‘Iron Fist’ FAQ: Your Biggest Questions About Marvel’s Final ‘Defender,’ Answered
Marvel’s Iron Fist will punch some glowing justice into New York City as early as this Friday, completing the final leg of Netflix Defenders setup. We’ve already focused our chi against Marvel’s dumbed-down retelling of Batman Begins, but before your own binge, get answers to some of Iron Fist’s most burning questions with our spoilery FAQ review of the first six episodes!
[BE WARNED, SOME SPOILERS AHEAD]
One last time: Is there any context as to when in the MCU Iron Fist takes place, or is it the same awkward “Incident” reference every five minutes?
Oddly enough, I counted only one “Incident” reference in the six episodes shown to critics, and it goes by quickly enough that you don’t even have time to wonder … does Danny Rand have any clue that aliens invaded New York, or that superheroes have come out of the woodwork? Danny’s been in K’un L’un for fifteen years, and we’re given little insight into his return trek from the Himalayas to New York so … it’s unclear what he knows.
In either case, no, no one has occasion to mention any of the S.H.I.E.L.D.-imploding, robot-uprising, country-dropping, Ant-Manning, Civil Warring, or Strange-doctoring events since. Iron Fist appears to take place in the spring. This much is clear.
The major Marvel movie cameo question is probably moot, then.
Fine. Surely characters from the other Defenders series put in appearances, right?
Carrie-Anne Moss’ Jeri Hogarth plays a much more significant role than her last appearance in Daredevil Season 2, but that’s to be expected, given the character typically serves as a Rand corporation lawyer in the comics. There’s Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, of course, somehow again running afoul of super-powered characters in need of medical attention. Girl’s really gotta move.
Oh, and seeing as it’s in the trailer, Madame Gao definitely puts in a few significant appearances. To be honest, I’m a bit unclear on her association with The Hand, seeing as she didn’t appear affiliated with them in either Daredevil season.
So The Hand pops up, then?
Danny Rand’s sworn purpose as the Iron Fist is to “Destroy The Hand.” I’m not saying the series doesn’t whiff a few balls, but that’s right on the tee.
How about the Defenders themselves?
The name “Daredevil” is spoken aloud, and Claire makes her usual allusions, but no. No one that distracting in the first six episodes, and my understanding is we’re saving those meetings for the actual Defenders series.
How much of Danny’s comic origin is shown, or needs explaining?
Iron Fist gets a little wonky in this regard, as Danny has no hesitation reciting some of the more outlandish elements of training with Lei-Kung the Thunderer, or fighting Shou-Lao the Undying, but so far, actual footage of K’un L’un is thus far kept to a minimum. You’ll see the plane crash, and a few isolated moments of young Danny’s training over the years. Unlike the other Defenders, Danny’s origin was probably too complicated to gloss over in brief dialog or flashbacks.
Is Danny really a “Dumb, Idiot-Manchild Batman?”
Oliver Bruce Wayne trained several years for the means to save his city, and came back with very specific goals of rejoining his company, following certain leads and taking on the underworld?
Danny does none of that.
I mean, sure, he trained for many years to become the Iron Fist. He’s great at having an Iron Fist. He is less great at expressing an actual reason to rejoin the corporate world he has absolutely no knowledge of, or aptitude toward. He is also completely oblivious to the fact that his mortal enemies actually exist, let alone have surfaced in New York. What luck, right?
I guess. Is the actual Iron Fist at least cool?
As you might have guessed, it’s used pretty sparingly early on, but does get a neat use or two outside of breaking doors and walls.
How about the fight scenes themselves?
Regrettably, there’s little here you haven’t seen outside any series attempting high martial arts on a TV budget. An early “hallway fight” doesn’t seem to be making the same effort as either of Daredevil’s one-takes, or Luke Cage’s raid on the Crispus Attucks building, noticeably relying on stunt performers as well. There’s a fight in a moving vehicle that earns a few points, and a series of well-staged individual bouts in a later episode, but Colleen Wing’s cage fights are probably more worth your time.
What should we know about the Meachums? Are they our Season 1 villains?
They’re a confusing bunch, but suffice to say – Jessica Stroup’s Joy and Tom Pelphrey’s Ward are childhood friends of Danny’s, given David Wenham’s Harold Meachum co-owned the Rand Corporation with Danny’s father, Wendell. Once Danny makes it back to New York, neither Joy nor Ward are inclined to believe this kung-fu vagabond purporting to have majority ownership in their company, though Joy in particular seems to switch between sympathetic and subversive of Danny’s return.
Ward, on the other hand, is laughably petulant about the whole thing, and Harold … well, there’s a good reason you haven’t seen him interacting with many characters in previews. I don’t get the sense he’s really the big bad, though there’s definitely something shady in his motivations.
So, no one on par with Kingpin, Kilgrave, Cottonmouth, Black Mariah …
Iron Fist really got the short end of the stick here.
Huh. At least Colleen Wing plays a big part, right?
Sure! She’s like everyone else, at first, in that she has no interest in this glowing homeless man constantly invading her personal space, getting her involved in corporate shenanigans and such. Still, a katana-wielding martial artist trying to keep her dojo afloat with cage-fighting money is miles more interesting than whether or not Danny gets his trust fund back.
Does Iron Fist keep the same level of violence and adult rating?
It’s pretty tame, compared with Daredevil Season 2 or Luke Cage veering into bullet-riddled bodies, strippers and sex scenes. There’s a head on a pike at one point, but it’s worth remembering that Danny himself keeps a childlike mentality, and doesn’t invite anything too unsavory. The subject of his … ahem, “chastity” even arises at one point.
I am also reasonably convinced two characters are in a BDSM relationship offscreen
Wait – what?
There’s a belt involved … these characters don’t seem to get out much … I have questions.
Moving on. How’s the soundtrack?
Measuring up to Luke Cage was probably impossible in that regard, but the premiere does make use of OutKast’s “So Fresh, So Clean,” among whatever else Danny keeps on his iPod to train by. Honestly, it doesn’t come up too much, and the theme heard in the opening and closing credits is nothing terribly memorable.
Does Danny get anything resembling a costume?
The subject of Danny’s clothes is a recurring one, particularly given his hippie-dippie outfit in the first episode, and some loaned clothes thereafter. Eventually, Danny starts wearing suits and normal outfits, doing his best to dress incognito on missions as well. As you may have heard, however, showrunner Scott Buck said they didn’t crack why Danny would wear a full-fledged costume in Season 1.
So whatever happened with that Iron Fist foreshadowing with the heroin bags in Daredevil Season 1?
They have definitely been woven into the plot here, as you might have seen in the trailer. People like heroin!
Any kind of overall Defenders setup?
The early Defenders teaser overwhelmingly nodded toward The Hand, which very much survived Daredevil Season 2, so it’s reasonably clear that needle will continue to be threaded here, but not concluded outright. Alas, I didn’t see Sigourney Weaver peeking out from behind any corners.
What’s the weirdest thing about Iron Fist?
I have so many questions. There is a character who discovers a need for M&M’s, and inexplicably keeps unopened party bags of them in a cabinet behind her. There is an oil/pharmaceutical company running ads of its two dead founders, with their families shouting “We are Rand!” at no audience in particular. There is an instructor teaching youths how to follow, and assault women in public. A young, successful biochemist evidently moonlights as a poison dominatrix for super-ninjas. Tom Pelphrey does not know how to swallow pills like a human person.
And it goes on like this.
Marvel’s Iron Fist will debut all 13 episodes for streaming on Netflix on Friday, March 17 at 12:00 A.M. PST / 3:00 A.M. EST.