‘Iron Fist’: Why This Marvel Show Will Not Be What You Expect

In the past decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has grown from an upstart shared universe built on the back of the once B-level hero, Iron Man, into the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Moreover, it has shaped the industry as a whole with seemingly every studio scrambling to duplicate its success, including longtime rival DC Comics. In eight years, the MCU has spawned more than a dozen films and several television series, and the franchise shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

In fact, the past couple of years have seen the MCU create an entirely new branch of storytelling over at Netflix. The 2015 debut of Daredevil redeemed the character’s lackluster 2003 film with a character-driven, morally complex vision of The Man Without Fear and a gifted cast anchored by Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock himself.

More recently, Jessica Jones — and its spinoff Luke Cage — have taken superhero stories in a decidedly non-traditional direction. There are no origin stories, codenames, or flashy costumes in either show, just the intimate stories of two severely damaged people trying to make a difference in the world. All three Marvel Netflix shows thus far have kept fans riveted and have continued to develop a shared universe that, while very much its own thing, serves as a microcosmic view of the world inhabited by the Avengers.

Finn Jones as Iron Fist

Finn Jones as Iron Fist | Netflix

So fans of the MCU are naturally enthusiastic to see how the next addition to the Netflix arm will propel the story forward. After all, Iron Fist — which will hit the streaming service on March 17, 2017 — marks the final step before the aforementioned heroes all unite for the Netflix miniseries, The Defenders, expected to be released sometime in 2017.

Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones plays Danny Rand, a martial arts expert with the ability to summon the titular power, with Jessica Henwick (also of Game of Thrones), David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings), Jessica Stroup (The Following), and Tom Pelphrey (Banshee) rounding out the supporting cast. As with the previous Marvel Netflix shows, Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple — who has already served as an ally for the three existing heroes — will pop up on Iron Fist as well.

Iron Fist , Netflix, The Defenders

Finn Jones in Iron Fist | Netflix

However, seeing as Iron Fist is the fourth MCU show on Netflix, fans may be wondering how the series hopes to set itself apart from what has come before. Firstly, the mystical power that Danny Rand wields promises to bring this branch of the MCU into the supernatural far more than any of the previous series have.

While Daredevil pitted Matt Murdock against The Hand, much of the mysticism involved was more on the periphery. Daredevil himself was a grounded hero, who used his fighting skills (and, yes, his “heightened” senses) to fight crime throughout Hell’s Kitchen. Iron Fist, on the other hand (pun intended), brings magic into the world in much the same way Doctor Strange will for the films. It expands upon what was established in Daredevil and marries the stunt work and combat seen in that show with a more supernatural threat, no doubt building up to what the Defenders may face in their team-up series.

Iron Fist

Iron Fist | Marvel Comics

Furthermore, since Iron Fist is the final step before the Defenders (for lack of a better term) assemble, it also has the dual responsibility of bringing its own hero into live-action for the first time and setting the final pieces in place for the superhero team-up.

We’ve already heard that The Hand will play a role in Iron Fist and that Marvel Netflix characters like Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Madame Gao (Wai Ching) — who played roles on Jessica Jones and Daredevil, respectively — will appear, implying that this fourth entry in the Defenders universe may go all-out in setting up the need for these heroes to come together. In fact, the recent announcement that Sigourney Weaver will play the main villain in The Defenders means that the Alien and Ghostbusters actress will likely show up briefly toward the latter part of Iron Fist as well.

Iron Fist - Netflix

Iron Fist | Netflix

From its subject matter to the promise of tying together all the Marvel Netflix shows that have preceded it, Iron Fist could be one of the best series to come out of the MCU yet. Recent rumors have indicated that Marvel is getting close to tying the Netflix shows in with the films and the ABC series, Agents of SHIELD. And seeing that the road to the game-changing threat of Thanos is fast coming to a close, the time has never been better for Marvel to finally line up all of its moving parts for an epic story that just might change the way superheroes are brought to life on-screen. Again.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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