While Marvel’s culminating crossover event series for their street level heroes on Netflix in The Defenders is generating serious hype, we are still months away from the debut of that proverbial puzzle’s final piece with Iron Fist. Starring Game of Thrones alum Finn Jones, the series will inject the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a bit of the Eastern mysticism that dominated this past fall’s box-office hit Doctor Strange. However, Jones hints that the Iron Fist we’ll see in the crossover later this year will be the byproduct of a major evolution from his state in the beginning of the solo series.
In an interview with EW, Finn Jones provides intriguing details about his titular master of mystical martial arts Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist. Debuting in Marvel Comics in 1974, the character’s traditional origin story depicts him as the orphaned son of parents killed in the Himalayan wilderness, raised as a child in the lost city K’un-Lun. Believing Danny to be connected to a prophecy, the monks train him in their mystical ways, leading him to achieve an array of chi-related abilities, notably the power of the Iron Fist, channeling an indestructible, fiery force through his highly-trained fists.
Yet, in working with showrunner Scott Buck (Dexter, Six Feet Under) to translate Iron Fist to television, Jones has opted to focus his performance on Danny’s rather unconventional personal arc, juggling his amazing mystical powers along with an awkward transition to Western civilization upon arriving in New York, explaining:
“This is my version of Iron Fist, this is Scott Buck’s and Netflix’s and Marvel TV’s version of Iron Fist. We are dealing with an entity that is in and of itself.” Adding: “He’s a child trapped in a man’s body. He’s an incredibly fierce warrior, but he doesn’t know who he is.”
Unlike his would-be “Heroes for Hire” partner in the superhero private sector Luke Cage, Danny Rand starts out high-strung and awed by the Western world, having been deprived of things that one typically experiences in life outside of lost mystical Himalayan cities. Much of the solo series will deal with Danny’s personal foibles as he figures out his place in this new society. Indeed, the Iron Fist solo series introduces a powerful, but broken individual locked in a state of arrested development. However, Danny’s maturation and sense of responsibility gained in that series will apparently be put to quick use in street level spinoff The Defenders. According to Jones:
“Iron Fist is like Danny in his adolescence, and The Defenders is like Danny taking responsibility and moving forward with his purpose. He’s craving desperately for family, for help, for guidance, for people to learn from, and for a team [in The Defenders]. But because of what happens in Iron Fist, he’s very untrusting. It’s really his way or no way.”
Of course, on Iron Fist, Jones’s Danny Rand will achieve some unique personal connections upon his arrival in the Big Apple with characters like Colleen Wing (fellow Game of Thrones cast member Jessica Henwick) and Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup). Plus, the glue that holds the Marvel Netflix continuity together in the embattled night shift nurse-turned healer of heroes Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) will also be around in some capacity. From there, he’ll be fighting alongside super-heroic peers like Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and, fatefully, Luke Cage (Mike Colter). Consequently, for Iron Fist, 2017 is likely to be the single most tour-de-force year for a live-action rendition of a comic book character, perhaps ever.
Iron Fist will ball up its mystically-charged fists to make an impactful debut punch on Netflix on March 17. After that, the story of Danny Rand will continue when he joins a street level superteam to thwart a sinister plot by Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra in The Defenders when that crossover series arrives sometime this summer.