The rise of Jessica Henwick

I first saw Jessica in TV show Iron Fist, if I recall. Most recently I saw her in The Matrix Resurrections (2021). She chose that role over playing Shang-Chi’s sister in Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings (2021). Whilst Shang-Chi turned out to be a better movie than the recent Matrix, I think this was a wise decision and added strings to her bow as an actor.

Also, the cyberpunk world of the Matrix is just cooler.

But I’m rambling. The point of this piece was to highlight a few of my favourite Henwick performances and chart her rise to cinematic greatness. Let’s see what we have.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Jessica auditioned for the role of Rey, which ultimately went to Daisy Ridley, but the gruelling audition process did put her in front of Hollywood, impressing people. So much so that director JJ Abrams wrote a small part for her in the film, as the first female X-Wing pilot.

Game of Thrones (2015-2017)

Her big break probably came landing a part as one of the Sand Snakes, Nymeria Sand. Unfortunately the Sand Snakes weren’t handled all that well by the showrunners, and were perhaps introduced too late in the overall time frame of the story. Still though, a good show to have on your CV.

Iron Fist / Luke Cage / The Defenders

In Iron Fist (2017-2018) she played martial arts expert Colleen Wing, a key character. She turned up in Luke Cage (2018) and had a significant role in The Defenders (2017): a team which included Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Marvel recently confirmed that Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) are now part of the MCU, so the door is open for Colleen.

Love and Monsters (2020)

This was a fun post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie which starred Dylan O’Brien and came out last year, a few months into the pandemic. It was a welcome mood lifter at the time. Jessica played the love interest in a world where bugs and insects had become big monsters. It wasn’t a huge part, but still a key role.

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Henwick plays Bugs, a rebellious captain of one of the ships tasked with retrieving people from the Matrix, in much the way Trinity and Morpheus did with Neo in the first film. Bugs drives the first act, moving the plot along and pulling Neo back into the world, helping him remember who he was and what he needs to become. Plus, she looked damn cool.

What’s next?

Well, she has a few things in the pipeline: Knives Out 2, the sequel to Rian Johnson’s popular murder mystery which starred Daniel Craig. This film has a ridiculously impressive cast, one which includes Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke and many others.

She’s also in upcoming action-thriller, The Grey Man (2022), alongside Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling. A film based on a novel by Mark Greaney, which will be directed by the Russo brothers (who did Avengers Endgame and Infinity War). Plus she lends her voice to animated series Blade Runner: Black Lotus (2022), which is available now on All 4 in the UK (and Crunchyroll elsewhere).

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