With Daredevil and Jessica Jones burning up the internet (and Luke Cage, not to mention a second helping of Ol’ Hornhead, on the way), everyone with a keyboard and some time to kill has been theorizing about Marvel’s plan for its Netflix series. The original plan was as follows: Four independent series–Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist–leading up to a team-up called The Defenders. It was a good plan. Of course, no plan survives contact with the enemy.
Daredevil was an experiment. It could have failed. Miserably. Instead it took off. It became the most-watched show on Netflix and spurred Marvel to start work on a second season. Now there’s talk of a Punisher series. Maybe even Moon Knight. There’s also a lot of talk surrounding Iron Fist, and not all of it is good. Depending on who you ask, Marvel is either cancelling the series outright, retooling it to be a one-off feature-length story, or going ahead with it as originally planned. It does seem as though the series has stalled. There’s been no word of casting or story or even when production might start. The usual internet reaction is to run around shouting that the sky is falling. Personally, this doesn’t bother me. Iron Fist will be an expensive endeavor (which is what’s fueling the one-off film rumor), not to mention an interesting creative hurdle: I mean, how do you visually represent someone’s chi or the Iron Fist effect?
Yes. An Iron Fist series will be expensive. Probably more expensive than Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage combined. At least if you want to do it right. K’un-L’un will need to be a lot more impressive than whatever matte painting Arrow uses for Nanda Parbat. (The easiest solution to this that I can think of is to just use whatever location Agents of SHIELD used for the Inhuman city, Afterlife.)
What about the story? Is the entire thing set in K’un-L’un? I imagine the first season of Iron Fist to be a little bit like Batman Begins. Danny Rand, long-thought dead, returns to New York City after years of training in K’un-L’un. As the Iron Fist, he has been sent to New York to prepare it for an upcoming supernatural threat (this ties in to one of the subplots from the first season of Daredevil). As Danny Rand, however, he has come home to face the men responsible for the death of his parents: the Board of Directors of the Rand Corporation. To accomplish this second goal, Danny needs the services of Heroes for Hire* (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Patsy Walker, and Misty Knight). Of course, things don’t go as planned and Danny discovers that his two objectives might be more connected than he originally thought. As with the other Netflix series, Iron Fist would rely on flashbacks to slowly spool out Danny Rand’s origin, from his parents’ death, to his training in K’un-L’un, to his rise as the Iron Fist.
There’s very little reinventing of the wheel here, and with good reason. Marvel’s Netflix series manage to be both straightforward and complex, and there’s no evidence to suggest that Iron Fist will be any different when we finally get to see it.
*I would actually trade a second season of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist for an ongoing Heroes for Hire series featuring Jess, Luke, Danny, Misty, Patsy, and Colleen Wing.