With the final member of Marvel's The Defenders just about to have his own Netflix origin show drop, join us on a quick-fire tour of the history, and future, of Iron Fist.
Following the roaring success of Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, Netflix is duly adding the last remaining Defender’s hero to its roster: Iron Fist. The whole first season will drop this week, on 17 March.
But who is the martial arts master? And what info about the show’s future can we glean from his comic book past? Read on for a crash course in everything Iron Fist…
Iron Fist: In a Nutshell
Born and raised in New York City, Danny Rand is not your regular billionaire playboy. He’s also a devout Buddhist Monk (yes, we see the irony too) and martial arts expert. Orphaned at the age of ten while on an expedition with his parents to the mystical K’un-L’un, Danny returns to New York after 15 years training in the monastery to claim his late parents’ business empire as his own.
Once back, Danny must balance his responsibilities as a budding CEO with his work as a crime-fighting Chi master. Think: Bruce Wayne, if he were also into kale smoothies and mindfulness.
But, with this being Marvel, there’s a super-powered undercurrent running amidst the dojos and the board meetings. See, Danny’s time spent training also enabled him to develop extraordinary powers. The ancient power of the Iron Fist allows him to focus and harness his body’s ‘Chi’ energy, enhancing his natural abilities to incredible new levels.
As well as using this to heal both himself and others, Danny can also focus his Chi energy into his hands, causing them to glow bright orange and allowing him to pack a punch like a speeding freight train, hence the ‘Iron Fist’ moniker.
His big nemeses in the comics were Sabretooth (whose name you may recognize as being one of Wolverine’s main antagonists), and shadowy Ninjas Master Khan and the Steel Serpent, who both have eyes on Danny’s Iron Fist powers.
Iron Fist: In the Comics
Danny Rand made his Marvel debut as part of the Marvel Premiere series in 1974. Iron Fist received his own series in 1975, but a number of unresolved sub-plots saw the series dwindle in popularity and face cancellation.
To save the Iron Fist books from an early demise, Danny was paired up with Luke Cage, another character whose popularity was waning at the time, for the 1978 series Power Man and the Iron Fist.
“Iron Fist’s inclusion in the Defenders is a relatively new thing, in comic terms.”
Danny was killed off in the series’ final issue in 1986, only to be revived ten years later for a 19-issue re-launch. Arguably, Power Man and the Iron Fist never quite managed to achieve the mainstream popularity of many of their fellow Marvel characters, but his run of bad luck looks set to change thanks to the big budget Netflix treatment – Luke Cage and Danny Rand will be reunited yet again as Netflix and Marvel build towards the launch of crossover series The Defenders.
But Iron Fist’s inclusion in the Defenders is a relatively new thing, in comic terms. The original Defenders lineup of The Hulk, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange and the Sub-Mariner Namor combined to form a group full of oddball outsiders – lone guns. A series re-launch in 2011 was the first time Iron Fist joined the fore, but the roster there was still pretty different to the one now being prepped for Netflix.
Iron Fist: On Netflix
Iron Fist was originally going to be its own movie, but the project got stuck in development hell for over a decade. Eventually the decision was made to port the property over to TV, slotting Danny Rand’s martial artistry into the Marvel/Netflix series.
Luckily, the show’s in good hands. Scott Buck has been brought in as showrunner (whose job is to oversee everything from script to screen), and he’s got a fine TV CV. Scott’s previous work includes some pretty sterling shows like Six Feet Under and Dexter, so we’re confident he can spin a good yarn.
28 year-old Finn Jones steps into the title role, meanwhile, bringing a classically-trained British pedigree to proceedings. Drama fans will recognise Finn as Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones, meaning he’s no stranger to big budget productions.
Iron Fist: In the Defenders
When the Defenders series does land later in 2017, it’ll bring together all of Netflix’s Marvel series so far – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and finally the Iron Fist. To us, the idea seems to be around building a superhero team which acts as a more grounded version of the big screen Avengers’ antics.
We’re talking New York-based baddies and local battles, rather than world-ending destruction.
As for what to expect from this first season of Iron Fist? We’d eat our hats if the titular hero hasn’t become buds with Luke Cage by the time the credits roll. We’ve already seen Jessica Jones and Luke Cage pair up – as both heroes and love interests – in their own respective series, so it’ll be interesting to see how both Danny and Daredevil are interlaced.
The good news? With Iron Fist season one launching 17 March, we don’t have long to find out. You’ll be able to find it on Netflix here.
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