Netflix has been enjoying the success of their partnership with Marvel Studios. They produced three successful series with Marvel superheroes as the central characters, each gaining more viewership than the last.
All these series are part of a plan by Netflix and Marvel to produce a miniseries featuring all the heroes who starred in the previous shows. The last of these heroes has arrived, and the miniseries should be here soon.
The titular character of the final series has not always been the most popular character in Marvel’s lineup, but he has seen a revival among hardcore fans in recent decades due to his intriguing lore that is steeped in mysticism and martial arts. This is the backstory of the latest Marvel Universe Hero coming to NetFlix: The Iron Fist.
The Iron Fist’s unique design and backstory were created as part of a trend of martial arts-themed superheroes. Conceptualized in 1973 when Kung-Fu movies from Hong Kong were becoming popular in the U.S. and Bruce Lee was reaching the height of his fame, the name “Iron Fist” supposedly came from a reference from one such film.
The character received enough acclaim to acquire a solo comic book series, but the readership started declining toward the end of the decade. The writers fixed this by combining him with another hero—none other than Luke Cage, another of the stars of Netflix’s Marvel lineup.
Both superheroes starred in the Power Man and Iron Fist series for almost the next ten years, and then the latter was controversially killed off. However, the Iron Fist was brought back a few years later and has starred in several series since.
The man who would become the Iron Fist was born Daniel Rand, the son of Wendell Rand, who was a successful American businessman and martial artist. Wendell also managed to find a mystical city that dwelled in another dimension called K’un-L’un in a Tibet mountain range that appears only once every ten years.
This city became the source of the younger Rand’s later training and powers. Wendell journeyed to the city to study under the man who was the current Iron Fist, hoping to eventually take his place. However, circumstances forced his departure from the mystical city and his return to New York.
Wendell later tried to return to K’un-L’un ten years later with his wife, son, and business partner, Harold Meachum. Due to the series of unfortunate events, the nine-year-old Daniel found himself alone in the mountains, where he eventually found the portal to the city that only appeared every decade.
K’un-L’un is a mystical place and much of the series’ lore stems from its supernatural existence, as do the super powers of the Iron Fist.
The city is one of seven mythological places called the Seven Cities of Heaven. Each one of these cities has a champion similar to the Iron Fist.
Daniel is taken in and raised by his father’s former family and friends, who convince Wendell’s former teacher, Lei Kung, to take the boy under his wing. Danny goes through intense martial arts training.
Becoming the Iron Fist
Over the next decade, Danny managed to successfully complete his training and achieve several accolades along the way. He defeated many enemies and eventually earned the right to take part in the trial that, if he succeeded, would grant him the powers and abilities of the Iron Fist.
All the fighters in K’un-L’un strived and trained tirelessly for a spot among the competitors for the title of the Iron First. The Iron Fist represented K’un L’un in the tournaments held among the Seven Cities of Heaven.
The Iron Fist commanded tremendous power, but to earn the power the competitor had to undergo very hard trials. For example, Danny had to call on all of his strength, endurance, and cunning to figure out how to defeat the monster guarding access to the power of the Iron Fist.
After suffering through the trial, and defeating the monster that guarded the source of the power, Danny eventually proved victorious. He was able to place his hands in a magical brazier that gave him the eponymous power of the Iron Fist—the ability to concentrate his Chi into all his strikes, making every punch unbelievably powerful.
Return to Earth
After becoming the Iron Fist, Daniel Rand elected to leave K’un L’un and cross back through the portal back to Earth. He eventually made his way back to New York, where he confronted old enemies.
This is the point where the first episode of the Netflix series begins, called Snow Gives Way. Though the show strays a bit from the source material, the storyline stays relatively close to the comic book plot.
Danny confronts demons from his past and gets involved in conspiracies both mundane and supernatural.
Heroes for Hire
It was at this point that Danny joined with Luke Cage, known as Power Man in the original comic book storyline, and formed a company together called Heroes for Hire, Inc. The duo would sell themselves out as professional crime solvers, with the help of Jeryn Hogarth—the person known in the Netflix Marvel Universe as attorney Jeri Hogarth.
Cage and Rand worked together for several years, solving many crimes and defeating numerous enemies while working with several other superheroes and characters in the Marvel Universe. Some of those Danny and Luke worked with included the X-Men and the Avengers.
Cage and Rand, in the comic book series, formed Heroes for Hire Inc. before Cage or Rand joined the group of superheroes called The Defenders. Perhaps the Netflix series will follow a similar path and lead to a TV adaption of the crime-fighting team. Maybe the miniseries will see Power Man and Iron Fist developing one of those “bromances”?
If the current adaptation of Iron Fist stays true to the source material, this Daniel Rand should follow in the footsteps of his streaming predecessors and become a hit series, too.