So far in the Netflix corner off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve already gotten “Daredevil” (twice), “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage,” and before too long, we’ll formally be introduced to Danny Rand in “Iron Fist.” Slated to debut in March of 2017, Iron Fist will debut in his solo show on Netflix next March before joining the aforementioned other heroes in “The Defenders,” which hits the popular streaming service later next year.
Now that we’re familiar with the likes of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, the folks at Marvel Studios have begun expanding the universe to the point where lesser known characters, such as Danny Rand, are being introduced in live-action form. Since Iron Fist isn’t exactly a household name quite yet, we thought we’d take a second to educate you on who he is. Without further ado, here are 15 things you have to know about the Iron Fist, the next Defender to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
15. A Billion-Heir
Daniel (Danny) Thomas Rand was born to Wendell Rand and socialite Heather Duncan-Rand. The elder Rand started Rand Meachum Inc., also known as Rand International, alongside business partner Harold Meachum. Rand and Meachum were long-time friends and started the corporation to house their research and investment enterprises, which eventually budded into a multi-million dollar conglomerate.
Once an adult (and after much resistance from the Meachums, particularly Harold’s daughter Joy), Danny Rand took over as Chief Executive Officer and employed Jeryn Hogarth as his legal counsel and right-hand man. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel TV gender-swapped Hogarth’s role when they cast actress Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, who appeared in the first season of “Jessica Jones.” She also showed up during the season two finale of “Daredevil.”
During the events of “The Immortal Iron Fist,” Danny turns Rand International into a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping the homeless, after finding out the company was founded from the oppression of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven.
14. Like Father, Like Son
As a young orphan, Wendell Rand (Danny’s father) ran into a gentleman named Orson Randall at a bar in Nepal. Coincidentally enough, Randall was the person who held the Iron Fist mantle prior to Danny Rand, a bit of information that we’ll dig further into in just a bit. Orson raised Wendell as if he were his own son and the two soon found themselves traveling around the world, finding adventures alongside their allies, the Confederates of the Curious. During these adventures, Wendell would mention wanting to become the next Iron Fist, should Orson pass the mantle along, a notion that seemed to always upset Orson.
In fact, it upset Orson to the point that when Wendell was shot during one of their adventures, Orson left him behind to move on to the next mission. After that, Wendell decided to attempt to find K’un-Lun, a mystical city that only appears in the Himalayan Mountains once every 10 years, and train to become the next Iron Fist to spite his former mentor.
13. Ever An Avenger
Wendell eventually found K’un-Lun and began his training. He got to the final step before being named Iron Fist, which was to fight and kill Shou-Lao the Undying. However, when he was about to battle the dragon, Wendell had a change of heart and packed his bags to head back to New York City to start his life anew.
After a 10-year wait, Wendell decided he wanted to take his family to K’un-Lun, while his business partner Harold insisted on tagging along. As no paths to K’un-Lun remain the same, the party got lost and soon found themselves in a blizzard. In the rugged terrain, Danny slipped and started pulling his mother and father with him. Harold saw an opportunity to take sole possession of Rand Meachum Inc. and cut Wendell’s safety rope, causing him to plummet to his untimely death. Heather and Danny ran, only to be chased down by a pack of wolves. While Danny was saved by archers from K’un-Lun, his mother was killed.
12. Iron Fist 66
As previously stated, Danny Rand hasn’t been the only Iron Fist. We’ve already mentioned Orson Randall, the man who was Danny’s immediate predecessor, and while we don’t have an exact list of Iron Fists, it’s believed that Danny Rand is the 66th in the line of succession. Shou-Lao, the immortal dragon, has been reincarnated that many times, as told in “The Immortal Iron Fist” by Ed Brubaker.
Throughout the course of that 27-issue run, we were only introduced to a handful of the Iron Fists from the past, such as Quan Yaozu, Li Park, Bei Ming-Tian, Wu Ao-Shi, Bei Bang-Wen, Kwai Jun-Fan, Fongji and Orson Randall, all of whom proceeded Danny Rand as Iron Fist. We were also introduced to Wah Sing-Rand, a distant descendent of Danny’s who serves as the Iron Fist in the year 3099. Wah happens to be the youngest Iron Fist to defeat Shou-Lao at just nine years of age.
11. K’un-Lun: The Alien Connection
The mystical city of K’un-Lun was created millions of years ago after an extraterrestrial space ship crashed in an extra-dimensional realm. As its warp drives exploded, it created a rift that caused the city to periodically rotate between the realm where it crash-landed and Earth, thus making it appear on Earth just once every 10 years. The inhabitants of K’un-Lun are humanoid-like aliens. They designed the city by implementing the architecture of the crashed spaceship, using many parts of it to create the city itself, including the Central Hall of Ancestors, which, as the name suggests, has a central meaning to the Iron Fist legacy.
