From the ‘Iron Throne’ to ‘Iron Fist’, Finn Jones (Ser Loras Tyrell in Game Of Thrones) has been cast in the lead role of Marvel’s Iron Fist as Daniel Rand, coming soon to Netflix.
Iron Fist will eventually be joining Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in Marvel’s The Defenders series that will also premiere on Netflix.
So who exactly is Iron Fist?
The official synopsis for Marvel’s Iron Fist is as follows:
Returning to New York City after being missing for years, Daniel Rand fights against the criminal element corrupting New York City with his incredible kung fu mastery.
Season One of Marvel’s Daredevil actually did something really sneaky and set up Marvel’s Iron Fist right under our very noses.
Soon I’ll give you a tonne of Iron Fist easter eggs that were in Marvel’s Daredevil and then you’ll see how all the pieces fit together, which will give you insider knowledge and prepare you for Marvel’s Iron Fist, you lucky thing, you.
You’ll also get a great look at some amazing art from two influential comic book series’, The Immortal Iron Fist and Iron Fist: The Living Weapon. I love the way the artists of those Iron Fist books manage to capture the elegant movements of Kung Fu on the pages (the naming of the Kung Fu moves is also very cool).
I’m pretty sure Marvel’s Iron Fist will also draw a lot of inspiration from these books as Marvel Television has done with Daredevil’s books (The Man Without Fear) and Jessica Jones’ R-Rated comic book series (Alias).
Before we get into who Iron Fist is, let’s dig deep into what makes Iron Fist.
The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven
In the Marvel Universe there are seven mystical cities that are pocket dimensions. Their magic keeps the gates to these cities / dimensions hidden in various, hard-to-reach places around the world.
These pocket dimensions are like jigsaw pieces and every 88 years these pieces merge together, forming one dimension called the “Heart of Heaven”.
It is at this time of “heavenly convergence” that each city nominates their own champion, known as an “Immortal Weapon”, to do battle in a tournament to win a spot on Earth.
Immortal Weapons are known for their incredible skills in martial arts and powerful ability to use Chi energy in various ways. They are called “Immortal” because their champion title is a legacy one, passed through generations, and so they can actually die.
The winner’s city can appear on Earth once every decade, while the losing cities can only appear once every five decades, until the next tournament in 88 years.
The champion city of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven is called K’un-Lun, it appears within the Himalayan mountains once every ten years. It is also the birthplace of Kung Fu. K’un-Lun’s Immortal Weapon is known as the Iron Fist.
Every champion of K’un-Lun must fight a dragon named ‘Shou-Lao the Undying’, whose fiery molten heart is actually kept outside its body and close by for safety, keeping the dragon immortal. The undying energy of the dragon’s heart grants a chosen few channel to this eternal energy, known as the power of the Iron Fist. Danny Rand is the 66th Iron Fist to date.
The power of an Iron Fist is great, allowing them to focus their Chi / life energy to extreme levels, making them superhumanly strong, agile, fast, and even heal from life threatening injuries.
The ‘Iron Fist Punch’ is the most signature move, when all their Chi is focused into their fist until it’s flaming with energy that can be channeled into blasts or an Iron Fist Punch that can shatter brick and rip through steel.
Danny Rand’s story starts with his father, Wendell Rand who was an outworlder that found his way to K’un-Lun and trained to become a warrior there.
Wendell was trained alongside Davos (who would later be known as the Steel Serpent – there is a very big connection here to Daredevil Season One, explained further on in this article).
Wendell and Davos were friends, but were pitted against each other to win the honor of facing the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying and becoming the Iron Fist.
Davos lost the fight to Wendell but believed he was the rightful winner because he refused to yield and Wendell refused to kill him, so Davos broke the rules and went to face Shou-Lao anyway.
Davos lost to Shou-Lao and was brutalized by the dragon until near death. Shou-Lao chose to spare Davos’ life so that he may live it in shame.
Wendell couldn’t stop thinking about Davos being attacked by the dragon and instead of facing Shou-Lao, Wendell turned away and left K’un-Lun.
He went to New York City to start a new life and eventually co-founded a successful multi-million dollar business empire which would become Rand International.
Little did Wendell know that his destiny wasn’t to become the Iron Fist, but to father one.
The Return to K’un-Lun
Over the years it appeared that Wendell became unstable and obsessed with returning to K’un-Lun, so much that he endangered his wife Heather and son Danny by taking them on an icy expedition to the unforgiving Himalayas, around the time K’un-Lun was due to materialize.
The family was accompanied by Harold Meachum, Wendell Rand’s business partner. It was suggested that Wendell wasn’t the reason Harold journeyed this far, but rather it was Wendell’s wife Heather, with whom Harold was having an ongoing affair with.
Wendell fell from a mountain ledge and grabbed onto a rope. What happened next was very fast: Harold let go of the rope, dropping a crazed Wendell to his death.
