‘Iron Fist’ Season 2: Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick Interview on Fight Training, the Mask, and Difficult Scenes

Netflix brought the cast of Marvel’s Iron Fist season two to the 2018 San Diego Comic Con to talk to fans about the new season that’s set to premiere on September 7, 2018. Season two showrunner Raven Metzner joined Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Alice Eve, and Simone Missick for a packed panel and for roundtable interviews in support of the upcoming season.

Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, and Raven Metzner were teamed up for interviews, discussing a wide range of topics including the design of the mask, training for season two’s action scenes, K’un-Lun, and where we pick up with Danny and Colleen as the second season begins.

What do you think will be the biggest change we’ll see from Marvel’s Iron Fist season one to season two?

Raven Metzner: “Season two is an evolution of the storylines that left off at the end of The Defenders. We’re sort of kicking off two, evolving beyond that. The story at the end of The Defenders is that Matt Murdock tells Danny to protect my city. As we saw in season two, Danny is sort of protecting the downtown area of New York while Luke is handling the uptown, and a big part of that is being on the streets of New York.

I think for Colleen as well – all of our characters, in fact – we’ll see their lives in New York City, on the streets of New York with new friends, with new jobs, with new experiences that will sort of round out those characters’ lives in a very different way.”

How did you go about giving the mystical city of K’un-Lun any sort of dimension in the new season?

Raven Metzner: “It’s interesting. We ground it in a relationship. Our director of our first episode, David Dobkin, is always talking about how the more you ground something, the more you can fly. We got all of the K’un-Lun stuff – a lot of it is about a way to understand the Danny and Davos relationship. To understand what drives it emotionally, not just the mythology of it. I think we were able to really capture a beautiful, interesting new look for K’un-Lun but it all flowed from… In the clip there’s a really cool fight but it’s also deeply emotional.”

Finn Jones: “Deeply emotional.”

Raven Metzner: “I think also Sacha (Dhawan) and Finn – he was saying they really went for it emotionally and physically.”

What kind of a headspace do we find Danny in at the start of the season?

Finn Jones: “Well, he’s protecting the streets of New York, right, so at the end of The Defenders Matt says to him, ‘Protect my city,’ and so he’s taken that very seriously and he’s on the streets doing the vigilante thing. At the same time, he’s just moved in with Colleen. So, he’s kind of like…I don’t know if any of you in your 20s, you kind of get the job, you’ve got the boyfriend or the girlfriend, you move in with them, you’re doing that thing for the first time. Even though it’s really exciting and you feel really confident and renewed in purpose, at the same time it’s like, ‘Oh shit, can I handle this?’

That’s kind of where we find Danny at the beginning, to kind of try and make it more relatable.”

Can you talk about fight training for season two?

Finn Jones: “I started four months ahead of shooting. I probably trained about five days a week. I did mediation, yoga. I worked with a trainer. She trained me in more of like a gymnastic style training where I used my own body weight. Rather than put size on, it was making sure I’m still agile but toned. And then I worked with this ex-Shaman Monk on the lower East Side in New York. It was so cool. He taught me a lot of Kung-Fu, a lot of traditional Kung-Fu and Tai chi. And I also did a lot of Mixed Martial Arts, more modern stuff, to get really the stance correct to know what it feels like to actually throw a punch and take a punch.

That was all leading up to the show and then about a month before the show started, Clayton (Barber) came on board and then we started to get into the nitty-gritty of how we wanted the show to look, working with the stunt performer, choreographing the fights. And then it just went to like another six months where we were in the dojo every day training with the other actors. This season everything you see on screen… Can I say everything? It’s pretty much. A lot of it.”

Raven Metzner: “Very, very much of what you’re seeing…”

Finn Jones: “…is actor on actor. The actors got to learn the rhythms with each other in rehearsals and that was really fun to not only act with another person but to dance with them and fight with them just brought the relationships, I felt, to another level which was really exciting.”

Did you go home with bruises?

Finn Jones: (Laughing) “I got punched in the face once. I’m not going to say who. (Whispers Sacha.) I think I got him back a few times as well.”

Jessica Henwick: “It was actually much more easygoing than last season. I have not that many fights this season in comparison. Last season I was in eight hours, this season I got to kind of be like, ‘Ha-ha Finn, You’re on your own.’”

Finn Jones: “That’s not true, though. You were in the dojo quite a lot.”

Jessica Henwick: “I still was in the dojo but not nearly as much as I was last season. I trained in Hapkido which is a Korean style of martial arts which I found to be fun. I’ve tried Chinese, Korean, and Japanese martial arts now and I just bounce between the three.”

Did you go home with a bunch of bruises?

Jessica Henwick: “A few. A few.”

Finn Jones: “I’ve seen your bruises.”

