Now that Luke Cage has burst onto Netflix (and wowed fans and critics alike) there’s one show left in Netflix’s promised four-part Defenders universe: Iron Fist. This final series will join Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones in the spring, and the teasers and trailers we’ve seen so far look like it’s going to be another smash hit for the streaming service. We’ve already brought you a run down on some basic Iron Fist facts, so that casual fans can catch up on the history of the Immortal Weapon of K’un Lun, and now it’s time to delve into some of the lesser known factoids about the incredible martial artist also known as Danny Rand.
15. He’s From A Mystical Alien City
Plenty of comic books get a little bit weird, and Iron Fist is definitely on the stranger end of the spectrum in many ways. Danny Rand’s superpowers were granted to him for defeating a mystical and undying serpent (which also gives him the dragon brand on his chest), a battle which took place in the fictional land known as K’un Lun.
Although K’un Lun appears in the Himalayas and looks like it might just be an untouched civilization on our earth, it’s actually a city in another dimension that is only accessible every ten years. And if a supernatural, magical city that disappears wasn’t enough, it was also built by aliens. The city was founded when an alien craft crash-landed, and a new civilization was built on the crash site using the ship’s parts. The disappearing act is actually thanks to the damaged warp drive of the craft, which created an oscillating rift between the K’un Lun world and ours.
14. He’s The 66th Iron Fist
He may be titled the Immortal Iron Fist, but Danny Rand isn’t actually immortal, when you get down to it. There has always been an Iron Fist, but that role has been filled by multiple different warriors throughout the ages. Danny Rand is actually the sixty-sixth person to hold the title of Iron Fist – just one in a long line that started with Quan Yaozu.
The real immortal behind the title isn’t the man (or woman) wearing the mask; it’s the dragon that grants them their power. Shou-lao The Undying is reborn with each new Iron Fist, and it is the heart of the dragon that bestows power on the chosen warrior. The Iron Fist is incredibly difficult to kill, though – almost to the point of being functionally immortal. The ability to channel his chi to heal, his super strength, and his durability basically guarantee him a long life span as the 66th Living Weapon.
13. He Has Died (Sort Of)
Despite his title and how difficult it would be to actually kill Iron Fist, there was a period of time in which he was believed to be dead. In his early days in comics, Danny Rand had a long-running battle with the K’un Lun sorcerer Master Khan. Khan concocted a plan to bring the Super Skrull to Earth and disguise him as a superhero to befriend Iron Fist before eventually killing him (by draining his energy and then murdering him in his sleep).
Unfortunately for Khan, the Iron Fist that was killed wasn’t actually Danny Rand. It was an imposter – one of the H’ylthri, creatures who used to rule K’un Lun and who were also conspiring against Iron Fist at the time. The real Iron Fist was imprisoned by the H’ylthri throughout this period, before eventually being rescued (and thus “resurrected”) by Namor, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing, and returning to Earth to continue his work as Iron Fist.
12. He’s More Than A One-Punch Wonder
Iron Fist is best known for (surprise, surprise) using his fists! Danny Rand is an incredibly skilled and well-trained martial artist; one of the best in the world. He is a weapons master, an acrobat, and a skilled combatant. His most famous move, of course, is the Iron Fist Punch – where Rand channels his chi into one fist to make it inhumanly powerful. This devastating punch is certainly formidable, but it is far from the only way that Rand is able to use his chi.
Danny Rand is also able to direct his energy to heal himself, and even to purge poisons from his body. He can also use his spiritual energy to enhance his natural abilities, making himself stronger, faster, more agile and more durable than an average human (although these aren’t enhanced to the levels that we see in many other superheroes). Other powers include energy absorption and manipulation, and the ability to mind meld.
11. His Chi Nearly Impregnated Misty Knight
On top of all the extra powers that Danny Rand’s chi grants him, it has caused him some trouble over the years as well. One time in particular, it made Misty Knight believe that she was pregnant!
Misty (whom we have already met on Luke Cage) and Danny have a long romantic history together, so when she became ‘pregnant’ with his child, it wasn’t a huge surprise. However, the pregnancy was short lived… or more accurately, revealed to have never been real in the first place. Iron Fist’s chi was so powerful and such an integral part of him, that some of that life energy spilled over and led to a false positive on a test. It was a slightly confusing storyline that annoyed many fans (and worried others, as Misty continued to fight crime even when she believed herself to be pregnant), but Danny and Misty managed to come through it still together.
