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Iron Fist: Rise of the, ‘Weird’, Defender

What is Iron Fist?! Who is Danny Rand?! What day is it?! All questions I’m sure are on your mind in the lead up to the release of Iron Fist on Netflix (Friday 17th March). Well, fret no more for I shall do my best to provide you with a concise, comprehensive and clear overview of the character before we all binge watch his on-screen debut over the weekend.

N.B. if you already know about the character of Iron Fist then consider this a refresher; last minute revision before the final exam, if you will…

Origin Story

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Wendell Rand was a skilled martial artist that once travelled to and lived in the mystical city of K’un-L’un as the adopted son of the city’s ruler, Lord Tuan. K’un-L’un is no ordinary place, however, it exists in another dimensional realm and is only accessible through a special portal that opens once every ten years. It’s also home to the K’un-L’un martial arts.

Still with me? Okay, because it’s only going to get weirder from here.

Unfortunately, Wendell was driven out of K’un-L’un by his brother, Nu-An, who was envious of him and wanted to rule K’un L’un himself. Wendell then returned to Earth and became an extremely successful entrepreneur and owner of the multi-million dollar conglomerate the Rand Corporation. He eventually settled down with a woman named Heather and the two had a child – Daniel Rand.

But when Daniel (Danny) was 9, Wendell decided to return to the place he once knew as home and set out in search for the next portal to K’un-L’un with his son, wife and business partner, Harold Meachum. The trip was perilous and Harold ended up murdering Wendell in front of Danny and his mother in the hope of taking over Wendell’s share of the business. Harold then left the others to fend for themselves and Heather ended up having to sacrifice herself to save Danny from a pack of wolves.

The grief-stricken, vengeance-fuelled and recently orphaned Danny was eventually found and taken in by inhabitants of K’un-L’un and brought to the new ruler, Yu-Ti (formerly known as Nu-An…) who apprenticed Danny to Lei Kung, a master of K’un-L’un’s martial arts. Danny showed great promise and soon became one of Lei Kung’s most proficient students and at age 19 was given the opportunity to gain the power of The Iron Fist. In order to gain this power, he had to fight Shou-Lao the Undying, a huge dragon who guarded over a brazier which contained its heart – outside of its body.

Told you it was going to get weirder.

Danny eventually managed to defeat Shou-Lao by jumping on the dragon and using himself to cover a dragon-shaped mark Shou-Lao had on his body. This burned the mark onto Danny’s chest and killed the dragon, leaving the heart unguarded. Danny then plunged his fists into the heart of the dragon and his fists began to glow as he became worthy of the title of Iron Fist.

Powers

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That’s all well and good and everything (albeit, quite intense) but what actually IS the power of the Iron Fist?! The power of the Iron Fist comes from within. By focusing his spiritual energy (chi) Iron Fist can augment his physical and mental abilities to superhuman levels.

Here are some of the badass things Iron Fist can do when he focuses his chi:

– Channel the power of Shou-Lao into his fists making them immune to pain/injury and making them immensely powerful (hard as iron, you might say… ha!)
– Focus his chi in order to heal himself from any injury, or project this ability to heal others
– Greatly enhance his senses to give him even greater speed, stamina, strength, and agility
– Give himself a heightened state of awareness – this is kind of like an enhanced intuition rather than a spider-sense but he can normally sense threats in his immediate surroundings before they happen
he is also very adept at sensing mystic energies
– Fuse his consciousness with others, allowing them to share memories and emotions
– Absorb certain forms of energy

But at the end of the day, Iron Fist is still human and so his mental energy is finite – just think of how drained you feel after the long commute to work. *rolls eyes*

What this means is that channelling chi is mentally exhausting and poor Danny Rand can only keep it up for a while before he needs to rest and recharge – bet you never thought Iron Fist was so relatable! However, this recharge time has reduced over time as Iron Fist has become more efficient at channelling chi. Some of these powers are more draining than others (particularly healing and channelling the power of Shou-Lao) but what makes Danny Rand worthy of being a Defender is that even without the power of the Iron Fist, he’s not someone you want to mess with.

Here’s a bunch of stuff that comes as standard:

– Olympic level athlete and gymnast.
– Master martial artist – expert of all of K’un-L’un’s martial art forms, many of Earth-based martial art forms and full proficiency with almost all martial-arts weapons
– Pressure point location expert – Danny can incapacitate, paralyse or kill with just a few strikes
– Complete self-awareness and master of meditation techniques – this allows him complete control over his mind and nervous system; he can slow his heart rate and adapt to almost any environment and even render himself impervious to pain

Impressive Feats

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We could go on and on about the intricacies of the character but the best way for me to truly paint an image of just how formidable Iron fist is to tell you some of the most impressive feats he’s accomplished during his time in the comics:

-He has been able to contend with heroes such as Black Panther, Colossus, Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Nightcrawler – some of Marvel’s most technically skilled and hard-hitting heroes!
-He took out a bad guy before the bullet had left his gun.
-He even destroyed a train filled with nuclear explosives and saved everyone by absorbing the energy blast.
Yeah, you read that correctly.

Marvel’s Iron Fist and The Defenders 

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It’s worth noting at this point that what I’ve described so far is an overview of the character from the comics. It’ll be interesting to see how Danny Rand is adapted for his inception into the MCU. With this in mind, what can we expect from the final Defender’s show?

Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones have set the bar insanely high for Iron Fist and the one thing that stands out for me in all of those shows are the flawlessly executed fight scenes.
The choreography of the fights are so on point that Marvel received a number of nominations for Emmies and SAG awards for their stunt choreography in Daredevil and Luke Cage.

Think back to the Daredevil’s one-shot hallway fights, the Punisher’s prison fight, and Luke Cage’s Crispus Attucks rampage?! Some of the best action scenes on TV (YouTube them if you haven’t seen them yet or don’t recall what I’m talking about!)

Now consider Iron Fist. He’s by far the most technically skilled in combat and possesses chi manipulation which gives the potential for some visually stunning cinematography. If nothing else, Iron Fist is guaranteed to deliver some spectacular action scenes.

All 3 of the other Defenders shows have dealt with the characters as they’re just starting to fighting crime (or starting again in the case of Jessica Jones) and so we’ve been able to see them become accustomed to their powers and find their feet as heroes. It’s a safe bet to say the same is going to go for Iron Fist, so don’t expect him to be absorbing any nuclear blasts anytime soon. But at the same time – maybe this means we’ll get to see him take on Shou-Lao the Undying?? Fingers crossed!

Looking even further ahead though what will it look like when Iron Fist teams up with his companions when The Defenders hits our screens later this year?!

Well, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage have all shown flawed psyches and this may cause friction if they have to work together. If only there was someone who was greatly intuitive to those around them who could ease the tensions, be the voice of reason and convince the group they’d work better together. Maybe this person could also be slightly psychic, have the ability to heal others (I’m sure Claire Temple needs a break) and have fists as strong as Iron… yeah, if only.

One thing’s for sure – Iron Fist is going to be action packed but make sure you keep an open mind going into this one because it’s likely to get weird!

Are you excited for Marvel’s Iron Fist? Let us know in the comments section or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Ryan John

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