Marvel’s “Iron Fist” proved to be quite polarizing with comic book fans, splitting them down the middle as to whether or not the Netflix show lived up to the hype. It was never going to be an easy task telling the story of Danny Rand, who survived a plane crash and returned home to New York 15 years later with mystical powers, in order to salvage what was left of his deceased family.
The series garnered heat from the start, with Finn Jones having a Twitter spat over whether or not his lead character should have been Asian, followed by early press reviews that bashed it as boring and uneventful. However, if you soldier on, it’s not that bad. It picked up towards the end with some key comic-driven points arising, leading CBR to look at 15 mysteries we want solved next season!
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for the first season of “Iron Fist.”
15. WHERE DID K’UN LUN GO?
At the end of the series, Danny Rand returned to the gateway to K’un Lun with fellow martial artist and girlfriend, Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick). It wasn’t an easy decision as he had abandoned his post as sentry of the gateway to K’un Lun to return to New York to find some semblance of family with his father’s business partners, the Meachums. After powering through hostility from them, an ensuing corporate takeover, the Triads, and the evil society known as the Hand, he decided to come back to the mystical land to seek forgiveness.
However, they discovered dead Hand ninjas, and a non-existent K’un Lun. It had disappeared, leaving the duo shocked. Danny’s sure to feel guilt over this because he was accused of abandonment by Davos, his former best friend who tried to bring him back to their sensei, Lei Kung. K’un Lun is one of seven Capital Cities of Heaven, so fans are curious as to where it went Was this a self-defense or cloaking mechanism against their archenemies? With the watch-post empty, it was vulnerable to attack so perhaps it was invaded and overthrown.
14. WILL WE SEE THE TOURNAMENT OF HEAVENLY CITIES?
Every 88 years, there’s a heavenly convergence, and each of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven occupy the same space and time, forming the Heart of Heaven. Each then sends its Immortal Weapons to fight in a tournament, with all matches starting in this unique palace, to earn a spot on the Earthly realm. The winner’s city will appear on Earth once every decade while the losers appear once every 50 years.
We already saw the Bride of Nine Spiders (who represented the Kingdom of Spiders in the comics), and Dog Brother (who was from Under City) so it’ll be interesting if the other Weapons oppose Danny. K’un Zi’s is supposed to be the Crane Champion (taken over by Davos after he betrayed K’un Lun), Peng Lai’s is Fat Cobra, Z’Gambo’s is the Prince of Orphans (a former Secret Avenger), and Tiger Island’s is Li Hua. Just as Danny was pitted against a couple of them by Madame Gao, maybe we’ll see this tournament in full swing, which could tie into the vanishing K’un Lun.
13. IS CLAIRE THE WHITE TIGER?
We saw Claire training with Colleen because after her experiences in “Daredevil” and “Luke Cage;” she clearly found herself in trouble a lot and needed to learn how to defend herself. She became quite versed and actually helped Danny and Colleen fight off the Hand. One key moment we saw when Madame Gao sent thugs after them in China was when Claire took some claw-like weapons from her enemies and used them in battle. When she left Colleen’s dojo as the season ended, she took them with her as protection.
Could she decide to become a vigilante as a version of Marvel’s White Tiger? It would be crazy if Rosario Dawson’s character here was retconned with Claire Temple not being her real name. Dawson is Latina, so if she ended up being Ava Ayala or Angela del Toro, that would be quite something. Both characters were powered by an amulet that had mystical ties to K’un Lun, so it wouldn’t be that far-fetched, and finally give her a superhero identity which she clearly craves.
12. WHERE ARE THE OTHER IMMORTAL WEAPONS?
We saw the Bride of Nine Spiders (from the Kingdom of Spiders in the comics), and Dog Brother (from Under City) in the show fighting Danny, so it’ll be interesting if the other Weapons show up to oppose him too. We mentioned the other champions previously, and it would be an amazing spectacle to see them all engaged in, dare we say it, mortal combat.
K’un Zi’s champion could be the most intriguing as this was the Crane Champion in the comics, whose mantle was taken over by Davos after he betrayed K’un Lun. He served the Crane Mother, rumored to be Gao in the show, which was further fueled when we saw her eavesdropping on Davos’ new plans to take Danny out. It would be great to get these warriors in more genuine action and kung-fu scenes, maybe with some “Ong Bak” and “IP Man” choreography involved. After all, the tournament should look very quick and deadly when it comes to fighting styles, with these Weapons hopefully helping Danny to regain his reputation, belief system and honor for K’un Lun.
11. DID WENDELL RAND TRAIN IN K’UN LUN?
In the comics, Danny’s father, Wendell, was a student in K’un Lun, sent up for the Iron Fist trial against the dragon, Shou-Lao. He turned it down and went back to civilization, with intentions to one day reveal the truth to his son. Davos wanted Wendell’s spot but Lei Kung still didn’t see him as worthy, so this led to Davos defecting, dying and being resurrected by the Crane Mother for K’un Zi as her Steel Serpent. Davos’ role was changed to being Danny’s best friend for the show, while Wendell didn’t have much to do except die.