K’un-Lun is considered one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, with each of the cities having an Immortal Weapon. He or she who is chosen to be the Iron Fist thus acts as the Immortal Weapon of K’un-Lun. The other six cities of Heaven include the Kingdom of Spiders, K’un-Zi, Peng Lai, Tiger Island, Under City and Z’Gambo, each with their own champion known as an Immortal Weapon. That, of course, leads us to our next entry…
10. Other Immortal Weapons
Each of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven have their own Immortal Weapon and once every 88 years, the cities merge together to form the Heart of Heaven. Each time the cities merge, a tournament is held where the champions fight each to determine the order in which the cities appear on Earth. The winner of the tournament’s has his/her city appear on Earth once every 10 years, while the remaining cities appear on Earth just once every 50 years.
With Iron Fist serving as the Immortal Weapon of K’un-Lun, the other Immortal Weapons are as follows: Bride of Nine Spiders (Kingdom of Spiders), Fat Cobra (Peng Lai), Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter (Tiger Island), Dog Brother #1 (Under City) and Prince of Orphans (Z’Gambo). While there typically is a champion from K’un-Zi, which is home to the Crane Mother, Davos the Steel Serpent filled in as a substitute champion at the most recent Tournament of Heavenly Cities.
Each of the champions draws his or her power from their chi and manipulates it in different ways. The Bride of Nine Spiders, for example, is able to create an endless supply of spiders, while Fat Cobra is the fastest Immortal Weapon, even though he’s the size of a traditional sumo wrestler.
9. The Steel Serpent
With any superhero comes an archenemy. Iron Fist’s primary counterpart is Davos, the Steel Serpent. Davos is the the son of Lei Kung the Thunderer, the weapons master of K’un-Lun and the city’s martial arts expert. Much like Danny, Davos is a martial arts master, having been fluently trained in every known martial art, even those taught at the beginning of time. Davos first became an adversary of Danny’s when Danny killed Shou-Lao to become the Iron Fist, something Davos had trained for since a child.
In the “Immortal Iron Fist” run, we find out Davos is in cahoots with the Crane Mother and HYDRA to help further Davos’ odds at winning the Tournament of Champions. During the tournament, Davos nearly beats Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter to death; the next day, he is nearly killed himself by the Prince of Orphans. Shortly after those events, when Danny and Lei Kung reveal a treacherous coup in K’un-Lun, Davos joins the two, as well as the rest of the champions, in a rebellion to give K’un-Lun back to its people. After overthrowing the coup leader, Lei Kung steps in as the new leader of K’un-Lun and assigns Davos to guard a dragon egg, one from which Shou-Lao, the endless dragon, will be born for the next Iron Fist to fight.
8. His Powers
Daniel Rand wasn’t born with any super powers, so he isn’t a mutant or an Inhuman. Rather, he is trained in all forms of martial arts taught both in K’un-Lun and on Earth. After he defeated the dragon, Danny was able to begin focusing his chi — or spiritual energy — to boost his physical and mental abilities to peak human levels.
Using his chi, his go-to move is to focus all of his power into his hand, where he can render it superhumanly powerful and immune to both pain and injury. As this process is mentally straining, and the fact that he typically needs time to recharge after its use, Danny commonly focuses his chi on other powers such as healing himself. He can also sense mystic energy and is capable of fusing his consciousness with another person’s, allowing each person to feel the other’s emotion and see their memories. Danny has even been known to absorb energy that has been directed at him and transfer it unto himself to make his chi much more powerful.
7. He Once Stopped An Interdimensional Train
Although he isn’t one of the Marvel universe’s strongest super heroes, don’t think that Iron Fist can’t take care of his own problems. In the “Immortal Iron Fist” series, Orson Randall was introduced to Danny, the son of his former apprentice of many years. Together, the two uncovered a plot by a man known as Xao, who would destroy the Seven Cities for good. Xao, in partnership with HYDRA, kidnapped Jeryn Hogarth, Danny’s closest confident, and forced him to make plans for a high-speed train.
Before too long, it was revealed that Xao was working with the Crane Mother of K’un-Zi, and that the two would be stockpiling the train with explosives and crashing it through an inter-dimensional portal to destroy K’un-Lun and the other six cities. Using this information, Iron Fist was able to bring the other six champions together and foil Xao’s plans. Xao then took his own life, only after revealing to the champions that there was an Eighth City that they didn’t know about. The Iron Fist mythos is filled with many such mysterious twists.
6. Luke Cage Is His Best Friend
For fans of comics, it’s pretty common knowledge that if you see Iron Fist, you’ll probably see Luke Cage close by. Luke and Danny — Power Man and Iron Fist — are one of the most iconic dynamic duos in comics history. And yet, as inseparable as the two are now, they each had their own solo series before joining together. Iron Fist debuted in “Marvel Premiere” #15, and stayed under that title until “Iron Fist” was announced in November 1975. After the eleven-issue “Marvel Premiere” run that lasted from May 1974 to October 1975 ended, “Iron Fist” continued with 15 issues from November 1975 until September 1977.
