The second season of “Luke Cage” appears to be coming together nicely, but the latest news might be cause for concern. According to an EW report and photo, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) — the Immortal Iron Fist, Protector of K’un L’un, Sworn Enemy of the Hand — will be dropping by for reasons that have remained unclear for now.
IndieWire has not been shy about its disdain for the drearily one-note “Iron Fist,” but at this point, it’s almost too easy to pile on the gripes and it’s become boring as well. Yes, the character (and to an extent, the acting) has been problematic, but in the interests of trying to keep an open mind and playing devil’s advocate to the knee-jerk resistance to all things Iron Fist, we’ve racked our brains to figure out the upside to this development.
Therefore, here are the best six reasons we could muster for why Danny Rand swinging by to visit his new ally Luke Cage (Mike Colter) might not be the worst idea ever:
1. Context Is for Kings
To borrow a phrase from “Star Trek: Discovery’s” Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), “Universal law is for lackeys. Context is for kings.” Different circumstances allow for different outcomes if you’re smart about it. While “Iron Fist” took a problematic old-school character and did absolutely nothing to address those issues, “Luke Cage” did the opposite and updated the bulletproof man from his blaxploitation roots with humor and style. This strategy could be applied to Danny Rand.
The world that showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker created for Season 1 of “Luke Cage” brought Harlem to life in all of its vibrant, artistic, and complex glory. Plopping Danny Rand into this new context could be what he needs to start having new experiences, new ideas, and new reactions. Not everything is about The Hand (thank god!) or kung fu. Scott Buck was a big part of what made “Iron Fist” so clunky, and fortunately, Buck went to practice his dark arts over on ABC’s “Inhumans.” In more skillful hands, Danny Rand could actually stop taking himself so seriously and actually start evolving. We already saw a hint of this in “The Defenders,” which had its own issues, but still made Danny far more entertaining than when he was on his own show.
2. Chemistry With Luke Cage
Part of the reason why Danny was bearable in “The Defenders” was that he got to play off of some excellent characters and actors. Finn Jones seemed serviceable when he was on “Game of Thrones,” but carrying his own show proved to be too much of a challenge at the time. But when you’re performing opposite someone as charismatic as Mike Colter, you’ve got to up your game or look like a petulant child.
Character-wise, Danny could learn some humility. He’s literally a legend in his own mind, versus how Luke was a reluctant hero who only started taking action when the inequality around him forced his hand. In one of the most delightful scenes from “The Defenders,” Luke was able to awaken him to his privilege, and we wouldn’t mind a few more eye-opening jabs sent his way.
Earlier this year, Jones addressed how Luke checking Danny’s privilege is helpful to balance out his character. “He’s very reckless. His way of going about things is get the job done as fast and as powerful as possible and doesn’t really think about the repercussions, because Danny’s a very reckless person,” he said. “Luke comes on the scene and he’s got a lot more wisdom. He’s very street smart. Danny hasn’t been in the world for 15 years, so Danny doesn’t really understand the way that society actually works.
“When he meets up with Luke Cage, it really kind of makes him understand his position in the world a lot more,” Jones continued. “Obviously, Danny’s a good guy, and he wants to do everything for the right reasons, and he has everyone’s interests way before his own. So, when Luke calls that out, Danny takes it really seriously, and it’s a point of view that he’s never heard before because he’s never interacted with someone like that before. It’s definitely a milestone in Danny’s progression as a character to get a bit more street smart and think about his role in the world in a way which is a lot more complex and responsible than he has done before.”
3. Jones’ Fighting Has Improved
Jones was not very convincing as a kung-fu master on “Iron Fist,” but his fighting skills and the overall choreography were much better in “The Defenders.” His moves and the energy overall in that first Midland Circle skirmish was actually decent. Jones has proven that he can grow as a fighter. This could be his opportunity to show how he’s improved even more.
4. Misty Knight Gets Her Arm!
Just because Danny is privileged doesn’t mean that he can’t do some good with his wealth. At the end of “The Defenders,” it was revealed that he was paying for all of Misty Knight’s (Simone Missick) hospital bills after her arm got severed in battle, and it’s likely that he’s the one with the money to pay for her cybernetic arm — whether it comes from Stark Industries or not. It’s unclear if Misty will be interacting with Danny, even to thank him, but her no-nonsense attitude would be fun for him to play off of.
5. Danny’s Presence Could Be a Welcome Break
While “Luke Cage” Season 1 started out strong, some of the later episodes felt like they were stretching smaller scenes too much, or retreading the same ground. Trying to pad story is one of the biggest issues with the 13-episode model (“13 Reasons Why” fell victim to this also). While it hasn’t been revealed how long Danny Rand would be stopping by, even if it’s for one episode, that could inject some fresh energy to the 13-episode slog.
6. A Heroes for Hire Testing Ground
Marvel will do what it wants to do, whether we want it or not. (Again, “Inhumans.”) But at least having Danny swing by “Luke Cage” could test out how a possible partnership between the two will work out. We’re still not sure if we want the Heroes for Hire team-up just yet, but this could help us – or Marvel – decide one way or another.
“Luke Cage” Season 2 will be released sometime in 2018 on Netflix.
Additional reporting by Liz Shannon Miller