It would be a twist if Wendell was added to the Iron Fist lore here, similarly to the family twists we see on a regular basis in “Arrow.” This series showed that Harold Meachum sabotaged Wendell’s plane (en route to Gao’s drug factory in China) over the Himalayas, which is how Danny was found by the monks. But wouldn’t it be ironic if Wendell’s journey ended at the very place he wanted to share his Iron Fist secret? Wendell was hardly expanded on, so we think season 2 has more revelations awaiting.
10. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FORMER IRON FISTS?
Season 1 gave us a glimpse at a former Iron Fist guarding the pass to K’un Lun from Chinese invaders. He was fierce and very clinical, showing more experience than Danny. We also saw him donning a costume that looked more like Iron Fist’s classic comic garb. It would be nice to see even more predecessors, such as Orson Randall, who gave up the mantle in the comics after becoming disillusioned.
He abandoned K’un Lun, similar to Danny, and ended up being hunted by Davos, whose jealousy was now in full swing as a villain. Experiencing the pantheon of Iron Fists, even if in a dream or in the spiritual plane, would help build Danny’s character and show what it could mean to become a legend. This would be a great chance to display diversity in the previous wielders, painting K’un Lun as a melting pot of culture. Seeing one past Fist just wasn’t enough, and based on Gao’s past experiences in K’un Lun, she may have key information on this issue too, especially given how she was alive in the 17th century.
9. WHERE IS BAKUTO’S FACTION?
At season’s end, we saw Bakuto take on Colleen, his former student, while Danny and Davos watched. He was angry at her for betraying his faction of the Hand to side with the K’un Lun duo (engineered to kill members of the clan). He ended up losing, with an irate Davos killing him. However, Bakuto’s body went missing, and when Danny and posse investigated, they found their Hand base abandoned.
Earlier, we saw Bakuto’s team get whipped by Danny and Davos, but they were clearly rebuilding and recovering after the loss. They all showed they were willing servants of the Hand, ready to go to murderous lengths for power and control. A major mystery is what happened to them, because they went off the radar with Bakuto. Has everyone moved to a new base? Are they going to hide or align with Gao? Are they planning to resurrect Bakuto? Losing Colleen must have shown them that something is amiss, but their young members may be willing to turn a blind eye and continue their dark path.
8. WILL WARD REPOSITION RAND INDUSTRIES?
Ward Meachum started off the season trying to kill Danny and ensure Rand Industries stayed with his family. Over the course of the season, his encounters with the Hand, his drug addiction, and running afoul of his psychopathic father, Harold, all drove him to the brink, only to be inspired by Danny’s heroic nature to help the people he grew up with as a family. Ward saw the hero sacrifice for them, and this led to a redemptive route.
Ward took over the company, with his father and sister out of the picture, and got Danny’s blessing to use it as a force for good as he returned to K’un Lun. A big question is whether he can maintain his sanity and stick to the altruistic way that Danny’s father hoped to cultivate with his corporate vision. Can Ward purge the company of all the dark things it allowed to happen over the years? They helped push drugs and their subsidiaries were in environmental issues, so he’ll have a tough task ahead. It remains to be seen if he will use the company for good, a la Stark Industries.
7. WILL ZHOU CHENG RETURN AS A HUNTER?
Many fans were disappointed with the depiction of Zhou Cheng as a drunken master. In the comics, he was a hunter of the Iron Fist, and a very deadly enemy. Here, he was merely a doorman and a lackey for Madame Gao and the Hand. The fight was pretty badass but this was a villain that deserved to be more prominent and not peripheral. Lewis Tan, who ironically failed to land the role of Danny Rand, impressed here, and we’re hoping he comes back more ruthless.
When he fought Iron Fist, it wasn’t just about their exchanges in combat, but their verbal sparring. The chemistry was solid, and after seeing Bakuto teach Danny about harnessing his chi, it would be nice to see Cheng return, tailored to this aspect of the hero as part of a chi war. He hunted the Iron Fist in the books for his mystical master, Ch’i-Lin, to devour, so hopefully we get a bigger and badder (and maybe sober) Cheng for round two!
6. WILL JOY TURN INTO HER DAD?
Joy Meachum was the first to realize and accept that Danny was back, especially due to their close childhood bond. She grew very distrustful as the season progressed, though, with Danny and Ward keeping the secret of Harold being alive. This also led to her being the victim of attacks from Harold’s enemies, which kept her cynical and paranoid, even amid all the corporate drama she had to endure.
Later on, she was shot by Bakuto, barely surviving, but realizing that everyone, even Danny, had their own agendas. By season’s end, see seemed disenchanted with everyone and retired from the spotlight. However, we saw her, disillusioned, and apparently striking a deal with Davos, who now harbored full hate for the Iron Fist. It appeared that she was going along with his plan to take Danny out, made all the more suspicious when Gao was found nearby listening. It was uncharacteristic of Joy, as she doesn’t have full reason to turn on Danny and Ward, who were trying to protect her. If she turns evil like her dad, the writers need to fully explain why.
