As with any superhero show, most of the attention before and after the premiere is heaped upon its titular character. For better or worse, that has been the case so far with Marvel’s Iron Fist, as the casting of the comic book martial artist and wielder of the ancient Iron Fist has drawn criticism for its decision to feature Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones as Danny Rand, a role thought by some to be better served by a non-white actor. Though concerns of representation still linger around the show, some of that has been assuaged by the assertions of Finn and others that the series will address matters of diversity.
Much of the notice may remain fixed on Jones for obvious reasons, but Iron Fist also boasts an expansive cast that not only promises to include Jessica Jones co-star Carrie-Anne Moss as razor-sharp attorney Jeri Hogarth, but also a bevy of new characters, like Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), and the Meachum clan, headed up by the villainous Harold Meachum (David Wenham) and his two children Joy and Ward, played by Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey, respectively.
Details on their roles remain vague for the most part, but those familiar with the Iron Fist comic and the character’s origin will likely be aware of the role Harold plays in the death of Danny’s father, which, in classic comic book tradition, serves as a catalyst for Danny’s journey into becoming a hero. As such, much of Harold’s role is assumed to follow somewhat closely to his character’s arc from the source material, albeit with plenty of little flourishes brought in to help flesh the character out across however many episodes he appears in. As for his two children, however, and the family itself, well, according to the actors, there’s more going on than what readers may be familiar with from the comics.
While discussing the show and their roles (via CBR), Wenham, Pelphrey, and Stroup remained coy concerning specific details relating to their interaction with Danny Rand. Even still, given the obvious connection, Wenham seemed happy to confirm that in this iteration of the Iron Fist origin, Harold does indeed have a relationship wit Danny’s father. Wenham said:
“I play Harold Meachum. I play Ward’s father, Harold. [He] was a business partner with Danny Rand’s father. They have a corporation called Rand. He’s a very wealthy, powerful individual, so that was fun to play, ’cause I’m not.”
Wenham went on to describe the familial relationship between the three Meachums and from the way the actor describes it, this does not sound like one happy family unit.
“In terms of the family dynamic, I think it’s fine to say that the relationship between the three of them — Harold, Ward and Joy — is complex, to say the least. It’s multilayered, it’s multidimensional, it’s surprising and it’s forever changing, depending on the circumstances. It’s forever evolving. And, you know, it’s a strange relationship.”
Most recently seen on the last two seasons of Cinemax’s super-pulpy crime drama Banshee, Pelphrey will transition from a reformed neo-Nazi working for the Sheriff’s department to someone who is far different. But according to the actor, don’t expect to see exactly the same Ward as has been seen in the comics.
“Ward is a character in the comic books, but I can’t say too much. I would say that we’re not necessarily beholden to representing him exactly as he appears in the comic book.”
Meanwhile, Stroup (The Following) didn’t offer much more in terms of specific character details, but she mention she had done a bit of research for the role by reading the comics.
“I’ve now caught up reading comic books. [I have] constant questions, constantly trying to follow with the showrunners, the writers, see what they’re going to do with the characters, but my character is a fun and complex one, so I enjoyed it.”
Ultimately, Wenham did his best to try and sum up the series by pointing out ways in which it will be different from what’s come before. And, like a lot of Marvel’s offerings of late, from Doctor Strange to season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the mystical side of the MCU is going to be made front and center. Wenham said:
“‘Iron Fist’ has an opportunity to differentiate itself from the other three [Marvel Netflix shows]. Just to show a different facet from the other three stories… The combination of the martial arts and the mystical element in this one, I think, sort of sets it apart from the others as well. So each one of them is slightly different and I think that’s what will probably interest fans, these things that differentiate it from the others.”
Marvel’s Iron Fist season 1 is expected on March 17, 2017 on Netflix.