Marvel's Iron Fist made his anticipated debut at New York Comic Con over the weekend, and those lucky enough to score a seat at the packed Marvel panel were treated to five never-before-seen clips from the forthcoming series, as well as a first look at the latest kickass trailer.
What I saw at the panel immediately sets Iron Fist apart from the other Marvel/Netflix properties. It's lighter, both literally and tonally. (For those of you, like me, who struggled to even see what was going on in Daredevil Season 2, I can confirm that each scene previewed for the audience was noticeably brighter. My ophthalmologist thanks you, Marvel.) Of course the lighter tone shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to fans of Iron Fist. Danny Rand is an optimist, and according to series star Finn Jones, he brings a certain sense of naiveté to the Marvel universe — and that innocence is reflected in Iron Fist.
“I think Danny's trying to figure out who he is throughout the first season,” Jones told MTV News and a small group of reporters at New York Comic Con. “He's a lost soul. He's a 25-year-old boy who's never had a real childhood, a real adolescence. He suffered an incredible tragedy when he was 10 years old. He grew up in a monastery as an orphan, under very harsh conditions for 15 years, and when he returns to New York, he's trying to discover himself... He's trying to find out who he is and what's happened to his parents. He's a very complicated, complex, and troubled dude.”
“But despite all of that, he has this real optimism in him and a naiveté and a purity that a lot of the other superheroes don't have,” he added. “His innocence is what sets him apart.”
Iron Fist stars Jones as Danny Rand, the son of billionaire parents who returns to New York after going missing 15 years ago. As Rand tries to reclaim his parent's company, his time in the lost Himalayan city of K'un-Lun training to harness the ancient power of the mighty Iron Fist comes in handy as a new enemy appears in the city. Unlike the other Defenders (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage), Iron Fist's powers are certainly mythical in nature. However, that doesn't mean the show isn't grounded in real human emotion.
“One of the things that really excited us about doing the show is when [showrunner] Scott [Buck] came onboard, with his background on Dexter,” Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb explained to MTV News and a small group of reporters. “Dexter is a show that has very grounded reality to it, but has, at its core, someone who one could argue is theoretically mentally imbalanced — or has a very unusual way of looking at the world that makes him both an insider and an outsider. That was really important to us in terms of being able to understand who Danny Rand is.”
One of the scenes screened for NYCC panel attendees was the first scene of the series. It featured Danny, barefoot and bedraggled, as he walked through Manhattan listening to “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest on his headphones. He stopped, looked up at a tall skyscraper, and told a street vendor, “That’s my building.” Danny's claim was immediately met with skepticism, from both the street vendor and the security woman at the front desk of Rand Enterprises when he tried to enter the building. That's essentially Danny's central conflict; how do you exist in a world where no one wants you? A world in which you no longer belong?
“[He] looks up at a skyscraper that has his name on it and says, ‘Hi, I'm here,’ and the rest of the world goes, ‘Who or what are you?’” Loeb said. “There's no way for him to prove who he is, so the world reacts back in a very harsh way. One of the things that we've been dealing with is that world of the one percent, or in this case, the one percent of the one percent — and in walks this young man who's just trying to find out who he is and what's happened to him.”
But for Danny, despite whatever the odds are, he truly believes everything is always going to work out, “even if it's a foolish thing to think at the time,” added Loeb.
Iron Fist is Netflix's fourth Marvel superhero series, after Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil, and the final before the superhero team-up The Defenders. A Daredevil spinoff series, The Punisher, starring Jon Bernthal, is currently filming in New York City.