10. Colleen Wing Will Appear In The Netflix Series
Misty Knight will undoubtedly cross over from Luke Cage to appear in Iron Fist as Danny Rand’s eventual love interest (in the same way that Jessica Jones and Luke Cage will have a romantic connection), but she’s not the only woman in Iron Fist’s life. Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) will also be starring the Netflix series.
In the comics, Colleen is a samurai warrior who is friends with Danny Rand. The two often work together, and their skill sets certainly complement each other. In addition, Colleen is Misty Knight’s partner, and the two formed KnightWing Restorations Ltd (a detective firm, also called Daughter of the Dragon) as well as various other teams (including Heroes for Hire).
Her appearance on Iron Fist suggests that we may see KnightWing come into being, and possibly even see Wing’s brief love affair with Luke Cage (although this is less likely, as he has already now been with Jessica Jones and Misty herself).
9. You Know The Creative Team Behind The Show Already
We have no doubt that the Iron Fist series on Netflix is going to be absolutely stunning – Marvel’s existing collaborations with the streaming service have all been incredible in their own ways, and there is no reason to think that Iron Fist will be any different.
But it’s not just the track record that has us excited. The creative team behind the show is also phenomenal. Showrunner and creator Scott Buck has previously worked on the smash-hit series Dexter, as well as Rome, Nikki, and Six Feet Under. Joining him in the writer’s room will be Scott Reynolds, who also wrote and produced on Dexter alongside Buck. In addition, Reynolds worked on Jessica Jones, giving him fantastic insight into the superhero genre as a whole (and the Netflix The Defenders series in particular). Allie Goss and Jeph Loeb are also executive producing, of course, with Stan Lee listed as executive producer as well.
8. He’s Been An Avenger
Comic book team rosters are always changing, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that Iron Fist has been a member of more than just the Heroes for Hire. One such team that already exists in the MCU is the Avengers – although a very different iteration than the one we know and love from the big screen.
In the comics, the original Avengers disbanded after Scarlet Witch went mad and attacked them. After that, a new Avengers team is formed (named, appropriately enough, the New Avengers). This team involved a few of the big guns, including Iron Man, Captain America and Spider-Man, as well as Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine. After Dark Reign, Luke Cage even became team leader and bought Avengers Tower from Tony Stark, so of course his best friend Danny Rand was with him. Iron Fist has also been a Secret Avenger and a Defender at other points in his history.
7. He Is Always At Luke Cage’s Side – Even In Alternate Universes…
Speaking of Luke Cage, the man with the unbreakable skin is Danny Rand’s best friend, and can (almost) always be found at his side. Their friendship didn’t get off to the best start, however, as the two heroes met when Cage was (unhappily) working for Bushmaster and Iron Fist had to defend Misty Knight from the big man.
However, once Iron Fist and Misty Knight were able to free Luke from Bushmaster’s hold, they struck up a friendship that has endured the tests of time (and death, and everything else that comics can throw at our heroes!). As well as their adventures together in the primary Marvel universe (and now in the MCU), the two are even connected in alternate universes.
6. …Although He Did Once Try To Kill Luke
Despite their close and long-lasting friendship, Iron Fist and Luke Cage have come to blows in the past. We’ve already mentioned their battle when the two first met, but it’s not the only time that they’ve been enemies, rather than friends.
At one point, Norman Osborn and his Thunderbolts kidnapped Danny Rand and tampered with his mind, brainwashing him to think that his friends were enemies. However, even in simulations, Danny couldn’t bring himself to hurt Luke. Osborn then had Danny participate in the capture and kidnap of the real Luke Cage, and Danny attacked his old friend.
However, their friendship overcame Osborn’s conditioning. Iron Fist’s attack on Cage actually cleared his mind, allowing him to deceive Osborn. Danny made it look like he killed Luke, but actually helped him to escape (and fled with him). Luckily, Luke was very understanding about the whole situation – these things happen when you are a superhero!
