Netflix’s fourth Marvel superhero series, Iron Fist, premieres on March 17. The billionaire-turned-martial-arts master, played by Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones, is the final piece in Marvel’s upcoming series about the Defenders. Here’s everything you need to know about the superhero.
Iron Fist and Batman have a lot in common.
Orphaned as children, billionaires Danny Rand and Bruce Wayne travel to Asia to learn martial arts. In Danny’s case, he travels with his family to the mystical city of K’un-L’un at the age of nine when his father’s partner, Harold Meachum, kills the father so that he can inherit the business. Danny’s mother then sacrifices herself to save her son by letting herself be eaten by a pack of wolves. A man named Lei Kung takes in young Danny at K’un-L’un and trains him in the mystical arts so Danny can avenge his parents. (The show may change things up a bit: The trailer shows his parents dying in a plane crash.)
After years of training in K’un-L’un, Danny fights a mystical dragon and earns the ability to channel the power of the “Iron Fist.” The upshot: The fight somehow results in him getting a magic chest tattoo of a dragon, along with superpowers. This Iron Fist power makes him stronger and faster than other mortals. His abilities manifest in a glowing hand that makes his punch super strong—like an iron fist, get it?
His backstory is controversial.
If you’ve seen Batman Begins or Doctor Strange, you may have noticed a trend: a white guy travels to Asia, trains in the mystical arts and returns to the United States to fight injustice. This is a comic book trope—but it’s a problematic one. After Iron Fist was announced, fans lobbied Netflix and Marvel to cast an Asian-American actor as Danny Rand in an effort to avoid yet another instance of the appropriation of Asian culture. Jones himself got in hot water—and briefly deleted his Twitter account—when he defended his own casting.
Danny seeks revenge on Harold Meachum.
Danny returns to New York to take back his family’s company and seek revenge against Harold Meachum. His main villain in the show, tough, appears to the organization The Hand, which was responsible for the many, many ninjas that Daredevil encountered in the second season of his show. (Rosario Dawson returns as Claire Temple, the ever-present nurse who just cannot seem to stay away from superheroes.) Danny also seeks help from dojo owner and fellow martial arts master Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick).
He’s the fourth and final Defender.
Netflix has been building up to a series about a Marvel superteam called the Defenders. Instead of fighting larger, alien villains like Iron Man and Thor do, this crew is more of a street-level Avengers squad who fight New York City neighborhood baddies. They’re released three series prior to Iron Fist: Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Together with Iron Fist, they make up the Defenders team.