Netflix is slowing turning the faucet on what will likely be a flood of Iron Fist marketing coming our way. Let’s take a look at what we can glean from the “I am Danny” featurette.
The first thing we see is a flashback to the plane crash that led Danny Rand to K’un L’un, as an authoritarian voice bellows out the commands: “Cast away your childish needs”. “Bury your mother, bury your father.” My god, these monks are not playing around. I knew that Danny was raised in a monastery and trained in martial arts, but I don’t think I fully grasped how difficult a transition that must have been for a 10 year old. The death of your parents? Get past it. Your childhood? It’s over.
The first several seconds of this featurette make clear that the showrunners intend to spend some time exploring aspects of this harsh time in Danny’s life. That is probably not a surprise to anyone who’s seen the trailer or the early New York Comic Con teaser, but what’s new here is insight into how we may get to those flashbacks. We’ve seen Danny in meditation before in trailers and the practice has always served the Iron Fist of the comics as a healing and centering tool (much like in real life). In the Netflix series I believe it will also serve as our storytelling vehicle to the past, whereby Danny can revisit his earlier experiences and lessons. The “vehicle” will not just be for us, the viewers, but for Danny himself who I think will be able to control these meditative journeys to some degree.
We also get a deeper look into the world Danny will be returning to. Rand Corp., his family’s legacy, is currently being run by his two childhood friends who have conveniently become billionaires in the process. Some might even say it’s a little too convenient the way things shook out for those Meachum kids. Seems as though there will be a lot of focus on the company, what the return of Danny means for its future and the “dark forces” that lay within. Could these, as yet unknown but often referenced, dark forces be critical to why Danny has returned and why he was trained to become the Iron Fist? Perhaps…In any event, it’s clear that there will need to be some corporate posturing and not just good ol’ fashion yellow glowing hand fisticuffs in order to defeat this foe. As for the Meachum siblings, whose side are they on? Something tells me Ward isn’t going to be jumping on team Iron Fist anytime soon but Joy might. I just have this feeling that Joy isn’t as big of a jerk as Ward will be. I also have a hard time trusting Ward thanks to Agents of S.HI.E.L.D. And then there’s Madame Gao. She’s got to be tangled up in whatever dark forces are involved here, right? She clearly knows that Danny is the Iron Fist and doesn’t seem all that thrilled that he’s back in town. Plus, who is this shadowy figure she keeps talking to about it? Definitely a power player they’ve been intentionally hiding. Could it be the Steel Serpent? …Be still my heart.
So, for this next bit I should forewarn you that I tend to think too far into these things, but I wonder if the power of Iron Fist has a will of its own. That is, can it communicate its will to Danny? Now hear me out: while Danny is being ushered out of Rand Corp., there’s a moment in the elevator where he looked as if he was mentally battling the urge to fight the guards. Finn Jones explains this as a fire that Danny has inside him. He later describes the power of the Iron Fist as a force of the universe, a fire of the fist that Danny has the ability to ignite. Maybe just a coincidence, you say? What if the fire from within that compels Danny is also a reference to the source of his power, that source being Shou-Lao? Alright, just a bit further down the rabbit hole. This would be a departure from the source material, of course, but by obtaining the power of the Iron Fist, has Danny infused not only his body but his mind with the presence of Shou-Lao. Shou-Lao, from the comic book origin, is the legendary dragon whose heart Danny plunges his fists into to gain the Iron Fist power. Obviously that story may be a little too fantastical for the Marvel Netflix universe, but what if the series treats the Iron Fist more like a pact made between Shou-Lao and the warrior?
I’ll take it even a step further and posit that the voice we hear explaining that the dark forces are real and that they’ve infested Rand is actually Shou-Lao in Danny’s head. Throughout the trailer and this featurette, there has been this focus on dark forces and the Iron Fist’s destiny. If Shou-Lao’s will is to destroy these dark forces, is that Danny’s destiny, and what level of choice does Danny have in the matter? Since Rand is infested, maybe that is why Danny is compelled to fight for it. Not only to honor his family but it’s what he signed up for, it’s his destiny. I know I took a big leap there, but this would be an interesting spin on the origin and I’m dying to see how they bring this story to life.
With about a month to go, I’m still very excited to see what the Iron Fist has in store for us. The new fight scene footage in this featurette looks great. Here’s hoping for a more substantial fight sequence clip in the coming weeks. I mean, come on Marvel, what could that spoil?