The Marvel Netflix shows have mostly been met with praise, starting with Daredevil Season 1, and their great supporting casts are a large part of their success. Even in the critically panned series Iron Fist, the supporting characters helped round out the rough edges.
Out of all the characters on Iron Fist Season 1, #ColleenWing quickly became a fan-favorite, and she basically outshined Danny Rand on his own show. Jessica Henwick brought a real depth to her portrayal of Colleen Wing, and she was a badass warrior who was every bit as formidable as the show's titular hero.
Note: heavy spoilers for The Defenders Season 1 follow.
Leading into The Defenders, it seemed clear that Colleen Wing would be a key part of stopping The Hand; however, that wasn’t the case at all. Sure, she had tons of screen time, but most of it was her moping on the sidelines. Let’s not forget, in #IronFist Season 1, Colleen Wing was cage fighting multiple people at once — but now she isn't good enough to fight alongside the heroes with half of her capabilities?
The most egregious sidelining of Colleen Wing happened in The Defenders Season 1 Episode 5, when the characters close to the heroes were all placed in protective custody. Sadly, Colleen is included in that group, and is relegated to sitting in a room of other characters who aren't skilled warriors and can't defend themselves.
It’s worth noting that before she was relegated to protective custody, she was wounded by Bukuto (whom she had beaten before) during a fight, but such injuries failed to stop her during Iron Fist Season 1. The show does hang a lantern on her situation by having Colleen say out loud that she shouldn’t be in the police precinct because she's a fighter, but she still stays with the rest of the group.
After The Defenders Episode 5, she spends a majority of her time on screen complaining to Claire about not being included in the fight. It seems that once Danny became a liability, the writers took Colleen out of the equation as well. In the final two episodes she finally decided to take herself off the sidelines, and entered the battle by force, saving Daredevil during a showdown in the parking garage.
Sure, she finally found agency at the end, but even then, she was only used to defend Claire and barely beat Bukuto in a final showdown. She could have been a huge asset to the team, but because she didn’t have “certain abilities” as Claire put it, she couldn’t be included in the core team’s activities.
Throughout The Defenders Season 1, it seemed like the show was undoing a lot of the progress that Colleen Wing made as a character in Iron Fist Season 1. Oddly enough, Colleen’s character arc in The Defenders was very similar to Danny Rand’s in Iron Fist Season 1, and it almost seemed like they switched roles.
It’s true that The Defenders was centered around Danny Rand, Jessica Jones, Matt Murdock and Luke Cage, but there was plenty of room for Colleen Wing to play a more pivotal role. Stick was more of a member of the Defenders than Colleen, and he actively tried to kill Danny.
It's worth noting that #JessicaHenwick did an amazing job with what she was given in The Defenders, and her acting was exemplary as always. It’s likely that Colleen will play a bigger role in Iron Fist Season 2, but as for The Defenders, they missed out on giving one of the breakout characters in the Marvel Netflix Universe the respect that she deserved.
Sound off! Do you think Colleen Wing’s character was mishandled in The Defenders? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.