Iron Fist stars Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick
Jessica Henwick and Finn Jones in ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’ (Photo by Linda Kallerus / Netflix)

Colleen had a brief appearance in Luke Cage but where will she be as season two of Iron Fist starts?

Jessica Henwick: “I think she thinks she’s okay and she’s not. Everything was taken away from her and she’s given up her passion which is fighting and teaching because it was all ruined. It was all kind of poisoned. I think she’s ticking along thinking she’s all right but is not really thinking about the future or dealing with it, which is something we all do. Telling ourselves that we’re fine. I think that’s where we find her.”

Is it more difficult for you this season because it is more emotional, more draining?

Jessica Henwick: “It’s hard to play someone who’s floundering because you feel like you’re floundering. It’s like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing!’ That feeling was new because she was so self-assured in season one and I find that much easier to play. Yeah, someone who’s like, ‘This is what I want to do and that’s how it’s going to happen!’ When you take that away from someone, yeah, it’s difficult.”

A version of the mask was unveiled in the clips.

Finn Jones: (Cheering) “Two masks.”

How did you guys go about translating that from the comics to the screen?

Raven Metzner: “I think my guiding principle is always you don’t do a thing because it’s a thing, you do it for story. There’s a reason why, to me, in K’un-Lun those masks are worn. It’s to keep people anonymous when you’re fighting people you’ve known your whole life. We use that in interesting ways in the story.

We did a lot of research on different ceremonial masks from different cultures. We had our wardrobe team design that mask and filter it through all these different versions of different masks that real people really wear for ceremonial events. On top of that, the eye black is something that is used in football, it’s used in the military to keep the sun’s glare out so you can do combat.

The point being that it was really, really fun to take something that’s an element like that and say, ‘Why would somebody wear something like this? What does it mean to them?’ The same way that Matt Murdock covers his eyes and the mask evolved to protect his head, we built the story around why the mask needed to be there.”

Finn Jones: “The idea is that Danny and Davos are brothers. They’ve been raised together. They have a very close connection, and in order for them to fight each other, they have to conceal their identities so all they see is another fighter. It’s interesting in that clip what you saw there’s a moment when he takes the mask off and Danny sees into the face of his brother and he questions what he’s doing. That’s when Davos gets the advantage.

That’s another really interesting thing with the fights. The fights aren’t just like, bish, bash, pow! There’s a real emotion, there’s a story to all the fights this season. That’s been really fun to play for an actor. It’s not just about learning the choreography and kicking ass. There’s more like, ‘What is this scene trying to say? How does this propel the characterization and the story?'”

What would you say is the over-arching theme of this season?

Raven Metzner: “There’s a whole bunch of themes. I think duality and seeking balance. What Jessica was saying before, people go through life saying that they’re okay but we’re all looking for the idea of, ‘I’m going to get to a place where I’m on steady ground.’ We all know that’s a really difficult thing and you usually can never get there. The only way you can move through all the landmines is by keeping yourself balanced.

I think all the characters are searching for which side they’re going to land on. So that duality, that balance that we all carry with us, that’s the running theme in story and character all through this season.”

After two seasons, what do you view as Danny’s most defining characteristic? What is it that you latched on to that you love about him?

Finn Jones: “I think it’s his strength of heart. His strength of spirit. No matter what is thrown at him, he will always persevere relentlessly with… Would you say optimism?”

Raven Metzner: “I think positivity.”

Finn Jones: “Positivity. Yeah! He won’t let things get him down for much longer and he always strives to be on the right side, to go towards the light. Danny had a hard upbringing but that doesn’t affect his outlook on life. I love that about Danny. I love that about him.”

Can you give a teaser about the hardest scene to film in season two?

Finn Jones: “Just working through winter in New York was pretty tough. It was really cold. I don’t know if you saw that scene yesterday outside when I was beating up an armored car. I don’t know the Fahrenheit but…”

Raven Metzner: “Everyone was wearing giant parkas. The only person not in a parka was Finn.”

Finn Jones: “It was freezing. But the K’un-Lun fight was a slough. We really did beat ourselves into the ground.”

Jessica Henwick: “There was a scene shown with Missy and Colleen going to some women but I can’t say what they’re called because it’s a reference and people will dig up information and find out who they are. That was hard purely because that building was full of asbestos. So, it was literally like, ‘Okay, cut, but don’t stand under there!’ ‘I’m going to go to the craft table.’ ‘But don’t go through that corridor!’ Yeah, that was quite interesting.”

Finn Jones: “The dreams of working in real New York is you have to face New York’s real problems.”

Raven Metzner: “I’ve read a lot of comics and I wanted to bring some really deep Easter eggs in there. And so there are certain images that I had from different comics that I read for some of these characters that I really wanted to put on screen. Doing that is really hard. You don’t want to be slavish to it; you want to do an homage. I think we worked really hard to make some of those moments work. I’m excited for people to be able to find them.”