Take one part Bruce Lee, add a dash of Indiana Jones, and sprinkle in the super heroics of the Marvel Universe, and you have yourself, Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist. Originally, the second half of the duo, “Heroes for Hire” along with Luke Cage, Iron Fist takes center stage when it comes to representing the “martial arts” side of the Marvel Universe. As part of the announced Marvel/Netflix deal, Iron Fist closes out the quartet of characters who will be getting their own shows in 2015. Join Collider as we walk you through this martial arts master who is sure to show us a side of the Marvel Universe we have yet to see play out on the small screen. Hit the jump!
For me personally, Iron Fist finally arriving on the small screen is one of the most anticipated arrivals from the Marvel/Netflix deal. His origins stem back to a mystical city called “K’un Lun” – which even I’m not sure how to pronounce after all this time – whose currency runs on mysticism and kung fu. Brought there as a child by his father, Rand, like many other heroes of his ilk, loses his parents due to malicious ends and vows to study the ways of martial arts to avenge them. From here, he studies beneath the masters of the city and in order to receive his “iron fist”, which he essentially charges up to make it “hard as iron”, he must plunge it into the egg of a dragon. That’s right, Danny gains his abilities through plunging his fist into the egg of a giant dragon. If that’s not a hook for you, I don’t know what is!
One of the best Iron Fist stories, titled the “Immortal Iron Fist”, was a series produced by creators Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker, which walked the readers not only through Danny’s origins, but also his greatest adventure as he fought the forces of Hydra who were attempting to infiltrate K’un Lun. This story would act as the perfect place to begin the series on Netflix as it gives a general overview of the character, as well as ramping up all the aspects of what makes Iron Fist work and connecting to the greater Marvel Universe. There is a combination of adventurism and hardcore martial arts as Danny must enter into a tournament to not only save the city where his powers were born, but also discover the political corruption both inside and out of its walls. Think Game of Thrones meets Enter the Dragon with a Marvel twist, and you have Iron Fist.
Let’s get the more obvious supporting cast out of the way in terms of allies for Iron Fist. There are the usual suspects in that Danny has strong connections to both Luke Cage, as his partner in Heroes for Hire, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil, and I expect that they may well be making appearances in one another’s shows before the announced crossover series, The Defenders unites them all. However, there’s also Misty Knight, who is Danny’s on again, off again girlfriend who also patrols the streets as a vigilante for hire. These characters are all great in their own right, but they’re not what I’m most excited to see in the Iron Fist show. I can’t wait to see the Immortal Weapons.
The Immortal Weapons are the fellow participants in the martial arts tournament that Iron Fist participated in, which was mentioned earlier. Each represents a different city, as Danny had represented K’un Lun, and have their own distinct personalities, powers, and styles of martial arts. They include Prince of Orphans, Bride of Nine Spiders, Dog Brother #1, and my personal favorite, Fat Cobra. Eventually, the weapons arrive on earth following the tournament and could create for a great “fish out of water” story, similar to Marvel’s Thor, where Danny has to introduce these colossal kung fu titans to the real world. While Iron Fist started out as a more earth-bound character with strong roots in the martial arts scene, it eventually became a sprawling epic on par with some of Marvel’s greatest works and it would behoove Marvel studios to stick with the layout that Brubaker and Fraction put together during their run.
Iron Out Some Problems
With Iron Fist, there’s a big opportunity to do a lot of what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been struggling with and that’s showing a side of the Marvel Universe that hasn’t been seen. Iron Fist can give us the opportunity to not only view the seedy underbelly of the New York streets, but also swing to the mystical overtones of cities with dragons and opponents such as the Steel Serpent, another follower of K’un Lun who uses his abilities for personal gain. Marvel needs to use this show, more so than the other three green lit by Netflix, to show off the fantastic. Iron Fist can act as a gateway or trial if you will, to show off a lot of the supernatural aspects of the universe, while also throwing in a protagonist who is proficient in the martial arts.
Recently, I have finally gotten onto the bandwagon that is CW’s Arrow and Oliver Queen is very similar to Danny Rand in a lot of ways, as both mostly rely on their physical prowess and are heirs to vast fortunes from their families. However, the show is also fill to bursting with nods and winks to comic book fans that I feel the Marvel/Netflix shows should take note of, and certainly Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well. The bottom line, above all of these things, is that Arrow, despite a few problems here and there with melodrama, is a really solid show and does a great job of balancing out flashbacks with current day events, while exploring characters that are strong and well rounded. Taking a similar approach with Danny Rand while also adding in much more fantastical elements would be the best way to create a sure fire hit for the final of the Marvel/Netflix shows.