Given the close relationship between Luke Cage and Iron Fist on the pages of Marvel Comics, their tag-teaming interactions are one of the most anticipated elements of the upcoming The Defenders, where the two characters are played by actors Mike Colter and Finn Jones. But if you're expecting the two superheroes to immediately be totally buddy-buddy when they first meet in the series, the reality is that you're dead wrong. In fact, the earliest interactions between the two feature the Harlem hero legitimately putting the rich boy with the glowing hand in his place. As Jones recently put it,
For Danny [Rand], he hasn't lived in this world for 15 years. All he's ever known is to fight, and he's never actually considered what it means to be a wealthy person either. So coming back to New York, he's very restless in his behavior -- he's going around, he's punching things, he's throwing his cash around. He comes into someone like Luke Cage who is the complete opposite, and Luke's just like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, kid. If we're going to work together, you're going to need to realize a few things.' And Danny's a pure soul, and he takes that on-board and goes, 'Maybe that actually is the correct way.'
Most of the stars of The Defenders and co-showrunner Marco Ramirez participated in roundtable interviews at San Diego Comic-Con last week, and it was while sitting down with Finn Jones and Mike Colter that I had the opportunity to ask them about their characters' first meet-up. Having seen four episodes of the new show, I asked them specifically about the dynamic between Luke Cage and Iron Fist when they initially converse, and Jones noted that Danny Rand very quickly figures out that he has a lot to learn from his soon-to-be teammate.
Continuing Finn Jones' sentiments, Mike Colter explained that a big reason behind their differing philosophies is simple experience. As we saw in Luke Cage Season 1, the unbreakable hero has gone through a whole lot in his life as a superhero, and it has provided him an important context when he goes about fighting evil. What he has seen and what he can do very much define his actions, and it's something that he immediately finds himself explaining to Danny Rand when they start to talk. Said Colter,
The first exchange that we had dealt a lot with ways in which you go about solving problems. When I first meet him, he just so happens to have jacked up someone I actually know and care about. So he's using his abilities on these people because he wants to get to the bottom of something. For me, I've dealt with having superior strength to people for a long period of time, and I've known that I've had to hold back for such a long time because of the ramifications. I could kill people! So it's hard to ride the line of morality, like these are people where you can't solve things with violence, there are repercussions.
Taking things a step further, Mike Colter also noted that Luke Cage and Iron Fist are used to fighting very different enemies prior to The Defenders. While the latter's primary opponents are deadly ninjas who are trained to kill, many of the criminals that the former has dealt with are individuals without options and merely exist as bottom rungs on the ladder. (Catch some of that fighting in the newly released trailer from Comic-Con.)
The people who end up in your cross-hairs aren't always the people you're going after. There are bigger fish and those commanding and making these people puppets. It's like a cop. When you see a guy on the street selling drugs, if you really think about it he's not the problem. It's the person who is supplying those drugs. So if you follow up the food chain, eventually you get to the real source, and the sources always get away because nobody cares about them!
Thankfully, The Defenders do care about going after the top of the crime food chain, and as such the series will find Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Jessica Jones going head-to-head with Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra Reid. And it won't be long until audiences get to see this showdown for themselves, as the brand new Marvel Netflix series will be going online Friday, August 18th. Check out what Charlie Cox had to say about Matt Murdock's wariness to keep his Daredevil persona going, and then head to our summer premiere schedule to see what's hitting the small screen in the meantime.