As you probably guessed, this article contains nothing but Iron Fist Season 2 spoilers. We have a spoiler free review right here if you prefer.
Iron Fist Season 2 was, as usual, packed with Marvel lore. That isn’t much of a surprise given how these Marvel Netflix shows usually work, but it did do one thing that nobody could have possibly seen coming: it made fans excited about the prospect of Iron Fist Season 3. It did that by elevating Colleen Wing, giving Danny Rand a new purpose, and finally bringing in elements of what is generally considered to be the best Iron Fist comics story.
So with one final warning about spoilers, let’s break down each of these key elements…
Colleen is the new Iron Fist
It’s kind of great when fans get what they want, right? The first season of this show wasn’t particularly beloved as a whole, but everyone liked Colleen Wing. Jessica Henwick brought an effortless cool to the role and a convincing physicality for the fight scenes, and it definitely prompted a certain segment of fandom to wonder just what it would take to make Colleen the lead of a show. Well, now we know.
So why is Colleen a natural fit to contain the power of the Iron Fist? That’s because it turns out that she’s a descendant of Wu Ao-Shi, the legendary Pirate queen of Pinghai Bay, and the first woman to be known as the Immortal Iron Fist. While Wu Ao-Shi is definitely from the comics, the idea that she is an ancestor of Colleen Wing was invented for the show. But more importantly, Wu Ao-Shi could channel her chi not just through her fists and feet, but into the weapons she wielded, notably a bow and arrow. As we see, Colleen has no trouble doing the same with her sword…and this will come up again shortly.
The first season of Iron Fist, The Defenders, and now this season have all been considered an extended origin story, rather than a pure superhero one. But who would have guessed that the origin being told was just as much Colleen’s as it was Danny’s? And ultimately, Danny wasn’t shortchanged, either.
What’s next for Danny Rand?
Danny takes Ward Meachum off on a quest to find out what it would actually mean to be worthy of the power of the Iron Fist. Danny can leave knowing that New York City is in good hands with Colleen, and he goes off to scour the world for secrets. The time jump is for an indeterminate period of time, but somehow in the course of this, Danny not only regained the ability to focus his chi, he also learned how to channel it into a weapon, much the way Colleen does with her sword.
In this case, the weapon is actually weapons, plural, a pair of .45s. Those guns, along with the belt Danny is wearing, belonged to Orson Randall, who, despite the similarity in his name, isn’t actually related to Danny Rand. So…
Who is Orson Randall?
Orson Randall was the Iron Fist between the years 1915-1933. After that, he essentially went into hiding, submerging his power in opium and women. He does have a connection to the Rand family, but is apparently not a relative.
Randall was created by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and David Aja in the pages of their awesome Immortal Iron Fist book. Randall resurfaced after years in hiding, and as far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong), at least in the comics, this is the only time there were multiple people with the power of the Iron Fist alive at the same time. Randall teamed with Danny as Davos resurfaced, and even taught him some new tricks with the fist, such as the ability to channel it into weapons (see those guns and Colleen’s sword again), and how to use it to hypnotize/Jedi mind trick folks.
Randall’s arrival on the show, along with the introduction of the Wu Ao-Shi into the TV mythos can only bode well for how this show will finally handle the legacy elements of the character going forward. It also raises the possibility that we’ll start building towards the “7 Capital Cities of Heaven” story from the comics, which is basically Mortal Kombat in K’un-Lun.
One interesting thing, though. When Orson Randall was introduced, any activity where he activated his powers weakened Danny, as if power is being diverted. Given that Colleen and Danny both seem to be operating at the same time, that rule doesn’t seem to be in effect for TV.
What’s Next for Davos?
Much of this season is loosely based on four issues of Iron Fist stories from the 1970s, Iron Fist #14-15, and Marvel Team-Up #63-64. In those stories, Davos steals the power of the Iron Fist from Danny for his own purposes. Those tales end with Davos essentially being burned up and consumed by the rampant chi power, as he can’t really control it. While that would have been a suitably poetic ending for Davos here considering how much time he spends going on and on and on about purity and honor, it’s far better that Davos live to fight another day, especially because he is one of the most important parts of that “7 Capital Cities of Heaven” story that I can only hope we get one day.
What’s Next for Mary?
Mary (and Joy Meachum) is left in a far more interesting place than Davos. The show builds to the reveal that Mary’s Disassociative Identity Disorder doesn’t just extend to two personalities, there’s a third, even more deadly one lurking in their somewhere. This lines up with the comics, where there’s shy, timid Mary, there’s Typhoid Mary, and there’s Bloody Mary. But in the comics, there’s a fourth alter lurking in there, and I feel like her singing The Mamas & The Papas’ (a group known for perfect 4-part harmonies) “Monday Monday” to herself was an indicator that TV Mary has that fourth side of her, too.
But Mary’s desire to cozy up to Joy and enjoy some of the finer things in life puts her on a path to indulge in some of her comic book adventures. Mary was first introduced as an assassin working for Wilson Fisk, who she was also romantically involved with. These shows have been more comfortable moving major characters around from show to show, even with the departure of Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple. But Misty Knight appeared in nearly as many episodes of Iron Fist as she did of Luke Cage this year, so there’s no reason that Mary can’t start showing up on Daredevil to make Matt Murdock even more miserable than usual. Don’t expect that Typhoid Mary codename to pop up any time soon, as that isn’t these shows’ style, but this is a character worth watching for the future.