Everyone has been introduced, or rather reintroduced, to the character of Daredevil, thanks to the Marvel/Netflix series. In this same television universe, we’ve also seen Jessica Jones and Luke Cage come to life. Along with a number of their villains and small characters from Marvel Comics. Before we are introduced to The Defenders, there is one character we have yet to meet. That would be Danny Rand/Iron Fist. He is being played by Finn Jones, who is best known for his role on the HBO series Game of Thrones.
The character has been around since the mid-1970s. But not very many people know that much about him. We know that he is the last character to receive his own series before the 8-episode miniseries The Defenders. Those who happen to be fans of comic books while also being martial arts aficionados may know more about the character than the average person. The character does have a pretty rich history and a pretty fascinating background and origin story. One that dives into the mystical and even controversial.
You may have seen Danny in some cartoons here and there and even in some video games. But before you get to see him in live action this March, there are some things you need to learn. Here is a comprehensive list of some things you may not know about Iron Fist. The following list does contain spoilers for the comics.
15. He Was Not The First Iron Fist
The title of Iron Fist is a title that one must work to earn. Danny Rand is currently the Iron Fist, although he was never the first one to receive this gift. It’s not as if Danny was the third or fourth person to earn the title of Iron Fist. He was and is, in fact, the sixty-sixth person to become the Iron Fist. There is a long line of chosen ones who received the title and served as protectors of the city of K’un Lun.
Quan Yaozu was known as the very first person to receive the powers of the Iron Fist, while a woman named Wu Ao-Shi was the first female to earn the title. Danny Rand was not the first and he likely will not be the last.
14. Iron Fist Was Also Daredevil
It’s not a secret that these superheroes tend to interact with one another every now and then in the comics. And seeing as these heroes wear costumes that cover them from head to toe, it could be anyone underneath that mask. At one time in the comics, Danny Rand was pretending to be Daredevil, taking his costume and identity. He certainly has the martial arts skills to make it look believable, there’s no question about that. But this identity switch was done without Matt Murdock knowing.
Prior to this, the police had figured out Daredevil’s identity and Matt was arrested. Danny did this to protect Matt’s name and get him out of prison. Once Matt figured it out, he was okay with it and asked Danny to keep it up for just a bit longer while he took care of some business. What are friends for?
13. Danny Was Raised In K’un Lun
All of the superheroes live in New York City, everybody knows that. Danny Rand/Iron Fist is no exception to this rule. However, the superhero did not spend his teenage years in the big city. He, in fact, grew up in a place that he could regard as somewhat of a second home. He was raised in the mystical city of K’un Lun, which is in an alternate dimension. As strange as that may sound, it’s even more difficult to actually set foot on this place. One can only travel there at the right time since its doors are basically open only once every 10 years.
It was found millions of years ago by aliens and those who currently live there their descendants. There is no telling how the Netflix show will choose to portray the mystical city and all of its craziness.
12. He Was An Orphan
Danny Rand’s father, Wendell, actually stumbled upon the ancient city of K’un Lun when he was a young boy. Wendell saved the life of Lord Tuan, the mystical city’s ruler, and was later adopted as his son. Wendell grew up and eventually left K’un L’un to become a wealthy entrepreneur in the United States. He had a son with Heather Duncan, Daniel Rand. Wendell later wanted to revisit the ancient city, and he took his family, along with his business partner Harold Meacham, with him.
11. His Wealth
As mentioned previously, Danny’s father Wendell was a very wealthy entrepreneur in America and Danny eventually inherited his father’s money and business.
Rand-Meachum Inc., also known as the Rand Corporation, is a multi-million dollar investment corporation. But Danny didn’t always have access to it. When his father died, the company went to his business partner Harold Meachum. Danny was not around then, being raised in K’un Lun and was presumed to be dead. Until one day he returned.
Because Meacham had a hand in Wendell’s death, Danny returned as the Iron Fist seeking revenge. Though he eventually decided not to kill him, Harold ended up dying anyway by the hand of someone else. Later, Danny and Meacham’s daughter Joy ended up owning the company together.
10. His Powers
Iron Fist is able to focus and summon his chi energy and this is ultimately what gives him his power. Doing this allows him to enhance his abilities and senses, strength, speed, stamina, agility and reflexes. This makes him the living weapon. Iron Fist is able to channel his chi and the strength of a dragon’s heart into his hand, which is why it carries a supernatural glow when he is ready to strike. When his fist has this mystical glow, he is able to strike with superhuman hardness, and his fist remains impervious to injury.
It is important to note that doing this leaves him mentally and physically exhausted afterward, so he is not able to do it again right away. In some instances, it could take up to 24-hours before he has the energy to do it again. In the comics, he is able to heal his wounds and the wounds of others, as well as being able to telepathically connect his consciousness with someone else.
9. Creation And First Appearance
Luke Cage was inspired by the blaxploitation era of filmmaking that was happening in the ’70s. It remains to this day an influence on the character, to varying degrees. The same can almost be said for the character of Danny Rand/Iron Fist, and how and why he was first created.
Every comic character has a first issue laying around somewhere. Iron Fist first appeared in Marvel comics in the mid-70s. Iron Fist/Danny Rand made his debut in Marvel Premiere #15 in May of 1974, inspired by the kung fu film craze that was going on at the time. Co-creator Roy Thomas had seen a kung fu film, his first ever, and was inspired by a scene that featured a ‘ceremony of the Iron Fist.’ Roy got a kick out of that name and wanted to build on it.
