Now that Marvel’s Luke Cage season 1 has premiered, there’s only one more street-level New York based Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero whose origins are left to be explored, before they and the other members of The Defenders unite. That would be Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist, the mystically-powered martial arts warrior being played by Game of Thrones alum Finn Jones. And similar to what fellow New York-based ninja/crime series Daredevil has done over the past two years, Iron Fist is going to be premiering brand-new episodes in the first quarter of the (new) year.
Iron Fist, as created and run by Scott Buck (Dexter, Six Feet Under), tells the tale of Danny Rand and how he returns to New York City to reclaim his family’s company, some fifteen years after he was presumed dead in a plane crash. Other key players in the story include Jessica Henwick (another Game of Thrones veteran) as Colleen Wing, a fellow martial artist who becomes an ally to Iron Fist, and David Wenham (Faramir from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy) as Harold Meachum; the business partner to Danny’s late father who, for reasons that you can probably guess, isn’t so happy when Danny Rand returns from the dead.
Marvel has previously announced that Iron Fist season 1 would be hitting Netflix in 2017, but now the show has an official premiere date: March 17th, 2017, as you no doubt noticed from the announcement video above. An official first look image of Danny Rand, sans his Iron Fist costume, in action has also been unveiled, and you can check it out below:
While all of the Marvel/Netflix series exist within and contain references to the larger MCU, Iron Fist traditionally has the most direct connections to Luke Cage, as far as Defenders-related superhero titles go. In the world of Marvel comics, Danny Rand and Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter in the MCU) eventually form their own business called Heroes for Hire; something Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker has teased could be explored in Luke Cage (and/or Iron Fist) season 2. Danny and Luke aren’t the only superheroes from New York who form their own crime-fighting business either, as Colleen Wing and Misty Knight (played by Simone Missick on Luke Cage) eventually join forces and found their own privative detective team (known as ‘The Daughters of the Dragon’) in the Marvel comics.
So far, each Marvel/Netflix TV series has successfully distinguished itself from its peers, despite the similarities in tone and style, as well as the immediate connections they have with one another. Daredevil started off as a mobster drama blended with a martial arts superhero story in season 1 before evolving into more of a pure martial arts superhero saga in season 2. Jessica Jones season 1, by comparison, unfolds as neo-Noir flavored psychological thriller and is poised to carry over that approach into season 2. Luke Cage season 1 is the most overtly political of these Defenders lead-up series thus far, playing out as an inner-city crime drama (in the vein of The Wire) that is unapologetically influenced by black culture; be it music, literature, or the 1970s Blaxploitation movement that inspired the original Luke Cage comics in the first place.
Iron Fist is shaping up to be the most overtly mystical of the Marvel/Netflix series release thus far, and it arrives at the perfect moment in the MCU’s evolution to do that. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 has now introduced the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider into the MCU and begun to integrate more similarly supernatural elements into the mix too. Of course, all bets are off when it comes to incorporating magic into what has primarily been a cinematic universe grounded in fictional science to date, when Doctor Strange hits theaters this November.
Daredevil season 1 & 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist season 1 arrives on March 17th, 2017. The Defenders arrives in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, The Punisher and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.