While Iron Fist is not the most unknown superhero Netflix has tackled (don’t try to tell me you knew who Jessica Jones was before her show), he is certainly one of the weirder. A laid-back, long-haired white dude with a surfer’s body as the ultimate master of martial arts? It’s a bit of a stretch, especially for the “real and gritty” tone Netflix has been going for so far.
So, while we wait for Iron Fist‘s release on March 17, let’s try and get our head around what we might be in for. Here are the most important things to know about the Iron Fist from Marvel comics.
1. He punched a dragon in the heart.
I’m not kidding. To get each of their powers, Daredevil and Jessica Jones got toxic waste spilled on them, Luke Cage was the victim of science experiments, and Iron Fist punched a dragon in the heart. In fact, the YouTube channel Sketch from Superheroes did a pretty great video on this.
Danny Rand, Iron Fist’s real name, is the son of a wealthy New York business man. As a child, his father brought him and his mother on an expedition to find the mystical land of K’un-L’un, as rich people do. Accidents lead to the death of both of his parents, and Danny is left stranded and alone. Luckily, the humanoid aliens of K’un-L’un (yes, aliens) find Danny and rescue him. For a decade, Danny trains in martial arts with the people of K’un-L’un, and becomes the best of their students. They challenge him to take on a dragon named Shao-Lao the Undying. Danny discovers that this seemingly immortal dragon keeps his heart separate in a jar and takes life-force from it through a dragon-shaped scar on his chest. During the fight with the dragon, he covers the scar with his own body, suffocating Shou-Lao and burning the scar into his own chest in the process. With the dragon dead, Danny plunges his fist into the jar containing Shou-Lao’s heart and gains the power of the Iron Fist.
2. He harnesses the powers of chi.
So what are Danny Rand’s powers, exactly? Well, beating the dragon’s heart to a pulp gave him the dragon’s supernatural power and ability to control his own “chi” — his life force. Combine this with his intensive martial arts training, and he is able to use his chi to give himself superhuman reflexes, speed, agility, stamina, and all that other good stuff.
His signature ability, however, is to concentrate all of his power and chi into his fist, causing it to gain a golden glow. This allows him to strike his fist as if it were made of iron, with superhuman strength and hardness, without sustaining any damage to his fist. However, using this power leaves him drained and weak for up to a day afterwards.
3. Danny Rand and Luke Cage: Bros for Life
Back when comics were struggling, Iron Fist was one of those heroes whose comic was in serious danger of being cancelled. In an attempt to save him, they paired Iron Fist with another low-sales hero, Luke Cage, to form the long-running comic Power Man and Iron Fist. Inside the comic, they called themselves the “Heroes for Hire,” taking on heroic jobs from customers to try to pay the bills.
Luke Cage and Danny Rand have been best friends in the comics ever since, even after their team disbanded with Danny’s death. Because comics. Recently, Marvel revived the Power Man and Iron Fist comic, with a new funky art style and marriage hi-jinks between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.
4. He was Daredevil for a short time.
This is more of a fun fact than a “need to know.” During the events of Marvel’s first Civil War event, Matt Murdock was found guilty of being Daredevil and sent to prison. To try to preserve his name and secret identity, Danny Rand took up the mantle of Daredevil while Matt was still very publicly locked away. He joined Captain America in opposing the Superhero Registration Act and got himself, still as Daredevil, locked away in the Negative Zone.
Another fun fact is that early in his superhero career, Iron Fist became friends with a superhero duo called the Daughters of the Dragon, consisting of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. Colleen Wing has been confirmed for Iron Fist and will be played by Jessica Henwick, while you will recognize the name Misty Knight as Simone Missick’s character in Luke Cage.
5. He is NOT a main member of the Defenders.
Neither is Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage. The Defenders in the comic universe is a somewhat random team with very fluid membership. While Iron Fist and Luke Cage have both been a part of the Defenders at one point, the usual members actually consist of Doctor Strange, Namor, and the Hulk, plus a few others like Silver Surfer and Valkyrie.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe most likely borrowed the name for their street-level heroes because such a ragtag team like Doctor Strange, Namor, and the Hulk just wouldn’t work as well on the big screen. To help tie the MCU in with their comics, a new Defenders comic is set to release later this year starring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
And that’s the most vital information I have for you regarding the final addition to the Netflix-Marvel team-up. For further information, iFanboy.com has a pretty good Iron Fist essentials reading list, including both the Power Man and Iron Fist team up and The Immortal Iron Fist, written by Winter Soldier-creator Ed Brubaker.
Featured image from the MCU wikia.