You kind of had a feeling before it started that something special was about to happen, but the panel for Marvel’s Iron Fist on Saturday night at New York Comic Con 2016 really surpassed everyone’s expectations. We not only learned a lot about the upcoming Iron Fist series, but we also scored major scoop on The Defenders!
For the fans who were there, it was one to those events they won’t soon forget.
Let’s get right to the details. Moderator Jeph Loeb, the head of Marvel TV, walked out and engaged the fans in some entertaining banter, getting sections of the Main Hall audience to do a chant for Marvel’s Iron Fist … On Netflix! The audience was game, but they really wanted to get to the good stuff.
Out comes the team representing Iron Fist: Executive Producer Scott Buck, Tom Pelphrey (Ward Meachum), Jessica Stroup (Joy Meachum), David Wenham (Harold Meachum) and Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing). The two loudest ovations were reserved for Rosario Dawson, who plays Claire Temple on all the Netflix Marvel shows, and Finn Jones, who of course is Danny Rand.
The cast seems enthusiastic and energetic, which is kind of amazing considering they just finished shooting the first season at 9 a.m. in the morning. Much of the production crew is in attendance for the panel, and Loeb asks them to stand up and they received a nice ovation from the crowd.
It’s time to see some footage from the show. The first clip we see is, according to executive producer Scott Buck, the first scene in the first episode of the series. It shows a bearded, shoeless Danny Rand walking through midtown Manhattan, returning home after being missing and presumed dead for about 15 years. Danny reaches the building with his family name on it, and heads inside. He tells the receptionist he’s there to see Harold Meachum, and that he’s Danny Rand. The woman tells him to wait, and she calls security.
The guards throw Danny out of the building. When he comes back in, we get our glimpse of Danny Rand in action. In quick and fluid fashion, he takes out about six guards before hopping in the elevator. End Scene.
Observation: When the lights came on again after the scene, we saw the cast all sitting on the edge of the stage watching the clips. They haven’t seen any finished footage from the series, so they were as curious as we were.
The next clip we see shows Danny confronting Ward and Joy Meachum in a restaurant.
We learn that there is major history between Danny and the Meachum siblings, and serious tension. Danny mentions at one point that Ward was like a brother to him. But the Meachum family has taken control of the Rand-Meachum business, and Danny wants what he believes is rightfully his to be returned to him. The scene wraps with Danny warning the siblings that he has "Hogarth" on his side now, referring to Carrie-Anne Moss’ character from Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Will she be shown up? We can only hope!
Next scene: It’s in a hallway, there are a handful of bad guys, and our hero. The well-choreographed hallway fight scene is officially a staple of the Marvel Netflix shows, and this sequence delivers in spades.
Danny is trying to get Joy Meachum away from some fellows who appear to have bad intentions — wait, he’s trying to help one of the Meachums? What’s going on here?!? — so he has to run the gauntlet from one end of the hall to the other. While the bad guys whip out hatchets, Danny strikes a martial arts pose, and then it’s on!
He takes on the entire crew in a scene that is as well done as any of the memorable fights in Daredevil Seasons 1 and 2. It ends as Danny runs toward the closing elevator doors, trying to save Joy. End Scene.
On the panel, Finn Jones talks about how he get into shape to play Danny Rand. He describes his training regiment as two and a half hours each day of weight training and more than two hours each day of martial arts training, five days a week, for about six months. You see Jones’ face in a lot of the fight sequences, so it would appear he didn’t just leave it all up to the stunt team to do the fight scenes.
Loeb asks Dawson about Claire being involved in this show as well. They have a nice little back and forth about her being his ‘good luck charm’ and she fires back, ‘maybe you’re mine.’ You can almost sense what the audience is thinking - “enough with the flirting, more information!’
Dawson mentions that Claire will get her moment to kick some ass in Iron Fist. “I have a good sensei,” she says, referring to the Easter Egg in “Luke Cage” that shows Claire seeing a flyer with Colleen Wing’s martial arts training info.