5. Danny Rand Has Also Been Daredevil
In yet another connection with the existing Netflix shows, Iron Fist hasn’t just worked alongside Daredevil in the past – he’s actually taken up that mantle himself. Unlike “legacy” superheroes who legitimately pass their title onto someone else, though, Rand actually pretended to be the original Daredevil for a surprisingly long period of time.
Initially, he was hired to play the part because Matt Murdock was in prison on suspicion of being Daredevil (a very accurate suspicion, as well all know). Not wanting to see Matt charged with all the vigilante acts committed by Daredevil, Iron Fist stepped into the red suit.
At first, Matt was none too pleased with this impostor, but once he found out that it was Danny Rand in the suit, he got on board with the plan. Matt even asked Danny to keep up the charade after Matt was cleared of being Daredevil, as he wanted to do some investigating in secret.
4. He Was #TeamCap
During the time that Danny Rand was impersonating Daredevil, Civil War broke out among the superheroes of the Marvel Universe. The government wanted all superheroes to register their alter-egos alongside their real names as a way to keep them accountable to someone. Tony Stark supported the initiative, while Captain America opposed it. The two became the faces of the opposing sides in this war, with Cap’s team having to meet and work in secret. Danny supported Captain America, unsurprisingly, given that he was impersonating another hero at the time, which came about because he was helping hide Daredevil’s true identity.
As Daredevil, Danny joined Cap’s Secret Avengers and fought in the final battle of Civil War. When Cap gave himself up, Danny joined the New Avengers who still opposed registration. This could have connected the Defenders to the larger MCU quite nicely, although sadly the timing just didn’t line up.
3. He Once Attacked Doctor Strange
We may have missed out on the opportunity to see Iron Fist on the big screen as part of a Civil War story arc, but there are still plenty of storylines that link this small-screen Defender with the MCU. One possible connection is between Iron Fist and Doctor Strange – because not only did Doctor Strange form the Defenders, but Iron Fist once attacked the Sorcerer Supreme.
As a New Avenger, Danny (and his team) were attacked by the Ancient One. Iron Fist was told that Doctor Strange had stolen the Eye of Agamotto, and went after him as a result. However, their battle was short as they discovered that Danny had been lied to, and it was actually Agamotto himself who had claimed the Eye was stolen as part of a plot to punish Earth by unleashing demons upon it. A team-up put a stop to this evil plan, Danny remained with the New Avengers (and patched things up with Dr Strange), and even got a snazzy new white suit out of the adventure.
2. Sabretooth First Appeared In Iron Fist Comics
The feral mutant Sabretooth is best known as a character from Marvel’s X-Men, where he is Wolverine’s arch-nemesis. However, Sabretooth actually made his comic book debut in the pages of Iron Fist #14, in 1977. Chris Claremont was writing for the title, and although he is best known for his run on Uncanny X-Men (which he was also working on at that point), he made the decision to introduce Sabretooth in an Iron Fist story.
In this issue, Danny is with Colleen Wing in the Canadian Rockies, where Colleen has been hired to protect Jeryn Hogarth (who also happens to be Danny Rand’s lawyer). When Sabretooth and his goons take over the chalet and hold Hogarth prisoner, it is up to Colleen to save him – and Iron Fist to take on Sabretooth one-on-one. Sabretooth quickly made the leap to the pages of the X-Men comics, and the majority of fans forgot his initial brush with the Living Weapon of K’un Lun.
1. Iron Fist Was Inspired By Amazing Man
Many comic book characters are inspired by those who have gone before, and Iron Fist is no different. The Immortal Warrior Of K’un Lun was originally inspired by a Centaur Publications character who went by the name of Amazing Man.
Amazing Man’s real name was John Aman, an orphan trained in the mountains of Tibet to be a hero with the ability to become a green mist. This Tibetan origin story was combined with classic martial arts movies to create the hero we know as Iron Fist. (Amazing Man also inspired DC’s Amazing-Man and Marvel’s Green Mist of Death.)
The name “Iron Fist” came from a movie that creator Roy Thomas had seen that included a “ceremony of the iron fist”. Thomas and his co-creator Gil Kane liked the “Iron Fist” part, and decided to keep it for their new kung-fu character– even though Marvel already had an Iron Man.