The hype for the upcoming Iron Fist Netflix series was given a hefty shot of adrenaline with the release of the first official trailer. The series will follow Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist, and will serve as the fourth and final standalone series in Marvel’s Netflix universe before Danny teams with Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones later this year in The Defenders.
However, despite debuting in May 1974, Iron Fist is still (surprisingly) considered by some to be one of Marvel’s lesser-known characters. It’s unfortunate, too, since the character has such a rich history and brings a fun blend of martial arts and mysticism to the Marvel Universe. That being said, here are 10 things you should know about Iron Fist before watching the Netflix series:
He’s A Billionaire
Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Ted Kord. It’s not uncommon for comic books to feature billionaires that moonlight as costumed crime fighters. That being said, it shouldn’t come off as particularly surprising that Danny Rand has a pretty hefty fortune in his own right.
Rand-Meachum, Inc., also known as Rand International, was started by Harold Meachum and Danny’s father, Wendell Rand. Originally founded as a means of housing their research and investment enterprises, Rand and Meachum eventually turned the corporation into a multi-million dollar conglomerate.
After the death of both Wendell and Harold, majority ownership of Rand-Meachum, Inc. landed in the hands of Harold’s daughter, Joy, who blamed Danny for her father’s death. However, the two eventually make peace, and Danny would become a full partner in Rand-Meachum, Inc., claiming his inheritance and wealth in the process.Advertisement
He Isn’t The First Iron Fist
Similar to Green Lantern, Iron Fist isn’t the exclusive title of a single man. In fact, it’s believed that prior to Danny Rand, 65 others had held the mantle of Iron Fist, making Danny the 66th to claim the name.
The previous Iron Fists aren’t explored too heavily in the comics. However, perhaps the most notable of these predecessors is Orson Randall, who held the mantle just prior to Danny. What makes Orson Randall significant isn’t just that he directly preceded Danny. He also raised Danny’s orphaned father, Wendell, as his own son after the two met at a bar in Nepal.
Coincidentally, Wendell would express deep interest in becoming the next Iron Fist, should Orson decide to pass the mantle along. However, Orson wasn’t quite as keen on this notion as the eager young Wendell, and the two would eventually part ways after Wendell was shot during one of their adventures.
As previously mentioned, Wendell Rand wanted to succeed Orson Randall as Iron Fist. This desire would lead him on an expedition to find the mystical city of K’un-Lun, with his wife Heather, son Danny, and business partner Harold Meachum in tow. When both of Danny’s parents were killed during the expedition, the nine-year-old Danny was taken in by denizens of K’un-Lun, where he would be raised, trained, and would eventually become Iron Fist at age 19.
K’un-Lun is significant because it is one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, each of which is only accessible from Earth on a periodic basis. The other six cities of Heaven include the Kingdom of Spiders, K’un-Zi, Peng Lai, Tiger Island, Under City and Z’Gambo.
K’un-Lun was said to have been created millions of years ago when a space ship crashed into an extra-dimensional realm. When the ship’s warp drive exploded, it resulted in the rift that causes the city to rotate between Earth and where it initially crash-landed. Therefore, the inhabitants of K’un-Lun, although humanoid in appearance, are actually aliens.
He’s An Immortal Weapon
In the last entry, it was noted that K’un-Lun is one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. However, what’s also worth noting is that each of these cities has their own champion known as the Immortal Weapon, with Iron Fist being the Immortal Weapon of K’un-Lun.
Every 88 years, the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven merge together, forming the Heart of Heaven. When this occurs, a tournament takes place in which each of the Immortal Weapons engages in a fierce battle. The winner earns the honor of having their respective capital city appear on Earth every 10 years, rather than once per century.
In addition to Iron Fist, the other Immortal Weapons consist of Bride of Nine Spiders (Kingdom of Spiders), Fat Cobra (Peng Lai), Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter (Tiger Island), Dog Brother, (Under City), and Prince of Orphans (Z’Gambo). Davos, the Steel Serpent (more on him in a moment), would fill in as a substitute champion at the most recent Tournament of Heavenly Cities since Crane, the original champion, was killed by Orson Randall.