Luke Cage, on the other hand, first appeared in “Hero for Hire” #1, which lasted 16 issues until the series was renamed “Power Man” beginning with issue #17. The duo first appeared together when Iron Fist joined Luke in “Power Man” #48 (1977), and the partnership became official after a three-issue run when the series was renamed “Power Man and Iron Fist” in place of “Power Man” #50. But these two characters were initially placed together for only one reason: falling sales. Each of their solo series was struggling in sales and the people at the House of Ideas thought they were too good of characters to permanently cancel. Thus, they mashed them together, and they’ve been largely inseparable since.
5. Luke Cage Is His… Murderer?
It’s safe to say thatLuke and Danny are best buds. The two fought crime together through 75 issues of “Power Man and Iron Fist” and 16 “Heroes for Hire” issues in the mid-90s. Even now, as a part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe, the two are starring in a revival of the “Power Man and Iron Fist” series, this time brought to us by writer David F. Walker and artist Sanford Greene.
Of course, as with any relationship, everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Issue #125, ended with one of the most tragic deaths the Marvel Universe had ever seen: Iron Fist’s. In the book, Luke finds his partner dead on the floor and is subsequently arrested by police. The district attorney reveals that Iron Fist was killed by someone with super strength and that Danny had just named Luke as the sole beneficiary of his fortune.
As it turns out, Bobby, a child Danny and Luke were helping, had powers to turn into an adult superhero with super strength named Captain Hero. In a fit of rage, Captain Hero killed Iron Fist and fled the scene. Little did anyone know that this “Iron Fist” was a doppelganger as Danny Rand had been previously diagnosed with cancer and returned to K’un-Lun.
4. He was Daredevil
During the events of “Civil War,” attorney Matt Murdock was exposed to the public as Daredevil, the vigilante of Hell’s Kitchen. While he was in prison, Murdock had to not only be placed in witness protection to prevent him from getting killed by the criminals he helped put behind bars, he was also surprised to find out that someone had been using the Daredevil costume pretending to be the superhero.
Beginning with Ed Brubaker’s “Daredevil” vol. 2 run, Danny Rand assumed the Daredevil mantle to help convince the justice system and the general public that Murdock was not the crimefighter. Eventually Murdock was cleared with all charges dropped and once again served as The Man Without Fear. It was a valiant effort by Danny, but of course Matt would be outed again only a few years later, revealing his identity publicly while being automatically disbarred by the State of New York and being forced to move to the warmer climes of San Fransisco.
3. He is #TeamCap
While Danny was pretending to be Daredevil to help clean up Matt Murdock’s name, a much bigger event was happening at Marvel: the original “Civil War.” The mega-crossover event that inspired “Captain America: Civil War” pitted Captain America against Iron Man as they couldn’t come to agreeable terms on the Superhuman Registration Act, with Cap disagreeing with the registry and Iron Man coming out strongly in favor for it.
Danny decided to side with Captain America, while still assuming the Daredevil role. Eventually, Danny was arrested by Pro-Registration forces and subsequently imprisoned in the Negative Zone Prison that Reed Richards and Tony Stark partnered together to help build. Danny is later freed as Cap’s forces went on to fight Iron Man’s team in the climax of the arc. While his long-time friend Luke Cage joined Tony Starks’ side in “Civil War II,” Danny took a more passive approach and declared himself neutral, citing that he was tired of seeing super heroes fight each other.
2. He loves Misty Knight
For fans of both Iron Fist in the comics and “Luke Cage” on Netflix, it might have been a bit odd to see Luke and police detective Misty Knight “getting coffee” right out of the gate on the show. That’s because Misty and Danny Rand have had an on-again, off-again relationship in the Marvel universe that, quite frankly, has been complicated… to say the least.
Believe it or not, Danny Rand and Misty shared one of the first interracial kisses between superheroes in “Marvel Team-Up” #65 in 1977, and Misty is the primary reason Danny and Luke Cage met each other in the first place. There was even a time where Misty thought she was pregnant with Danny’s child, but it turned out to be a false alarm. Misty Knight is played by actress Simone Missick in the MCU, and while she appeared in “Luke Cage” and is slated to appear in “The Defenders”, she won’t be appearing in “Iron Fist” this coming March.
1. Both Defender AND Avenger
Superheroes can have several team affiliations throughout their crime-fighting careers and Iron Fist is no different. While his primary team has been Heroes for Hire with his partner Luke Cage, Iron Fist has also been a member of The Defenders and various incarnations of The Avengers.
Much like his live-action counterpart, Iron Fist was a part of The Defenders, but instead of starring in the group alongside Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, he served with Doctor Strange, Red She-Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer beginning with a new series in 2011 by writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson. While we explained that Danny Rand was on Captain America’s side under the Daredevil guise during “Civil War,” Iron Fist went on to join Cap (Steve Rogers), Ronin and Doctor Strange in a non-sanctioned splinter group called the New Avengers. In the current comics timeline, Iron Fist is back with Luke Cage fighting crime as the Heroes for Hire in “Power Man and Iron Fist”.
What are your favorite things about Iron Fist? Let us know in the comments!
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