San Diego Comic-Con was an exciting event for fans of Marvel's Iron Fist; not only was the first footage of the show released in a teaser trailer, but Marvel's Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada commented that Iron Fist would feature more villains in its first season than any of the other Netflix shows had. This begs the question: Which Iron Fist villains are going to make an appearance?
For those who aren't familiar with the character, of course, you may be wondering more which villains Iron Fist even has. With over 40 years of history, the character has developed a number of enemies, and has been known to throw down with the villains of other heroes from time to time as well. Given that the show is just starting out, though, some of his villains are more likely than others.
Who is Iron Fist?
Danny Rand is the Iron Fist (though he's not the only one who's used the name/power over the years), a martial arts superhero who gained his phenomenal power training in the mystical city of K'un-L'un. As glimpsed in the teaser trailer, Danny reached K'un-L'un largely by accident; his father and his father's business partner Harold Meachum were trying to find the city, but Danny ended up the only survivor of a horrible accident and stumbled onto the city by mistake. From the look of the trailer the accident will be a plane crash, though that's slightly different than the current comic continuity.
After being largely shunned by the residents of K'un-L'un, Danny eventually because their most powerful warrior and earned the power of the Iron Fist. Returning to the world at large, he sought revenge against Meachum for his parents' deaths (he didn't actually kill him... though he was blamed for Meachum's death) and used his power to become a superhero. He became close friends with Luke Cage, the two of them becoming the Heroes for Hire and making the world (though mostly New York) a better place. Of course, Danny made a few enemies along the way.
Who will be the Big Bad?
Most likely, the Big Bad of Iron Fist is going to be Master Khan. An evil magic user who's also one of Iron Fist's oldest adversaries, you can expect to see him largely operating behind the scenes through various operatives in the series. We'll probably see Khan wanting to learn the secrets to Danny Rand's power or trying to find the way to K'un-L'un. It's even possible that the voice that was heard saying "Hello, Danny" in the Iron Fist teaser was actually Khan, though there's nothing to confirm this so far.
Of course, with Khan often operating behind the scenes it's likely that for at least part of the first season the main villain will appear to either be the aforementioned Harold Meachum or his son Ward Meachum. When the murder of Harold Meachum was pinned on Iron Fist in the comics, Ward started contracting supervillains to take the hero down and eventually ended up working with Master Khan himself. Ward became so obsessed with destroying Iron Fist that he eventually allied himself with the Super-Skrull (and became so paranoid that the Super-Skrull had to kill him), but rights issues will keep the show from going that far. Ward is going to be younger in the Iron Fist series (he's Joy Meachum's brother instead of her uncle like he was in the comics), but his obsession with killing Iron Fist should remain.
Which other villains will likely appear?
Master Khan has a few henchmen that could very well appear in the show as well. One who's very likely is The Ninja, the assassin who actually killed Harold Meachum. This will give Iron Fist a martial arts adversary that will give him a run for his money, though he'll likely be much more prepared than Daredevil was when facing The Hand. Another one of Khan's subordinates who might appear is Scimitar, a master of bladed weapons who was as fast as he was deadly. While it's possible that we might only get one or the other of these characters (in which case The Ninja is most likely), having both of them in the first season would give Iron Fist plenty of challenges to overcome.
Other notable villains who might show up in the first season of Iron Fist include Bushmaster (a crime boss and founding member of the Serpent Society), the Steel Serpent (an exiled native of K'un-L'un who in the comics stole Iron Fist's power and was eventually consumed by it) and possibly even Abbot Thanademos and the Followers of Thanademos (your garden variety magical cult). Much like Daredevil saving some things for beyond its first season, some of these villains might be better served waiting for season two. This is especially true for Steel Serpent, since he could then be the focus of the season.
Is there anybody else we might see?
Danny Rand has faced a lot of villains in his career, including a number of villains who are usually associated with other heroes. It's possible that Marvel could put some of them in the series to diversify the sort of threats Iron Fist has to face, and give villains a chance to shine who are unlikely to hit the big screen. It would be interesting to see Iron Fist take on the Wrecking Crew, for example, since his martial arts fighting style is significantly different than the tactics that they employ. It could also be neat to see Constrictor, who in the comics was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was sent undercover to infiltrate a supervillain organization and thanks to a nervous breakdown became a criminal in earnest; given the disarray that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been in, Constrictor's origin could tie in with that (and possibly offer a slight connection to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well).
In fact, there's a decent chance that we'll see some version of a lot of low-level Marvel villains since that's the sort of thug that would be right up Ward Meachum's alley when he's looking for someone to send after Iron Fist. It's unlikely that we'll see them all in costume and with a full power set, but we might get at least some version of a few recognizable names (similar to how Nuke was represented in Jessica Jones and various characters have been namedropped in both of the Netflix shows so far.) Unfortunately, we won't know for sure what all threats Danny Rand will have to face until Iron Fist debuts next year.
Daredevil season 1 & 2 and Jessica Jones season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage season 1 will arrive on September 30th, 2016. The Defenders and Iron Fist arrive in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2, The Punisher and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.