What is Iris’ Disability in Bodies? Exploring Shira Haas’ Casting

Image Credit: Matt Towers/Netflix

Iris Maplewood in Netflix’s ‘Bodies’ is a detective whose life is upturned after she comes across a mysterious dead body. Her timeline is 2053, where London has been rebuilt and is under the control of the Executive, which claims to have changed the world for the better. But, of course, things are nothing as they seem. Iris’s brother doesn’t subscribe to the idea of this new world under the leadership of Elias Mannix, but Iris is dedicated to the cause because of what it gave her. Without the Executive, she wouldn’t have been able to walk. How did she lose her legs, how it plays into her narrative, and does she share the disability with the actress who plays her? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD

Why Does Iris Have a Spine Implant?

Image Credits: Matt Towers/Netflix

In ‘Bodies,’ the pivotal moment happens in 2023 when Elias Mannix detonates a bomb in the heart of London, leading to the loss of half a million lives. At the time, Iris was around five years old and suffered the fallout of the blast. She, her brother, and many others like them lost their ability to walk. It’s unclear if it is because they were in the blast radius and were inflicted with severe injuries that led to this or if it was in the aftermath that Iris and other people suffered this fate. When the society was rebuilt, and Elias Mannix took over as its leader, all of his subjects were given the perks like SPYNE.

SPYNE is an implant that connects to a person’s spine and helps them do away with their disability. Iris couldn’t walk, but when she got the implant, she could. The same is expected to happen to other people with other disabilities. In return for this, they had to accept Elias as their commander and savior and follow the rules laid out for them at KYAL. Iris wanted to walk again, so when she was asked to make a choice, she chose to go with KYAL. The implant gave her a new kind of life, but it also made her lonely.

As opposed to Iris, her brother chose not to get the implant. He lives with his disability, and because he didn’t give in to KYAL, he has to live without the things that this society offers its residents. His is a life of struggle and squalor, but he prefers that over living in an authoritarian regime. He encourages Iris to give it up, but she has enjoyed the benefits of SPYNE and doesn’t want to give up the life she has built for nothing. She likes the fact that every person has access to SPYNE in KYAL, and this makes her believe in the goodness of the society she lives in and motivates her to do whatever it takes to protect it and their leader until she discovers the truth about Elias Mannix.

Iris Maplewood’s Casting as a Person With Disability

Iris Maplewood has a disability in ‘Bodies,’ but the actress who plays her doesn’t, though Haas did spend a lot of time in the hospital when she was a kid. She was diagnosed with kidney cancer when she was two years old. For three years, she went through intensive treatment, including chemotherapy, and fully recovered by the end. She calls it a defining experience that made her grow up quickly and has shaped her life and decisions. The intensity of the treatments is said to have affected her physical growth and is one of the reasons behind her comparatively shorter height.

In ‘Bodies,’ Haas’s character, Iris, has a physical disability that inhibits her from walking without the implant called SPYNE. This is an important part of Iris’s character and her motivations. But because Iris is still perfectly able to walk around most of the time, the disability is more of a plot device rather than a defining factor in her case. It calls for Iris to pass off as a non-disabled person most of the time because most people don’t know about her using SPYNE. This might be one of the reasons why the show’s creators chose a non-disabled person for the role.

Read More: How is Iris in 2023? Did She Travel Back in Time?