He's the guy with a crazy backstory you wouldn't want to meet on a street corner, hell-bent on playing the antihero and using brutality to save his country — but that's quite enough about Donald Trump.
Netflix is going full-on superhero onslaught later this year, and although the Luke Cage solo series is coming first, I thought it might be fun to dive into the comic book origins of Marvel's Iron Fist ahead of his own series later this year.
Like so many Marvel heroes, Danny Rand comes armed with a wild backstory and a very particular set of skills. His father, Wendell Rand, was adopted by Lord Tuan, ruler of the ancient city of K'un-Lun, which is a little like Beijing, if Beijing was nestled in the Tibetan mountains, didn't have a major population problem or a horribly oppressive government, and could only be accessed once every decade via an interdimensional portal.
Anyway, Wendell fell in love with a woman named Shakirah, whose breasts were neither small nor humble, but highly confusable with mountains. Lord Tuan's birth son Nu-An also had his eyes on Shakirah, and his stepbrother's jealousy drove Wendell into exile in the US.
Wendell married a woman named Heather, and together they had a son, Daniel. When Danny was nine, he and his parents went on a mountaineering expedition in Tibet in search of the portal to K'un-Lun, which was obviously a mistake, seeing as that only ever results in tragic death in stories like this one. Sure as hell, both were killed (Heather quite viciously by a pack of wolves) and Danny was orphaned.
The portal was nearby, though, and Danny found his way back to the mythical city, where Nu-An arranged for him to be mentored by Lei-Kung, the immortal martial arts master whose every student adopts the title of Iron Fist. During this time, Danny was routinely conditioned to intense pain by having his hands placed on scorching hot rocks, which seems pretty unethical if you ask me, but then they do things quite differently in K'un-Lun.
After emerging relatively unscathed from an encounter with a heartless fire-breathing serpent (thus passing the final test for an apprentice of Lei-Kung), Danny returned to the US, where he was framed for murder by a mysterious ninja. From hereon in everything gets very vengeance-y and even more convoluted, but essentially this man has lived.
The clue's in the name. Danny's fist is his primary weapon — a vast physical strength enhanced by something called chi, which is kind of a mystical life force granted to the Iron Fist. When channeled with concentration, the chi in question gives Danny superhuman strength far beyond his vast martial arts skills.
So powerful is his fist when augmented by the chi that he can use it to tear through metals or walls without doing himself any physical damage whatsoever. The chi can also create portals between dimensions, which is less useful than apparition, for instance, but more handy than taking the bullet train (anyway, that's in Japan).
Well, it's set in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, so probably not. Netflix is going for a much more grounded approach, so expect Iron Fist to pick up sometime long after all of that childhood trauma is out the way, but also expect the threat of some shady figures from his past to loom large over Danny's present.
There's an interesting parallel to be observed in the way that Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Danny Rand are all orphans whose parents died in tragic circumstances — a car accident, beaten to death, and mountaineering. Maybe that says a little about the type of hero Netflix is going for — strong but a little broken. It's a good basis for Iron Fist.
Finn Jones, best known for the endearingly useless Ser Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones, is bringing Danny to life on Netflix, which could be a smart casting choice. This Summer Luke Cage will arrive — check out everything we know so far about Marvel's first superhero project lead by a person of color.