The Hand may have taken Misty Knight’s arm on Marvel's The Defenders, but they will never crush her spirit.
Since Simone Missick debuted as the fan-favorite Marvel Comics character in the first season of Luke Cage, fans have been waiting for the fateful encounter that would take her arm. We just received our first look at Misty’s new cybernetic prosthetic last week in an image from Season 2, and now we want to know who built it.
Misty Knight was introduced in 1975 as part of an Iron Fist feature in Marvel Premiere #21, and when Danny Rand jumped to his own series later that year, Misty followed. In the comics, she was a decorated police officer before an explosion took her arm. Instead of taking a desk job, Knight became a private investigator and went into business with Colleen Wing as Nightwing Restorations Ltd. (although they're probably better known as the Daughters of the Dragon).
According to her comic book origin, Tony Stark provided her bionic arm, although the reasons behind it are never truly explained. At the end of Netflix's The Defenders, Misty awakes in a "state-of-the-art" owned by Danny Rand. “Maybe they can help,” Colleen tells her. “Get you back up and running.”
Colleen's assurance suggests that Rand Enterprises may finance the construction of Misty's new arm, explaining the how. But we don't yet know who will build it.
Keep the Stark Connection
It's possible that Marvel Television will presume Tony Stark's like to Misty's comic-book backstory, even if it's highly unlikely that we'll see Robert Downey Jr. make a cameo on Luke Cage. But of course, the billionaire playboy-inventor-superhero probably wouldn't show up in person at the hospital anyway; he'd send a representative in his place.
Rand Enterprises and Stark International are two of the biggest corporations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it would be no small matter for them to collaborate on a bionic arm for Misty. However, it would benefit everyone involved, in terms of philanthropy and publicity. Of course, that's dependent on whether Misty's arm is a matter of public record. Will there be press conference to recognize the hero cop injured during a city-saving event that officially never happened? (As we learn in the final scenes of The Defenders, the implosion of Midland Circle was blamed on illegal construction.)
Bring in New Blood
Instead of trying to return to the same old well again with Stark, maybe Marvel can go somewhere new without getting distracted from the story Luke Cage is trying to tell. Misty could instead be assisted by Danny and Rand Enterprises, like we expect, but the actual designer is never seen. Instead of bringing in someone new, the writers could make a reference to a character only comic fans would know.
One possibility to name-check is Riri Williams (aka Ironheart), introduced in 2016 in Invincible Iron Man #7 as a 15-year-old MIT student who built her own Iron Man suit. The other is Lunella Lafayette, better known as Moon Girl, an Inhuman with a genius-level intellect who befriended a dinosaur in 2016's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
Neither of these is likely to be recognized by anyone but the most devoted comics readers, but both are perfectly capable of creating something as intricate as Misty's bionic arm. What's more, namedropping either of them wouldn't require their full-blown introduction into the Season 2 story arc. However, that route would require someone to be present when Misty receives the arm, providing an opportunity for Finn Jones to make a guest appearance as Danny Rand, further strengthening the connections between the characters established on The Defenders.
Maybe the answer is actually already in front of us. Little is known about the plot of Luke Cage Season 2, but we do have some casting information -- notably, actress Gabrielle Dennis as Tilda Johnson, described on the drama as a holistic doctor who gets in trouble with the police. However, the character's comic book history is a little more complicated.
In Marvel Comics lore, Tilda Johnson is also known as Nightshade, introduced as a villain in 1973's Captain America #164; she was later responsible for turning Steve Rogers into a woman. A biochemist with a special interest in werewolves, she's also a gifted scientist in the fields of cybernetics and robotics.
In the late '70s, Nightshade became a recurring enemy of Luke Cage and Danny Rand. In one story, told in Power Man and Iron Fist #51-53, she used robots to take over Harlem before she was defeated. Not only does this story make her the perfect candidate to design Misty Knight's arm, but it could actually serve as the basis for Luke Cage's second season.
Of course, her comic book self doesn't exactly match up with the one-sentence description provided by Marvel and Netflix. At the time of her casting, though, executive producer Jeph Loeb mentioned that "Gabrielle brings the charm and smarts to a very complicated role." If we're talking about complications, what better way to do that than with a Tilda Johnson who's much more than she initially lets on.
Despite her misdeeds and frequent fights against superheroes, the Tilda Johnson in Marvel comics exists within a morally gray area; she's attempted to go straight on more than one occasion. She could be a scheming villain on Luke Cage, but there's a chance she will be much more than that.
If she's working in a hospital owned by Danny Rand, perhaps he's trying to give her an outlet to do some good, or maybe he's just oblivious about her intentions (as he seems to be about most things). Either way, it would definitely lead to some complicated emotions if Misty Knight is forced to take down Tilda Johnson with the arm she built for her.
What do you think? Who will build Misty Knights arm?