His Archenemy Is The Steel Serpent
Every superhero needs a good archenemy. For Iron Fist, that archenemy comes in the form of Davos, the Steel Serpent.
The Steel Serpent is the son of the martial arts master Lei Kung the Thunderer, who also trained Danny to become the Iron Fist. In fact, this partially jumpstarted Danny and Davos’ rivalry, since Davos had been training since he was a child to become the Iron Fist.
Davos would attempt to kill Danny numerous times over the years. However, he currently spends his time guarding an enormous egg that will one day hatch into the new Shou-Lao the Undying – the dragon that one must defeat to become the next Iron Fist.
His Best Friend Is Luke Cage
We’ll soon see Danny Rand and Luke Cage team up on the small screen when The Defenders hits Netflix later this year. However, in the comics, Danny and Luke have been close friends dating all the way back to the 1970s.
The friendship between Iron Fist and Luke Cage first budded when the two formed Heroes for Hire, Inc., where they would hire themselves out as bodyguards or detectives. Later, when Danny found himself brainwashed into becoming a member of Norman Osborn’s evil Thunderbolts, it was Luke (as well as Danny’s own chi) that helped him overcome his warped mind.
Perhaps what’s most interesting about the partnership between Luke and Danny is the circumstances that led to it. From a sales perspective, neither character was able to support their own solo series in the mid-to-late 70s, so as a last-ditch effort, Marvel paired the two together. This certainly seemed to turn things around for the duo, and they’ve remained largely inseparable since.
He Was Also Daredevil
One thing that’s certain about Danny Rand is that he’s always willing to help out his friends. He’s proved this countless times in the comics, but perhaps none of these instances are more convincing than when he assumed the mantle of Daredevil for a brief period of time.
During the events of Civil War, Matt Murdock’s identity had gone public. To make matters worse, the Man without Fear was also incarcerated at this time, surrounded by many of the people he helped put behind bars in the first place.
Thankfully, Danny took it upon himself to lend a helping hand by donning the classic red-horned costume, effectively convincing the public that Murdock couldn’t be Daredevil. Once his brother-in-arms was cleared of all charges, Danny would once again resume the role of Iron Fist and likewise, Murdock would return to his responsibilities as Daredevil.
He Has A Thing For Misty Knight
In season one of Luke Cage, we saw some sexual tension play out between Luke and Misty Knight. However, in the comics, it’s actually Misty and Danny that have had a significant on-again, off-again relationship.
In addition to breaking down walls with his glowing fist, Danny Rand also broke down social barriers when he and Misty shared one of the first interracial kisses between superheroes in Marvel Team-Up #65 in 1977. It was even Misty that served as one of Danny’s first partners when he began his superhero career, and without her, he likely never would have become such close friends with Luke Cage.
His Various Team Affiliations
Iron Fist is perhaps most notable as a member of both the Defenders and Heroes for Hire, Inc. In actuality, though, Danny has had more than his fair share of team-ups.
Other factions Iron Fist been in the ranks of include the New Avengers, the Secret Avengers, the Secret Defenders, the Immortal Weapons, and the Thunderbolts (although he was brainwashed at the time). Also, for those wondering, Iron Fist was a proud member of Team Cap during Civil War.
He Gained His Powers By Defeating A Dragon
As I touched upon earlier, to become Iron Fist, one must defeat the fire-breathing dragon known as Shou-Lao the Undying. Naturally, Danny was no exception, and at age 19, he fought and slew the beast.
Shou-Lao was guarding the molten heart that had been torn from his body. Danny, believing the heart provided life energy to Shou-Lao by way of the dragon-shaped scar on his chest, covered the scar with his own body, hanging on until the dragon finally collapsed and died. When he rose, Danny discovered the dragon-shaped scar was now burned onto his own chest.
After his victory, Danny entered the dragon’s cave, plunging his fists into the brazier that contained Shou-Lao’s molten heart. When his hands emerged, they did so with the power of the Iron Fist.
Whether or not we see this play out in season one of Iron Fist is anyone’s guess. Still, it speaks volumes about Danny Rand’s fortitude. After all, how many other heroes are able to say they actually slew a dragon?