Iron Fist is coming to Netflix. The martial arts hero debuts in his own series and then returns in the forthcoming Defenders series. Speculation among long-time comic book fans swirls around whether or not Netflix will launch a Heroes for Hire series with Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Finn Jones, the star and title character of Iron Fist, has noted he would really enjoy teaming with Luke Cage on Netflix. He would even like to see a Daughters of Dragon spinoff series, another wing of the Marvel Comics martial arts canon.
The original reason Luke Cage and Iron Fist teamed up in the comic books was neither was able to maintain decent sales figures in solo titles. Back in the 1970’s, Marvel Comics was always trying to debut new characters that would sell solid amounts — well over 100,000 copies — monthly. Teaming Luke Cage and Iron Fist up in a single book was a formula for success. Netflix does not need to team them, but doing so could create a very interesting 10-episode series.
Netflix may be part of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the world of Netflix heroes seems to be turning into its own entity. The gritty nature of the Netflix programs definitely has created a unique identity. Expanding the world of Netflix programs to hero team ups and martial arts programs could be the logical progression of this world. The one stumbling block here is Netflix does not want to produce too many Marvel programs per year. Time will tell how far the Netflix universe expands.
Netflix is moving forward with season one of Iron Fist as planned. The titles to a number of episodes in the series have leaked. The more interesting titles include “Lead Horse Back To Stable”, “Dragon Plays With Fire”, and “Eight Diagram Dragon Palm”. Long-time fans of martial arts movies will recognize these titles as being an homage to 1970’s kung fu films. Consider the influence appropriate. Iron Fist debuted in the 1970’s to capitalize on the martial arts movie craze occurring at the time.
Anyone who has read the first several issues of Iron Fist’s appearances in Marvel Premiere and in his own title knows the stories were gems. Iron Fist was an incredibly cool character whose adventures were fun and compelling. The drawback was the character was overshadowed by Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Iron Fist was a mix of superhero and martial artist. Comic fans preferred a martial artist without a mask or superhero gimmick. Hence, Iron Fist could not sustain sales while Shang Chi could. Iron Fist did end up teaming up with Luke Cage/Power Man to cult success.
The tumultuous history of Iron Fist as a cinematic property likely is traced back to his lack of success in the comics. An Iron Fist movie was placed in development well over a decade ago and went nowhere. Marvel Studios eventually had second and third thoughts about spending millions on a film featuring a character no one heard of.
Netflix’s decision to create programming around realistic and grounded heroes opened a door for the character. The success of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage makes it a lot easier to debut an Iron Fist series.
Speaking of debuts, Iron Fist makes his first appearance in the upcoming series featuring The Defenders. After The Defenders, Iron Fist goes solo.