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...