8. Who His Main Villain The Steel Serpent Is
Every superhero has to have an ultimate nemesis. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Spider-Man has Green Goblin/Norman Osborn. Not too many people are familiar with the villains of Iron Fist. Especially what could be considered his archnemesis, the Steel Serpent, otherwise known as Davos. He is a native of K’un Lun and was exiled. He is also the son of Lei Kung the Thunderer, who trained young Danny Rand.
As you can probably already guess, he wants the Iron Fist power for himself and hates Danny. At one point, Davos managed to steal Iron Fist’s powers and harness the energy for himself, until Iron Fist took it back. He is a master of martial arts, much like Danny is. He will more than likely show up in the Netflix Iron Fist series.
7. He Sided With Captain America During ‘Civil War’
Not everybody is always going to be able to get along. At one point in the comics years ago, Captain America and Iron Man were at war with one another. The U.S. government passed what they called the Superhero Registration Act, making it mandatory for superheroes to register themselves and their identity, and essentially work for the government so that they are kept under control. Iron Man was all for it, while Cap was against it, and they each had their own slew of superheroes on their side.
6. The Character Is Not Asian
There are an overwhelming plethora of comic book characters who happen to be white men. Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, so on and so on. Iron Fist, in this particular case, is no different. Seeing as he was created in the mid-’70s and was inspired by the kung fu craze, it makes sense that the character exists as a fish-out-of-water in a certain sense. And when it comes to the live action Netflix series, it’s no surprise they ended up going in the same direction in terms of casting decisions.
Finn Jones, who you may be familiar with from Game of Thrones, will be playing the role of Danny Rand/Iron Fist, and he certainly is not Asian. Though even as an Asian-American, the character would still be considered a fish-out-of-water, since the Asian-American experience is not the same as someone born and raised in Asia.
5. His Friendship With Luke Cage
We have already been introduced to Luke Cage, thanks to actor Mike Colter, and his solo series was very successful. In the comics, Luke Cage and Danny Rand were not introduced together, but once they met, they started a bond that still carries on to this day. They originally first met when a villain named Bushmaster was blackmailing Luke to abduct Misty Knight, a detective who happened to be dating Iron Fist/Danny Rand. Both Misty and Danny figure out that Luke was wrongfully imprisoned, prior to Luke breaking out of prison, and decided to help him clear his name.
Soon after, Danny and Luke team up and start fighting crime together. Marvel decided to combine the Iron Fist series with Luke Cage since Cage’s solo comics were not selling. Together they became the Heroes for Hire and the rest was history.
4. He And Misty Knight Had A Romance
Everybody, superhero or not, has a love interest. Once Danny had returned from K’un Lun and was ready to avenge his father, he was framed for the death of Harold Meacham. Harold was killed by a mysterious ninja, and his daughter Joy blamed Iron Fist. So, Danny needed help clearing his name. At this time, Misty Knight was a former cop who became a private investigator. Danny decided that he needed to hire her and get help. This is how the two first met.
Since then, the two have had what appears to be an on-again, off-again romantic relationship in the comics. In some stories, they’re dating, in some stories they’re not. As far as the live-action Netflix universe goes, the two have yet to meet. We may see them have a scene together in the upcoming Defenders mini-series.
3. He Fought A Dragon Named Shou-Lao
Remember the fact that Danny grew up in K’un Lun? Well, he wasn’t just sitting around doing nothing for years on end. He was training in the ways of martial arts. Danny even had to fight a dragon named Shou-Lao the Undying. She has this name because she is an immortal dragon, who has been defeated and reborn several times. 66 times to be exact since Danny is the 66th person to carry the mantle of Iron Fist. This would also mean Danny was the 66th person to fight and defeat this powerful dragon.
But they don’t fight this dragon just for fun. Shou-Lao’s heart grants people the power of the Iron Fist. So if you want to be a part of this exclusive club and carry that power, you’ll have to get past her.
2. He Was A Member Of A Few Different Teams
There have been numerous iterations of the Avengers throughout the decades. Danny Rand has been a member of a few of them. Of course, there were his early days with Luke Cage as Heroes for Hire. That would probably be the first official team Iron Fist was a part of. After that, he brought in more superheroes to team-up under that same name. After that, he was a New Avenger. The team consisted of Luke Cage, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man as well as “Spider-Woman” (Veranke). He was also a member of the Secret Avengers.
In 2017, Danny Rand will be a new group, the Defenders. Though he has been a member of this team in the past, this new iteration will feature just four characters: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and, of course, Iron Fist.
1. The Netflix Series
We’ have already met Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Young Danny Rand here is the last one, the last Defender if you will, to be introduced into this universe. The actor portraying him, Finn Jones, talked a little bit about where Danny is when we first meet him in the series.
“I like the fact that he’s someone struggling to find his identity and has lots of different flaws and complexities and it’s in those elements that I think is most fun to explore… When he comes to New York, he’s really trying to find out who he is and what he wants to become. For most of Iron Fist, that’s what he’s trying to pursue, to find out about his parents, as well as being the Iron Fist.”
We sure you aren’t the only one who is excited!