Despite the terrible reviews and fan reactions, it sounds like there are already plans in place for Iron Fist season 2. Danny Rand is already set to appear in The Defenders, and his story may have some important ties to the larger Marvel Netflix universe. Fortunately, most fans find the series to improve in the second half (an ironic flip from the other Marvel Netflix series), so there may still be something to salvage.
As we look at the story of Iron Fist, and it's probably connections to the Defenders and other Netflix series, there's still a lot of untapped potential for a great show. Despite all the issues and complaints, there are several specific things that could be changed to make the second season a much smoother ride.
Explain More Mythology Behind K’un Lun and the Iron Fist
The lack of tangible information regarding the Iron Fist mythology and powers hurt Iron Fist tremendously. The show tried to channel Danny’s conflict of differing destinies, but only cared to go in depth with one. Budget issues or not, spending significant time in K’un Lun during his training or seeing him fight the actual dragon would have been a significant boon to Danny’s journey. Take a look at something like Trollhunters on Netflix, which shows an outsider getting powers that are traditionally kept within a sacred order. That show does a great job explaining its mythology both verbally and visually, showing how Jim doesn’t understand the full weight of his new responsibility. Danny continually shrugged off his duty to guard the way to K’un Lun, and in the finale we saw that the city is gone, but what does that mean? And why does a divine city need someone guarding the gate? Also, what does a fight with a dragon actually entail?
These are just a few of the many unanswered questions that will hopefully be delved into in the second season of Iron Fist. In the comics, the Iron Fist responsibility is more than just guarding the way and his powers more expansive than just punching things. He’s the champion of K’un Lun and their representative in the Tournament of the Heavenly Cities. Having a working knowledge of his own city would be vital for audiences to understand the conflicts with Crane Mother and any potential visits to cities like K’un-Zi. Reconnecting with K’un Lun in a significant way during the second season would also allow Danny to connect with a mentor, Lei Kung (who is Davos’ father) or potentially Orson Randall, the Iron Fist we saw in that 1940s footage. With either character there’s potential character development for Danny, in addition to more aid in discovering his true powers and purpose, similar to Stick's function in Daredevil.
Streamline the Show
For a show about the journey of the Iron Fist, the first season felt like Danny just happened to be caught in a maelstrom, occasionally forcing him to course correct. The show needs to sharpen its focus in the second season to be successful. First, Danny and his actions should be driving any and all conflict, as the first season of Iron Fist didn’t give him any time to truly weave himself into the story before setting off plot bombs.
Also, now that the first season is over, it would behoove them to not make the show such a sprawling ensemble piece again, as the Meachum family drama seemed to take over the show from the onset. It’s not that corporate craziness isn’t compelling. In fact, Joy’s role in all of the drama was the juiciest storyline of the series. But watching a daughter struggle in a corporate world is a different show, not Iron Fist. Most of those plot threads lacked the nuance necessary to really make it work, and the energy of this could be more readily applied to Danny and his struggles with the responsibility of the Iron Fist.
Make Davos the (Only) Villain
It took 10 episodes before Iron Fist got the jolt of energy it desperately needed with the introduction of Davos, Danny’s friend from K’un Lun, and a constant reminder that his Iron Fist powers come with certain responsibilities. Sacha Dhawan was such a great presence in the series, and his performance, balancing jealousy, disappointment, and righteousness, was just the counterpoint Iron Fist needed for Danny. At the end of the series, we can see him telling Joy that she needs to get rid of Danny, inferring he’ll be a major villain for season 2 and is set up to potentially be the champion for the Crane Mother.
This would be a welcome development, as watching heroes have to battle those close to them makes for compelling television. There is so much going on in Iron Fist that having one central villain pushing Danny would come as a welcome reprieve, particularly one with a close connection to him. If the show decides to go deeper into the Iron Fist mythology, watching Davos attempting to fight the dragon and losing, becoming the Steel Serpent, or devouring the chi from women provided by Madam Gao would make him even more interesting and frightening.
Among the many silly things that happened in Iron Fist, chief among them might have been the constant mention of other heroes. Having Joy mention hiring a PI who drinks a lot might have been fun in the moment, but the show just got more and more egregious with its winks to the other shows with no follow through. What sense did it make to reference Danny’s mortality - even have a line about not being bullet proof - just to have him deflect one bullet? We knew those references were supposed to invoke Luke Cage. The worst, however, was Claire’s constant mention of her experience with The Hand and allowing Danny to go against them alone, when she could, and should, have called Daredevil in as reinforcement. The Defenders series is coming perhaps at the perfect time because it’s time for these shows to stop acting like help isn’t a phone call away.
Danny Rand, as presently constructed, might not be strong enough to carry multiple seasons of the show, and juxtaposing him with other super powered characters might help ignite a second season of Iron Fist. Everyone is already 100% onboard with a Heroes for Hire arc and beyond the comic connection, having Luke Cage be around Danny would provide a fun culture clash. Given that The Hand will be around for a while, why not have Daredevil pop in once or twice for a particularly difficult adversary?
Give Danny a Costume
Daredevil has both his 'Man Without Fear' black suit and a classic red one. Jessica Jones has her leather jacket. Luke Cage has his hoodie. Danny has, what, some raggedy Coachella-esque threads and a few gray suits? Danny Rand’s Iron Fist lacks an identity. Much of what superheroes wear says a lot about them, and despite stating that Danny will take a few seasons to earn the title of superhero, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have had some sort of defined visual traits. The show gave us 1948 footage of a previous Iron Fist and that brief fight was as exciting and cool as any of the ones Danny was involved in. Costumes not only help define character and theme, but they also aid in the visual style of fights. It’s why fans dissect them down to the smallest details. Given the issues the show had with regards to what should or should not be subtext, the type of costume he had could have helped make that more clear. At a bare minimum, give this guy a mask so he can take down the Hand without his Iron Fist identity being revealed. If they want to get more involved, something similar to this concept art for Marvel Ultimate Alliance would be great.
Superhero trappings aside, putting him in a suit would be a very practical way to improve the fight scenes, making it far easier to incorporate a stunt double. Everyone remembers that amazing hallway fight in the first season of Daredevil, but that would have been a tougher sell without Charlie Cox’ stunt double being able to come in and do some of the more complex fight choreography. Given all the mess surrounding the fights on this show, finding ways to improve them could be as simple as a wardrobe change.
What did you think of Iron Fist? Do any of these proposed changes make you more excited about the potential of a second season? What would you change to improve the show? Let us hear about it in the comments!
Iron Fist is available now on Netflix.