Harold denied he did it. Horrified, Heather and Danny ran. Her survival was short lived as Heather died, sacrificing herself as she protected Danny from a pack of wolves. Surviving, Danny reached the bridge to K’un-Lun and was found by their citizens, who killed the wolves with their arrows and took Danny into their city.
Danny had watched both of his parents die. It was there, within the walls of K’un-Lun that Danny swore to avenge the death of his parents and kill Harold Meachum. Danny studied martial arts until he was old enough to face Shou-Lao the Undying.
Danny was the first person to not only defeat the dragon, but actually slay it by holding his body against the dragon’s heartless chest, blocking the dragon from the life force of its powerful heart that is stowed outside of its body.
This resulted in a dragon tattoo branded on his chest, and Danny plunged his hands into the brazier where the dragon’s molten heart is kept and gained the power of the Iron Fist. Danny would return to New York and inherit his father’s multi-million dollar empire, Rand International, and continue fighting as the Iron Fist.
How It’s All Connected: Iron Fist and the MCU
Now it’s time to see how the world of Iron Fist is all connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
(spoilers ahead for Daredevil Season One – if you haven’t seen it yet then where have you been?)
Daredevil Season One drops a mighty big easter egg that Davos aka the Steel Serpent exists.
The first confirmation we get is the obvious ‘Steel Serpent’ symbol used on these packets of heroin, is the same symbol on Davos’ chest.
Ominously, this pure heroin is known on the streets as “Still Serpent” and is produced by Madame Gao.
There is something very weird about Madame Gao.
Madame Gao often speaks in riddles and we gather there is much more to her character.
In the final scene before Madame Gao leaves, she says she will visit her homeland and reflect upon the future. When asked if her home is China, Gao says her home is “a considerable distance further”.
By “further” could she mean … ANOTHER DIMENSION?!
Popular theories are that Madame Gao is actually an other-dimensional character called Crane Mother, who is the ruler of K’un-Zi which is, you guessed it, one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven!
In the comic books Davos, the Steel Serpent who is native to K’un-Lun, ends up fighting on behalf of Crane Mother’s city named K’un-Zi. Crane Mother’s connection to Davos in the comic books would explain Madame Gao’s affiliation with the Steel Serpent in the MCU.
Also, did anyone else notice Madame Gao’s unusual strength when she caught Daredevil by surprise?
Other weird things about Madame Gao are that when asked how many languages she can speak, she says “all of them”.
The factory workers responsible for producing her heroin also seem to have undying loyalty to Gao as if under a spell. She tells Daredevil that they blinded themselves for this reason:
Notice how she says “your” world, as if she doesn’t belong to Daredevil’s world? And perhaps that “something” could be the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven? Very curious.
Stick (Daredevil’s former mentor) and Stone, both leaders of a mystical order of ninja called the Chaste, sit in a dark room.
Stone refers to Daredevil when he asks Stick, “Will he be ready when the doors are opened?” which could refer to the doors to K’un-Lun which are due to re-open and welcome the return of Iron Fist.
The icicle that is Jeri Hogarth in Marvel’s Jessica Jones is originally Jeryn Hogarth in the comic books, a supporting character in the Iron Fist storylines. Hogarth is the Rand Family’s lawyer and becomes executor Wendell’s estate after his death.
Hogarth becomes the attorney of Heroes for Hire Inc, a small business owned by Luke Cage and Danny Rand that offers a full line of professional investigation and protection services.
Angela Del Toro, a private detective, is mentioned in Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
This is significant because Angela Del Toro becomes a superhero called the White Tiger, and the jade amulet from which she gains her powers originates from K’un-Lun, so we could very well see White Tiger in the near future.
There is one other character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a strong connection to magic and the Himalayas / Nepal … Doctor Strange! A temple in the Himalayas is where Doctor Strange first learned to practice sorcery.
Doctor Strange is out November 2016 and introduces the MCU to a broader storytelling of magic and dimensions. So far the Marvel Netflix series’ have done well to keep the super powers very underplayed as part of the more grounded episodes, so it will be interesting to see how they approach Iron Fist’s more mystical elements.
Iron Fist and Luke Cage (aka Power Man) are best friends that have fought crime together on more than one occasion. Iron Fist also joined the Avengers with Luke Cage only to support his friend. It would be great to see these two partner up in each others’ series.
In the comic books, Matt Murdock was jailed because evidence was provided that he’s Daredevil. During Matt’s incarceration, Iron Fist disguises himself as Daredevil and defends Hell’s Kitchen, in an effort to convince the public and media that Murdock is not the vigilante.
With the addition of Iron Fist to the MCU this could be a possible storyline for future seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil.
And there you have it! You are now officially an expert on Iron Fist. There’s no date for this series yet, but with the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil and the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage due this year, it’s safe to say that Marvel’s Iron Fist is due for release next year.