There has been a lot of news regarding Marvel and Netflix’s particular corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last couple of years. The initial announcement dropped with the big news that the long in development Daredevil adaptation, whose rights had recently reverted back to Marvel, would be airing exclusively as a Netflix Original Series. Of course that wasn’t the only announcement made at the time, as we learned that Daredevil would be joined by a few other street level heroes. These heroes would each be getting their own series before starring together in a mini-series event known as The Defenders. We have already seen the first season of Daredevil, and are all just about to sit and binge Jessica Jones, which hits Netflix in its entirety tonight!
Following Jessica Jones we’ll see Mike Colter as Luke Cage, also known as Power Man in the comics. We’ve seen a few teases for the character in trailers for Jessica Jones and a brief teaser, but not much has been revealed about his series. All of this brings us to the final member of the Defenders, and the show we know the least about, Iron Fist.
Today we will discuss the character and his history in the comics, as well as the recent news and rumors regarding Iron Fist’s own series on Netflix.
Danny Rand first appeared as the Iron Fist in Marvel Premiere #15, created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. His creation was heavily influenced by the martial arts trend that was sweeping the nation in the 70s, and he carried his own title for a few years as he became more, and then less, popular. On the verge of cancellation, Marvel decided to pair Iron Fist up with another character, Luke Cage AKA Power Man, and history was made.
Power Man and Iron Fist might have been Marvel’s first real buddy book, with Danny and Luke quickly becoming best friends who protected their neighborhood. The conflicting ideologies and cultural differences played well with the audience at the time, and the duo reached new heights of popularity, at least until Iron Fist was senselessly killed off in the final issue of the series.
Yeah, he was deader than disco and fans were not happy. Luckily he reappeared a few years later and his death was explained away in typical comic book fashion; the Iron Fist who had died was in fact a doppelgänger. I wouldn’t expect that particular storyline to make it into the Netflix series, but who knows?
Iron Fist starred in a number of mini-series following his ‘death’ that further explored his unique history as a citizen of K’un L’un. Now this is something we can expect to see in the Netflix series. The Mystical city of K’un L’un exists outside the Marvel Universe in a pocket dimension that occasionally intersects with Earth. As a child, Danny traveled with his mother, father and his father’s business partner to revisit the city of K’un L’un, which Danny’s father had discovered years earlier.
During the trek to K’un L’un, Danny’s father was betrayed by his business partner and fell to his death. Danny and his mother kept moving on, until they were attacked by a pack of wolves near the entrance to the mythical city. She sacrificed herself to save her son, who was soon rescued by the residents of K’un L’un. His desire for vengeance against the man who betrayed his father pushed Danny into his training, where he spent years learning the ancient ways of K’un L’un and eventually earned the power of the Iron Fist.
Now let’s bring it back to the Netflix series, which has seen some rumors and fan concerns over the last few months. As the last of the solo Defenders series, we have yet to see any actor mentioned for the role, despite having all three of the other actors cast and filming already. Charlie Cox is currently working on Daredevil Season 2 with Elodie Yung as Elektra and Jon Bernthal as the Punisher. Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones drops tonight, which also heavily features Mike Colter as Luke Cage in preparation for his own series.
With Daredevil season 2 in production and an absence of news from Iron Fist, fans were left wondering where IF still fit into the larger schedule prior to the Defenders mini-series. Further placing IF on shaky ground were rumors that Bernthal’s Punisher might be getting his own Netflix series, with some reports saying that it would replace IF in the lineup. Other rumors have said even if that happens, they might still do a straight to Netflix Iron Fist movie.
A recent report from Marvels Chief Creative Officer Joe Quasada didn’t quash any of these rumors, but did reinforce that Iron Fist was currently being put together for Netflix as planned. It’s very obvious they’ve always had Rand’s story in mind, as small clues in Daredevil season 1 point to Iron Fist’s own mythology. Characters like the mysterious Madame Gao, a seemingly weak old woman who runs the heroin production in Hell’s Kitchen and isn’t quite what she appears to be, When Gao disappears from the show, Owsley asks if she’s heading back to China. Her response?
“A considerable distance farther…” Most fans assume she is speaking about the city of K’un L’un, especially considering the heroin she is selling is packaged with a very specific logo:
That is the mark of Davos, the Steel Serpent. Davos is an expert martial artist and rival to Iron Fist who was exiled from K’un L’un. This symbol means that Davos not only exists in the MCU prior to the arrival of Iron Fist, but he is also in league with Madame Gao. Gao is most likely herself from K’un L’un, or one of the other mystical cities that exist in the same pocket dimension as K’un L’un.
Iron Fist’s enemies may have been teased in Daredevil also, but we would expect more clues that point at Danny Rand to show up in Luke Cage. At the very least in an effort to shine a light on their unique friendship. Rand has a number of other characters in his life that we would hope to see in the series, including love interest Colleen Wing, who is partners with the recently cast Misty Knight in the Daughters of the Dragon, and fellow Heroes for Hire.
Finally, let’s talk actors. It’s been a minute since we heard any rumors about the show on the interwebs, but the last one that had any weight to it was that Marvel had possibly been looking at Ryan Phillippe for an unconfirmed role with the Netflix shows. It wasn’t officially connected to Iron Fist, but judging by Phillippe’s physical appearance and his own level of martial arts ability (Phillippe holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do) it seems like a decent fit for the character. Unfortunately we heard nothing else about the rumored meeting and the casting of Iron Fist remains unknown.
Iron Fist has had a long career as a Marvel Comics superhero, having joined various Avenger teams and dealing with a number of mystical threats to the Marvel Universe, often alongside heavy hitters like Doctor Strange or fellow martial arts inspired character Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu. His involvement in the Netflix deal was a very exciting inclusion to see on the small screen. His role in the four series acted as kind of a superhero bookend that sandwiches the more grounded Luke Cage and Jessica Jones series in between he and fellow costumed hero Daredevil.
We’ll have to wait a bit for further confirmation that the series is in fact still happening as planned, and maybe even longer to hear of any casting news. With Luke Cage starting to shape up and begin the casting process, we can hopefully expect a name for the Fist sooner rather than later.
Are you excited for an Iron Fist series? Would you rather see Danny Rand get his own show or would you prefer the rumor that the Punisher might be getting a series instead? Let us know in the comments section below or join the discussion on the Grizzlybomb Facebook page!
Images: Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios/Netflix