Speaking of Colleen, the scene they showed spotlighting the character was surprising in terms of its raw brutality. I think most comics fans would have expected Colleen to be showing off martial arts skills. But thee scene we saw also suggested that the Colleen Wing we’ll see on this show will be much angrier and much less forgiving for anyone who gets in her way.
The sequence takes place in some sort of underground fight club. Colleen takes on two large guys in a cage match.She wipes the floor with both of them. Actually, that’s incorrect. The second guy, she continues to pummel over and over and over again. The scene ends with Colleen still landing haymakers.
There was a standing ovation for actress Jessica Henwick, who plays Colleen Wing. Not just from the audience, but from her castmates. We didn’t get much more info on her and we did not get any indications that the seeds will be sown to have her join up with Misty Knight to bring the detective agency from the comics to the small screen.
The last scene we saw was the most pivotal
It’s an intense exchange between Harold Meachum and Danny, who is restrained on a hospital bed. It’s a moment heavy on details that, if one were judging by past Marvel Netflix shows, would seem to be from episode 3 or 4. Anyway, Meachum reveals to Danny that he knew he was out there somewhere, but didn’t know exactly where.
Danny reveals he was in Kun’lun, one of the seven capital cities of heaven. Danny says he is one of a long line of people who is called the Immortal Iron Fist, a Living Weapon. He also says he is the only person who can stop the Hand (they played a key role in Daredevil Season 2). Danny seemed to be heavily sedated or drugged as Meachum peppered him with questions. Was Meachum trying to learn more about the Hand because they are a threat to him? Or is he working with them? It was hard to tell from just this scene, but David Wenham clearly seems to have been the right call to play the latest Marvel TV antagonist. He delivers a quiet menace that really resonated here.
The audience also got to see the world premiere of the official Iron Fist trailer. Lots of quick cuts showing many characters hitting people. The most memorable shots were the two quick moments where we saw Danny’s fist become ‘Like Unto A Thing of Iron!” It’s not only insanely cool, it also seems to fit well into the MCU. Certain things translate better than others from the page to the screen, and the way they showcase this part of the Iron Fist power - the glowing fist just before Danny clobbers something/someone - fit well into this world.
Here's the trailer:
After the trailer drop, the cast exits the stage.
Loeb starts talking again and is interrupted by a voiceover. Good Gahd, That’s Frank Castle’s voice!
Walking on stage is none other than Jon Bernthal. With a full beard and a hoodie, Bernthal promises the fans that he will do everything in his power to make sure The Punisher series on Netflix is everything we hope it will be, and more. Loeb also announces that the Punisher series has officially begun production.
One more Punisher note: Deborah Ann Woll will be playing Karen Page on the show. Woll joined Bernthal onstage for a nice moment where she talked about how much she enjoyed the Karen/Frank moments on S2 of Daredevil, and looked forward to working together again on The Punisher.
As if that wasn’t enough, then we received the highlight of the night: The first ever sighting of The Defenders!
Mike Colter, Krysten Ritter, Charlie Cox and Finn Jones walked on stage together, to huge applause. It was an incredible moment, and if the panel would have ended right there, just about everyone who was there would still call it one of the coolest fan moments ever.
But Marvel is Marvel for a reason. They have a flair for the dramatic.
So while the crowd is just starting to come down from that awesome Defenders high, Loeb then reveals that for the audience in the Main Hall of NYCC 2016 will learn who the villain in The Defenders will be. And then he introduces Sigourney Weaver. SIGOURNEY WEAVER!!
It was absolute pandemonium as the crowd reacted to the news. It was so nuts, a ‘Holy S**T, Holy S**T’ chant broke out. Even the other actors onstage joined in! See for yourself:
Weaver didn’t say anything, and she really didn’t have to. Seeing the Oscar-nominated actress onstage next to The Defenders was enough. We didn’t learn who she will be playing. But that’s OK. This night was about creating something special.
And for most people who were there, this evening will be impossible to forget.