At New York Comic-Con last month, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb went off-script during the Marvel-Netflix panel introduction and brought to the stage Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, and Mike Colter to offer a “first look” of sorts at Marvel’s Defenders before the presentation began. They of course play Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, respectively, and the fourth (missing) character to fill out the core team of The Defenders miniseries is supposed to be Iron Fist. His absence on stage, like the lack of official news regarding the Iron Fist series and the character’s casting, might be more telling than you think.
Iron Fist is as challenging to develop for Marvel as he is just plain weird relative to the other three Netflix headliners because he’s essentially magical. We heard in the summer that Marvel was taking a variety of pitches to explain his power source, hinting that this show in particular may deviate greatly from Marvel Comics. Now, there’s a rumor Iron Fist (real name: Danny Rand) may not get a series at all…
Don’t fret. By all accounts, Iron Fist is still coming. He seems to be an important player for the plans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as she should be, but when he does come to Netflix it might be as a Netflix Original feature film instead of a series according to a report by PeelTheOrange who claim to have access to someone who work’s on Marvel’s creative team:
Marvel will be turning Iron Fist into a Netflix exclusive feature film. This will give Marvel extra time and a larger budget for this project. The Punisher will replace Iron Fist as one of the four Defenders.
We can’t tell if there’s any truth to it but it does easily pass by as fan speculation based on what we already know. And what we already know is Marvel has bigger plans for characters like Elektra and Punisher than just having them as supporting characters in Daredevil. We also know Iron Fist’s origin tale doesn’t quite fit the “street level noir side” of the MCU like the other programs do, so having Punisher get his own series (which he absolutely should get regardless) is believable.
There were also rumors earlier this year that there could be connections between next year’s Doctor Strange movie and the Iron Fist series which would be a smart way to start bridging the gap between the Marvel-Netflix heroes and the Avengers universe. The rumors claimed Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) could appear in the series, given their mystical natures, and with the timing of Doctor Strange opening in theaters next November, that’d be a smart window to launch Iron Fist on Netflix.
And if there’s any truth to that part – and we hope there is given Doctor Strange’s role as the head of the Defenders in the comics – it gives some credence to another report coming out of NYCC last month from Bleeding Cool which claimed that Iron Fist was being “hit by Marvel Studios interference” who may have a lot of say in the direction of that character’s role in the MCU and may hinder its development with a strict set of notes and guidelines. Then again, these same sources claimed during NYCC that the Inhumans movie scheduled for 2019 may be canceled and that’s seemingly been debunked…
With the success of Daredevil, and knowing how Marvel TV nailed the intros of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in the first episode of Jessica Jones, there’s a big future ahead for Marvel TV on Netflix beyond the four headliners and their team-up. All of these characters can have ongoing series alongside their team-ups while Netflix ventures into other characters like Punisher or even yet-to-be-seen fan-faves like Moon Knight, Blade, or Ghost Rider. We’ve been saying it for years on Screen Rant; those four should make up a Marvel Knights style team-up.
For Iron Fist though, it doesn’t quite makes sense to introduce Iron Fist with only two hours of running time vs. the 10+ hours he could get with a full season. As neat as it would be to see lower budget Marvel Studios/TV movies enter development – to keep introducing more, lesser known characters and stories – the biggest advantage of the Netflix model is giving characters more screen time and more development, something the big budget features just can’t do with theatrical releases.
Luke Cage and Daredevil season 2 are currently in production now, both scheduled to release on Netflix next year, so if Iron Fist is still in the cards, expect to hear more news in the near future – perhaps even building around the hype of Jessica Jones releasing later this month. The earliest Iron Fist could debut would be next fall but it’s possible it and Defenders both release in 2017.
How do you want to see Iron Fist introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and should he alongside some of the other Defenders join a New Avengers style of movie down the road? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!
Daredevil Season 1 is currently available on Netflix. Jessica Jones will be made available starting November 20th, 2015, followed by Luke Cage Season 1 and Daredevil Season 2 (a.k.a. Daredevil V Punisher) in 2016. Iron Fist and The Defenders will arrive sometime thereafter.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Header edited from art by Mike Deodato.