One of the brightest and most underused spots of the relatively short-lived Marvel/Netflix partnership was Jessica Henwick. As Colleen Wing in Iron Fist, Henwick brought a lot of charm to a show that was in real need of it during that first season and let her shine in season two. Just as the show was priming her for bigger and better things as the brand new Iron Fist, it was cancelled along with the rest of the Netflix shows. These days, it’s not uncommon for former Marvel actors to come back, but Henwick’s return to Marvel could’ve happened sooner than expected.
Since Henwick’s a part of the upcoming Matrix Resurrections as new hacker Bugs, she told Entertainment Weekly that she was torn between the sci-fi revival and her former superheroic life. She’d been offered a chance to screen test for Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings, just as she’d also been asked by Warner Bros. to do a chemistry read with the actors who would play Morpheus for Resurrections. “It was a real red pill, blue pill moment for me,” she recalled. Since both studios knew about the other’s offer, they both said she could only audition for one or the other. Pretty risky when you don’t know if you’ll get either role.
In the end, Henwick went with Resurrections since the Wachowskis’ universe was less of a sure thing. “I just knew it was now or never…I knew that joining The Matrix is not an opportunity that you get every day,” Henwick said. Though she described her time with Marvel TV as “wonderful” and said she had a great working relationship with them, she’s also aware that Marvel just will never stop making movies. The possibility of her returning to the MCU as either Colleen or a different character a la Gemma Chan is essentially always open to her, it’s just a matter of time.
Until that day arrives, she’s happy with choosing Resurrections, and found working with director Lana Wachowski to be an interesting experience. Wachowski would do what Henwick called “360 degree” filming: in one moment, she’d be filming Keanu Reeves, and then turn the camera onto another actor. “You’d better hope you were in the scene and ready to go.” And in the moment when the cameras weren’t rolling, Wachowski would take the cast to dance parties or art excursions to help bring everyone together. After all, nothing brings people together like dancing in a club and then pondering an artist’s intent behind their painting.
The Matrix Resurrections releases in theatres on December 26.