The last Defender to arrive on Netflix, Iron Fist has already debuted a first kick-ass trailer. And, as it should happen with a series about a martial artist superhero, there are quite a few fight scenes shown and teased in less than two minutes of footage (of course, there is also a corridor fight, complete with axes).
With Luke Cage keeping close to the comics (the show's first season even featured an Easter-Egg with the character's classic outfit), can we hope the same for Iron Fist? Of course we can - the trailer even showcased Danny Rand's ability to channel chi energy! But how much will be kept?
Well, this is a list about what the casual viewer should know about the comic book character Iron Fist before the show arrives! So check it out, and let us know if anything else should be added!
Iron Fist is just a title
While Danny Rand is the Iron Fist, this superhero name is just a title. Just like Captain America was, for that matter, with quite a few superheroes taking up the indestructible shield when Steve Rogers wasn't around.
Danny Rand is just the 66th fighter to bear this title. And, as many would suspect, this title refers to the character's signature move - focusing chi energy into his fists. An Iron Fist can also manipulate the chi energy in order to heal, make himself more resistant, stronger, and so on.
The power of the Iron Fists comes from a legendary dragon called Shou-Lao the Undying, who is reborn within everyone who takes this title. So, in a way, the superhero Iron Fist is basically immortal.
Obviously, I don't expect to see any dragons on Netflix (the origin story of Danny Rand as a superhero involves him plunging his fists into the heart of the dragon). But I would very much like to see one!
The Iron Fists have always been hunted
In the comics, as it happens with many superheroes, there are villains who want to steal a hero's superpower. In the case of Iron Fist, one of those villains is Zhou Cheng. A martial artist himself, Cheng has hunted Iron Fists for seven decades, as a servant of a higher power.
Zhou Cheng has already been confirmed to appear in the Netflix show. However, I doubt that his character will be faithfully adapted.
And that is because, in the comics, Cheng works for a mystical beast called Ch’i-Lin, a beast who wants to feed on the dragon's heart. Unfortunately for Cheng, Danny Rand proves to be too powerful in the end, even if the villain easily defeated the current Iron Fist in their first confrontation.
To be noted, Cheng possesses another extraordinary ability: He can guess the enemy's next movement, no matter how fast it comes. So he is indeed a very powerful individual. This ability may end up being used on Netflix.
A friend of Luke Cage
In the comics, Danny Rand is a good friend of Luke Cage. They are so close that there are hardly any comics with Cage where Iron Fist doesn't also appear.
But their friendship didn't have such a great start, with the two of them actually being enemies. Controlled by a villain, Cage wanted to kill Misty Knight (already confirmed to appear in the Iron Fist show). It was Danny Rand who stopped him and, with the help of Misty, freed the man with indestructible skin.
Of course, this friendship even became a collaboration between the two heroes, who formed Heroes for Hire, Inc., under the supervision of Jeryn Hogarth (she was portrayed by Carrie-Anne Moss in the first season of Jessica Jones).
As with any friendship, there were also moments of disagreement. The biggest of them all seems to have been when Danny Rand inherited his family’s fortune. Since Luke Cage was raised in a poor family, tension grew between them. But all’s well that ends well.
Danny Rand and Misty Knight
This year, Misty Knight was one of the best characters on Luke Cage (thanks to actress Simone Missick). She is confirmed to appear in the first season of Iron Fist, and I wonder: will they, or won't they?
In the comics, Danny and Misty have had a very long and durable relationship. As said, it was Iron Fist who saved Misty from Luke Cage when the latter was controlled by a villain.
The two were so close that, at one time, she even became pregnant - except she wasn't. As it was explained, Danny’s chi energy was so powerful that it simply spilled over, making Misty (and the doctors) believe that she was pregnant.
She wasn't - but this didn't put a damper on their relationship.
So will Danny and Misty become a couple in the Netflix corner of the MCU? It’s more than likely. However, it may be a bit more complicated than that"¦
Danny Rand and Colleen Wing
A samurai warrior and a close friend of both Danny Rand and Misty Knight, Colleen Wing has no superpowers at all. However, she does have an interesting story arc, which will most likely be adapted for Netflix. Jessica Henwick (who appeared in Game of Thrones as one of the Sand Snakes, with Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell) was already announced to portray her in all 13 episodes of the first season.