5. WILL DANNY BECOME AN EXPLORER?
We saw K’un Lun as a rural mountainous training ground, once you got past its snowy gateway. Hopefully, as Danny tries to find out where it disappeared to, we get more insight into the other six Capital Cities of Heaven. Hidden across the world, in the comics K’un-Zi is a dark, desolate world run by the Crane Mother. Tiger Island, on the other hand, is a tropical, misogynistic paradise where women are subservient to male warriors. Peng Lai is a peaceful island of pig farmers, while The Kingdom of Spiders takes us to Nepal.
Z’Gambo is in the jungles of Africa while the Under-City is a mysterious place for wanderers. Zhou Cheng actually had the secret path to the even more mysterious Eighth City, which was found to be a hellish realm, where all cities sent their most vile prisoners. Showing Danny exploring all of these places would build up the supernatural aspect of Iron Fist lore, which felt short-changed in season one, and add to the diversity of the place where all these fighters and assassins are groomed.
4. IS K’UN LUN ALIGNED WITH THE CRANE MOTHER?
In the show, the K’un Lun chapter of assassins were called the Order of the Crane Mother. It’s odd because the Crane Mother was associated with K’un Zi, who were very much haters of K’un Lun and its people. These rivals were at war with each other for a long time, so hearing them tied as one here was a surprise. It could explain why K’un Lun was so absolute and cult-like, especially when it came to killing Hand members.
This backstory needs to be explained. Is it an alignment of the two cities? A retcon? Or is one a spinoff city and population of the other? Was the Crane Mother the first master of K’un Lun? Danny’s training there was kept minimal, as was the city and its denizens, so if we’re to fully understand what they’re about and why they think Danny dishonored them, much more insight is needed into their background and upbringing, especially if Gao is revealed to be the Crane Mother, who was exiled to Earth.
3. WILL LEI KUNG FORGIVE DANNY?
Lei Kung, aka The Thunderer, was seen as more of a drill sergeant than philosophical teacher in K’un Lun, really trying to weaponize Iron Fist. In the comics, he had more of a spiritual sense to him, so when Davos made it clear that Danny needed to return to ask forgiveness, it had us giddy at the thought of what Danny could possibly say for abandoning ship. It’s clear he wanted to find a sense of family in New York, but Lei Kung chose him for the Iron Fist trials.
This irked Davos and eventually drove him to hate Danny, as he felt the New Yorker was wasting the gift. When Danny meets his master again, we’re anticipating how Lei Kung will react and if he’ll forgive the hero. It felt like abandonment and treason, and Danny did leave the pass to K’un Lun open, which had dire ramifications at season’s end, where we saw dead Hand ninjas. Could Lei Kung understand and empathize? Danny better make a good case because he left K’un Lun vulnerable to their enemies selfishly.
2. WHO IS LEADING THE HAND?
We’re not sure how much of the Hand will be in “Defenders,” especially as the Daredevil solo series will be dealing with resurrecting Elektra (much like how the show did Nobu, another villain). Stick is set to factor in to help this team fight a bigger threat, but speculation is still rife that the Hand may not be the full-on villain there. There is a distinct possibility that the true future of the Hand could be kept for continuation in “Iron Fist,” given how they’re lifelong enemies of K’un Lun.
Gao is alive and well, and clearly scheming against Danny, and we don’t know where Bakuto is, or if he’s truly dead. Solving the riddle of who could be the main leader may well have to take place as Danny tries to find K’un Lun. Maybe other Hand leaders and factions will pop up, but it’s unlikely their hierarchy issues and power struggles will be kept for “Defenders” or “Daredevil.” This is definitely something to flesh out in Danny’s universe.
1. WILL DAVOS BECOME THE STEEL SERPENT?
In the books, Davos turned his back on Lei Kung, his father, only to die and be resurrected as the Crane Mother’s champion. She would pit him against his former people, and anyone who wielded the Iron Fist. His arc is such an emotionally dense one and it was well mapped out this season, with Sacha Dhawan doing the role justice. You could really feel the erosion of his brotherhood with Danny, leading to the finale where he voiced his murderous intent.
The show needs to bring him back again, but fans are wondering if he’ll return as the Steel Serpent, corrupted by Crane Mother, or in this case, Gao. She may well be playing the Hand, and has already talked of her links to K’un Lun, so perhaps she could seduce him with the chance to gain the Fist or something like it (similar to the power she wielded against Danny and in “Daredevil”). Davos isn’t seen as Iron Fist material by K’un Lun, so maybe he’ll turn on them, to become an elite villain with Danny trying to redeem him.
Have any thoughts on our picks? Let us know in the comments what you want answered from season one!