Netflix has made the decision to cancel Iron Fist after two seasons - and it's a big mistake. Barely a month after the release of Iron Fist season 2, the streaming giant chose to announce that the series had been canceled. This is the first Marvel series to be cut by the streaming service, and despite the official statement stating "While the series on Netflix has ended, the immortal Iron Fist will live on", there's a sense of this being far too untimely.
Season 2 showrunner Raven Metzner and stars Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick have both publicly thanked fans for sticking with Iron Fist through its two seasons. Their comments have led to speculation that Iron Fist season 3 may yet go to another platform, perhaps even to the Disney streaming service that's due to launch next year. At this time, though, there's no evidence of that and it frankly seems unlikely; the House of Mouse will hardly want their streaming service to get a reputation for simply picking up the content that's been canceled on other platforms. The sad truth is that the Iron Fist series seems to be dead.
And while the road for Danny Rand has been rocky, canceling Iron Fist is ultimately a massive mistake on Netflix's part. The series still has the potential to be one of their best - and here's why.
- This Page: Season 2 Saved Iron Fist
- Next Page: What's Next For Iron Fist?
Netflix & Marvel Have Fixed Iron Fist
Iron Fist was always going to be the most problematic Marvel Netflix show. Marvel initially struggled to work out a solid pitch, largely because they didn't feel the mystical elements gelled all to well with the rest of the Netflix world. They were given an unexpected breathing-space by the popularity of Mike Colter's Luke Cage, whose cameo in Jessica Jones season 1 was so well-received that they decided to fast-track his solo series. But even with the benefit of extra time, season 1 showrunner Scott Buck simply failed to deliver. The show was savaged both by critics and casual viewers; the pacing, the plot, the characterization, the acting, and - most shocking of all - even the fight choreography were generally viewed as disappointing. Danny Rand is supposed to be Marvel's premiere martial artist, but Finn Jones' skills just weren't up to the challenge.
In spite of its flaws, Iron Fist was still a hit according to viewing figures. Netflix renewed the show for a second season, and Marvel began to work at fixing the series. They did this by focusing in on the central characters, Danny Rand and Colleen Wing, and carefully integrating them into the wider world they were building on Netflix. Danny became a central character in The Defenders team-up series and Finn Jones looked noticeably stronger when performing against all of the other stars. Specifically, the comic-book-accurate dynamic between Iron Fist and Luke Cage worked perfectly, with Danny later playing a cameo in an episode of Luke Cage season 2. Jones spent months training, becoming far more proficient at martial arts.
Iron Fist Season 2 was an even bigger step. Raven Metzner took over as showrunner and turned the series around, avoiding the traditional Marvel Netflix pacing problems with tight writing, strong character arcs that built towards the franchise-transforming denouement, and a lean ten episodes. The new showrunner wove some fascinating themes into his script, with a notable subtext implying that the Iron Fist can be compared to an addiction. Meanwhile, Marvel recruited Black Panther fight choreographer Clayton Barber to work on the series, who improved the action scenes dramatically. Both Jones and Henwick shone through as far more competent martial artists, and careful editing emphasized their growing skills. Marvel had achieved their goal; they had successfully redeemed Iron Fist. Compare the critic scores on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes: where season 1 has a horrific 19 percent, season 2 stands at 53 percent. It's still a mid-range hit rate, but the transformation is remarkable.
Iron Fist Season 2 Set Up A Fantastic New Status Quo
It wasn't just that Iron Fist season 2 was better, it was that it promised a brighter future; by the end, Colleen Wing had become the Immortal Iron Fist and Danny was on a personal mission.
A very different character to Danny, Colleen could sense the spirit of the dragon within her but was far more well-trained and competent when it comes to controlling such rage. The little evidence we had at the end of season 2 suggested that Colleen would be a more diplomatic Iron Fist, while still suiting up and take action as a vigilante. This is an arc that's never been done in the comics, so we have absolutely no idea where it could lead.
Danny, meanwhile, headed off to Asia on a quest to uncover the secret history of the Iron Fist. A flash-forward scene revealed that he had regained the power of the Iron Fist, but learned some new tricks too, even channeling that power through bullets. His mission had led him to look for Orson Randall, a name that's familiar to any comic book readers; he was the previous Iron Fist, a man who abandoned his duty after the violence became too much for him. Orson Randall's introduction in the comics led Danny to question everything he'd been previously taught, and ultimately revealed the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven.
The lack of Iron Fist season 3 leaves all this up in the air. How will Danny's quest play out? What will Colleen be like as the new Iron Fist of New York? Those questions risk being left unanswered - although there is some hope.