In the comics, the two didn't have a romantic relationship. But the pics leaked from the set did surprise her and Finn during a rather intense conversation"¦
Anyway, Colleen also had a relationship with Luke Cage. But since the hero is already involved in a relationship with Claire Temple"¦As said, it’s complicated.
With Misty Knight, Colleen formed KnightWing Restorations Ltd., a private detective firm. Given the disappointment Misty met at the end of Luke Cage's first season, I can definitely see her quitting the police force.
Iron Fist was Daredevil
As said before, it’s a common thing in the comics for superheroes to inherit titles from other superheroes. Iron Fist is just one of them. However, when he became Daredevil, this wasn't the case.
At one time in the comics, Matt Murdock was sent to prison for being a vigilante - as everybody knows, he was one. However, Danny Rand didn't want to see him blamed for all the good, but illegal things he did, so he donned the red suit instead.
Murdock wasn't too pleased to see someone else as Daredevil. However, upon finding that Danny Rand was the one impersonating him, he came to terms with the fact.
So this is yet another connection that can be made between the Netflix shows. There are very few chances for this to actually happen - but if at one moment or another some villain finds out Daredevil's identity and the lawyer is sent to prison, there is someone to help him get out of the mess.
As mentioned before, Iron Fist and Luke Cage set up Heroes for Hire. However, they were both part of a bigger team called Defenders. On Netflix, the show The Defenders will be aired in 2017 and it will feature, besides the two already-mentioned superheroes, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The Punisher might also pop-up during the first season.
But Iron Fist was also a member of the New Avengers, which formed after Scarlet Witch attacked the Avengers. Given his abilities, it’s no wonder - also, it helped being rich, with Luke Cage buying the Avengers tower from Tony Stark.
Iron Fist was also a Secret Avenger, being on Captain America's team. He even fought in the final battle of the Civil War. So I can certainly say that this was a missed opportunity, especially since, at this moment, the MCU lacks a true martial artist superhero.
Speaking of martial arts"¦
One of the best martial artists in the Marvel universe
I previously said that there aren't any true martial artists in the MCU at this moment - Captain America is primarily a soldier, Hawkeye is an archer, and Black Panther is best known for other superpowers. These are excellent fighters, but they aren't anywhere near the level of Iron Fist.
On the other hand, the majority of the comic book fans consider Danny Rand as the second most exceptional martial artist in the entire Marvel universe. Who is better than he is? That would be Shang Chi, a character rumored to appear next year in the first season of Iron Fist.
Danny Rand is an expert in almost all forms of martial arts from Earth. Furthermore, he is also an expert in K'un Lun's fighting system. And since K'un Lun is a city from a different dimension, built by aliens, it is understandable that Danny Rand is one of the best fighters in the Marvel universe.
Besides his skill in unarmed combat, Iron Fist is also a weapons master and one of the most skilled acrobats. As mentioned before, he can use chi energy to various effects - so why didn't Marvel introduce him into the MCU?
Ray Park and Iron Fist
Back in 2000, when the first X-Men arrived (changing comic book movies forever), Marvel Studios decided to make an Iron Fist flick. So in 2001 actor Ray Park (who also appeared in the first X-Men as Toad) was hired to bring Danny Rand to life on the big screen.
Kirk Wong (known for his many martial arts movies) was hired to direct, on a script written by John Turman (Hulk and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer). The movie almost made it into pre-production in 2002 - almost. Wong dropped out in 2003, and was replaced by Steve Carr (Paul Blart: Mall Cop), for a 2004 release date.
Then the release date was pushed to 2006, and in 2007 the movie was placed on hold indefinitely.
In 2009, after the huge success of Iron Man, the studio announced plans to bring Iron Fist to the big screen, together with Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Vision, Cable, and Nighthawk. We all know how the MCU turned out afterwards.
One of the better known enemies of Iron Fist, Steel Serpent is also a K’un-Lun martial artist, having defeated Danny Rand on several occasions during their confrontations. There is no word that he'll appear on Netflix next year. However"¦
However, Madame Gao will make an appearance, as it was revealed in the trailer. Madame Gao also appeared in the first season of Daredevil, where she was just a drug lord. The connection between her and the supervillain is the drug she was selling, a brand of heroic called Steel Serpent. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Especially if we take into account the skills Madame Gao showcased when she was confronted by Matt Murdock.
Of course, this is just a rumor. However, the first season of Iron Fist does need a big baddie, a boss for Zhou Cheng, and someone who has taught Gao how to channel chi energy. And that big baddie could be Steel Serpent.