When Marvel Studios and Netflix first announced a TV partnership set within Marvel’s cinematic universe, it seemed like a bold plan. Three years and four seasons later, the Marvel universe is thriving on Netflix, and the penultimate project in that initial plan is the premiere of Iron Fist. The show comes on the heels of successful series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, and will be followed by the team-up miniseries, The Defenders, which will see the heroes band together to battle a greater threat.
The fourth in the lineup, Iron Fist features Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones as Danny Rand, a billionaire who returns home to New York City after disappearing years earlier. Armed with a newfound expertise in mystical martial arts and Buddhist philosophy, Danny finds himself fighting with both the criminal element looking to take over the city and his own difficulty in reconnecting with the life he left behind.
Iron Fist is scheduled to premiere March 17, 2017, on Netflix. Here’s everything we know about the series so far.
The martial arts hero known as Iron Fist made his debut in a 1974 issue of Marvel Premiere. Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Iron Fist was the product of a its time, when martial arts heroes were all the rage — both on the screen and in comics. The series quickly became a popular addition to the Marvel Comics universe.
The son of a wealthy businessman, Danny Rand found himself orphaned and alone after a family expedition to find the mysterious city of K’un L’un hidden deep in a treacherous mountain took a deadly turn. Taken in by the city’s inhabitants and its ruler, Danny learns the powerful art of the Iron Fist — a martial arts technique that grants his hands tremendous power — and eventually passes a grueling test to wield the most powerful of the abilities he’s been taught in order to protect the innocent and battle new and ancient evils.
When sales of Iron Fist began to lag, Marvel teamed him with another flagging hero, Luke Cage (also known as Power Man), and the two began a long and successful run of adventures together in their popular team-up series, Power Man and Iron Fist. Over the years, Iron Fist’s adventures would encompass both solo and team-up stories — typically with Luke Cage — while using his family’s vast resources and his powerful abilities to battle criminal (and occasionally magical) threats.
The upcoming Netflix series reportedly samples heavily from Danny’s comic-book origin, with the character returning to New York City after a long absence. Danny Rand will deal with the sinister forces introduced over the course of the three previous Netflix/Marvel series, while also setting up the events of The Defenders miniseries that will bring him together with Mike Colter’s Luke Cage.
A cast that kicks
Assembling the cast of Iron Fist began, as usual, with choosing a lead actor. Finn Jones — who played Loras Tyrell on HBO’s Game of Thrones — was officially attached to the role of Danny Rand in March 2016.
The casting of Jones didn’t come without its fair share of controversy, as many fans hoped to see an actor of Asian descent play the role, breaking with the character’s comic-book history but creating a more diverse cast for the Netflix series.
Returning from Marvel’s earlier Netflix series will be Carrie-Anne Moss and Wai Ching Ho, who reprise their roles as attorney Jeri Hogarth and the mysterious crime lord Madame Gao, respectively. The only actress to appear in all four series, Rosario Dawson is also expected to reprise her role as freelance nurse/hero patcher-upper Claire Temple for the series.
Among the newcomers to the Marvel/Netflix universe in Iron Fist is Jessica Henwick as martial arts instructor Colleen Wing (whose name is referenced in a brief scene in Luke Cage), as well as David Wenham as Harold Meachum, Jessica Stroup as Joy Meachum, and Tom Pelphrey as Ward Meachum. Harold Meachum is a friend-turned-foe of the Rand family in the comics, though what role the Meachum family will play in the series remains unclear.
From page to screen
Plans for Iron Fist to make the leap from comics to the screen go back as far as 2000, with Marvel initially developing an Iron Fist movie that would have had X-Men and G.I. Joe: Retaliation actor Ray Park portraying Danny Rand. That project never went into production, though, destined to remain in development limbo.
Rumors of an Iron Fist television series began circulating in 2013, and Marvel’s four-series-and-a-crossover rollout strategy was first reported in October of that year. That plan — and the identities of the four series and crossover project — were officially confirmed a few weeks later, with Iron Fist announced as part of the package. Initially, Iron Fist was scheduled to premiere as the third of the series, but after the studios saw how well Mike Colter’s portrayal of Luke Cage was received in Jessica Jones, the decision was made to release Luke Cage first.
Marvel’s Iron Fist
According to showrunner Scott Buck (of Dexter and Six Feet Under), Iron Fist features a lighter tone than the previous three Marvel/Netflix ventures.
“Danny Rand himself is a much lighter character,” Buck told IGN in October 2016. “He’s someone that has optimism and hope, and despite whatever the odds are, everything is always going to work out”
Filming began on Iron Fist in April 2016 in and around New York City, with portions of Brooklyn and Long Island representing the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood at various points. The cameras officially stopped rolling on the first season October 8, 2016.
Punching up the promotional cycle
It wasn’t until July 2016 that fans got their first look at Marvel’s take on Iron Fist in action, with the first teaser trailer for the series premiering at that year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego.
While the initial preview was enough to whet fans’ appetite for the show, it wasn’t until October that the premiere date for Iron Fist was officially announced. The news arrived via an ominous teaser that hinted at the mystical elements of the character’s story and concluded with confirmation that the series would debut March 17, 2017.
A new trailer for Iron Fist was then released during New York Comic-Con in October, with the footage offering a few more details about the direction the show will take Danny Rand and the threats he’ll face after his return to New York City. We’ll be updating this post as news comes in so stay tuned for more Iron Fist action.