Three of the four headlining Marvel Comics heroes making their way to Netflix have already been cast and have already played their roles at least once each. The expansion of Marvel TV to the Netflix streaming service began early this year with Daredevil which reportedly was the most successful original programming on Netflix to date, so much so that a second season was immediately greenlit, potentially changing the plans for this sub-franchise within the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And tonight at midnight, two more heroes will be introduced in Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who when teamed with Daredevil (Charlie Cox) represent three-quarters of Marvel's Defenders. The remaining member, the one who's been subject of curious headlines for the better part of a year, is Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist. There have been absolutely no official updates regarding the casting or production of Iron Fist which, when combined with reports that Marvel as having trouble crafting this show due to its mystical nature.
More recent rumors pointed towards a scenario where The Punisher (Jon Berenthal), who's introduced as a lead character in Daredevil season 2, could get his own series and that Iron Fist would instead be developed as a shorter TV movie of sorts. It doesn't quite compute, but the lack of updates surrounding the project has left fans wondering. Speaking with IGN's Scott Collura during the premiere event for Jessica Jones, Joe Quesada didn't have much to say about the status of Iron Fist outside of vaguely stating that's still in the works.
"I'm pretty involved. I'm not on set every day but I'm pretty involved. Iron Fist is being worked on and that's all I can say."
When the rumors of the Iron Fist TV movie were brought up, Quesada followed up asking where the rumors are coming from, poking fun at the idea that if these things are on the internet, they must be true. In some cases (see: Spider-Man), they are true so it's still odd Quesada couldn't say more.
This challenge of opening up the MCU to more of the supernatural side, to mysticism and other realms, is going to be solved a year from now regardless. Doctor Strange is all about this and whether or not the rumors of the Sorcerer Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch) appearing in Iron Fist hold any truth, the existence of Stephen Strange's origin story paves the way for elements of that aspect of Marvel lore to appear on the small screen.
Daredevil featured Easter Eggs that offered a nod towards Iron Fist lore; Jessica Jones introduces more powered individuals; and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC is dealing with aliens as we speak, so don't count out Iron Fist. Danny Rand will be an important player in the MCU and there's no rush. This year alone we have two Netflix series in the first volumes of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and next year we have Daredevil season 2 and Luke Cage. That gives Marvel TV plenty of time before they need to begin shooting Iron Fist for it to debut in 2017. By then we could already be onto a third season of Daredevil, second seasons (or a team-up) of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, or even new characters like Punisher and Elektra who both are capable of leading their own stories.
Still, it seems clear that Iron Fist was always - and still is - meant to be a part of Marvel's Defenders. There's no strict schedule on that team-up miniseries just yet but we can only assume it'll debut on Netflix before Avengers: Infinity War begins in summer 2018, hopefully leading to the exciting possibility that these TV characters show up on the big screen as well, with some of them even joining a New Avengers roster during or after the events of the two-part Avengers saga that rounds out Phase 3.
Daredevil Season 1 is currently available on Netflix. Jessica Jones releases tonight at midnight, November 20th, 2015, followed by Luke Cage Season 1 and Daredevil Season 2 (a.k.a. Daredevil V Punisher) in 2016. Iron Fist and The Defenders will arrive sometime thereafter.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; Black Panther - February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.