In a notable moment from Season 2, this happens while she’s in the middle of interrogating a suspect, and the scene blends elements from both the riverside location of a shooting and the sterile surroundings of the police precinct. It’s a great storytelling device, of course, but it’s also impossible to watch scenes like those without considering how they could be utilized for a show all about Misty’s abilities as a crime solver — with the help of her martial artist best friend, of course.
If Marvel is going to move on from its core group of Defenders on Netflix, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t tap into the potential of its supporting cast of characters. There are a lot of plentiful story veins to mine, and given that the Daughters of the Dragon duo is an adaptation that was previously attempted, there’s every possibility for Marvel to rectify that now on the heels of The Punisher. With the strengths of actors like Missick and Jessica Henwick, who undoubtedly shone on Season 1 of Iron Fist, as well as the perennial appeal of the crime procedural subgenre, giving the Daughters of the Dragon their own spinoff is a natural next step, and one that could make the Marvel Netflix universe even richer in the long run.