There’s a huge Easter egg in Luke Cage Season 2, and it has nothing to do with the show’s main character.
The second season of the Netflix/Marvel adaptation features a brief team-up between series regular Misty Knight and Colleen Wing (who you may remember from Iron Fist) as the pair of female heroes take on a couple of lowlife bros. It’s a thrilling, well-choreographed bar brawl, but there’s also an extra bit of fan service tucked into the scene that you might have missed if you weren’t paying attention to the characters’ clothing.
In an interview with Inverse, costume designer Stephanie Maslansky confirms what some fans speculated about the scene, which was released a few weeks prior to the Season 2 premiere: Yes, Misty and Colleen’s red and white colors are a direct homage to their Marvel comic book series, Daughters of the Dragon.
“Absolutely,” Maslansky says.
Minor spoilers for Luke Cage Season 2 ahead.
In Luke Cage, Misty (Simone Missick) is struggling to adapt to life without her right arm, which was lost in the crossover series The Defenders. So she turns to her new friend, Colleen (Jessica Henwick), who offers to train her. But when Misty gets frustrated, Colleen takes Detective Knight out for an afternoon drink.
At the bar, a patron reveals he has a bone to pick with Misty. Things quickly get ugly, but with a single glare and a sip of her beer, Colleen lets Misty know this is an opportunity to turn her disability into an advantage. And soon enough, Colleen joins the fight as well.
For comic book fans, the scene is the first time the “Daughters of the Dragon” come to life in live-action. And to top it off, they’re in the colors they’re closely associated with: Red and white.
In the comics, Misty and Colleen first teamed up as the Daughters of the Dragon in an issue of Marvel Team-Up, a crossover series that often featured Spider-Man temporarily joining forces with characters like the Human Torch, Thor, Daredevil, She-Hulk, Black Widow, and Shang-Chi.
Their adventures continued in the Luke Cage/Iron Fist series Power Man and Iron Fist by Mary Jo Duffy, but the two never had a starring comic until 2005. Under writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiott, and illustrator Khari Evans, Marvel finally published a limited six-issue series titled Daughters of the Dragon. In that comic, Misty and Colleen wore their now signature colors of red and white.
“The color palette is really important in all of these superheroes,” Maslansky says. “We wanted to present that contrast and homage the comics.”
Maslansky is quick to remind viewers that Colleen Wing also wore white sweats back in Season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist during her fights in the illegal cage matches. That’s where she adopted the name “Daughter of the Dragon” in the first place.
“And Misty, you associate her with red,” Maslansky says. “Of course we decided to go with the Colleen jacket we already created. We had to come up with what Misty was going to wear [in Luke Cage].”
Maslansky, who began working in television in the late ‘80s, says she constantly refers to the comics but tries to turn those often outlandish outfits into something real. While the movies of the MCU aren’t afraid to strap metal wings on Michael Keaton, the Netflix shows take a more grounded approach to costuming.
Take, for example, Bushmaster, the new Luke Cage villain played by Mustafa Shakir. In the comics, Bushmaster wore all kinds of kooky spandex costumes, as well as being an actual humanoid snake. But that’s not the Marvel/Netflix way, so Maslansky modeled Bushmaster’s tailored suits to the colors that Bushmaster appears in throughout the comics.
“I always start off a villain in the Marvel Universe wearing the colors he’s associated with in the comics,” Maslansky says. “If you remember Mahershala Ali, the first time we see him, he’s in a green suit. Bushmaster, the first time we see him, he’s in a beige suit with a yellow and beige tie. When I did my research, he was a yellow and beige snake. I loved those colors, so I wanted to lean into them and take them forward as an authentic human being.”
Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2 streams on Netflix on June 22.