Fist bumps: 10 Iron Fist characters that should appear in the show

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Aug 2, 2016

Finn Jones punched his way through a wall and into fans’ hearts in the first teaser for Netflix’s upcoming kung fu collaboration with Marvel, Iron Fist, which released last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. Danny Rand has been a fan-favorite among Marvelites for over forty years now, and a rich mythology has been built up around him since Roy Thomas and Gil Kane created him for a story in Marvel Premiere #15, but it’s still unclear what parts of that history the live-action version will take inspiration from.

Only a handful of actors have been announced for the show, such as David Wenham playing Harold Meachum, Danny’s father’s business partner, and Daughter of the Dragon Colleen Wing being played by Jessica Henwick, but we’ve yet to hear about any villains or other superpowered characters that might be popping up. This is fairly standard behavior for Marvel, and for these Netflix shows in particular, who’ve kept their plots and casts largely under wraps until the episodes are released.

That leaves me to guess and hope at some of the great Marvel characters that might be going a few rounds with the Living Weapon, or suiting up to fight alongside him. Some are longshots, some are near-certainties, and some we’ve even seen onscreen already in Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but all of them are worthy of getting in on the action when Iron Fist drops on Netflix in 2017.

Have a Marvel martial artist you want to see spar on the small screen, or have any casting suggestions for characters we’ve listed? Let us know in the comments below.

LEI KUNG THE THUNDERER

Why he needs to be in the show:

Lei Kung is an imposing man from the other-dimensional city K’un-Lun who holds the esteemed title of the Thunderer. He is the ultimate martial arts master with the thankless task of training all of the city’s young men to be unstoppable warriors. Being an immortal, Lei Kung has held this possession for all of recorded history, and as such, has trained all of the men and women to have held the mantle of the city’s champion, the Iron Fists.

Odds of seeing him:

Lei Kung the Thunderer has a lot going for him. Not only is he one of the most badass characters in the Marvel Universe, he’s also Danny Rand’s master, so unless the protagonist’s origin is significantly changed, it’s a sure thing that we’ll be seeing Lei Kung. The character is multi-faceted and exciting, and has the potential to be a breakout role for the actor who scores it, if they get it right.

SPARROW

Why she needs to be in the show:

When Lei Kung needed a new Thunderer after he ascended to being the new Yu-Ti, and he knew there was only one woman for the job: his adopted daughter, Sparrow. A childhood friend of Danny, Sparrow bonded with the future Iron Fist over their both being outsiders and orphans. Being a woman — who are traditionally forbidden from learning to fight in K’un-Lun — much of Sparrow’s training was conducted in secret, but that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the city’s fiercest warriors.

Will we see her:

Sparrow is a relatively recent addition to the Iron Fist mythos, with most of her story being told in the most recent Iron Fist series, Kaare Andrews’ Iron Fist: The Living Weapon, where she was forcibly removed from her position as Thunderer and her eyes were torn out by her adoptive brother, Davos. Her relative newness might cause the writers to overlook her, but she’s an intriguing character with an iconic look that acts as great foil for Danny, and the show would be stronger with her in it.

MISTY KNIGHT

Why she needs to be in the show:

Personally, I think that every TV show would immediately be better if they added a deadly African American woman with a sweet afro and an awesome bionic arm to their cast. But aside from that, Misty Knight is not just the other half of the Daughters of the Dragon with Colleen Wing, who’s already confirmed for the series, she’s also one of Danny’s most enduring love interests. Misty brings out the best in Danny, and he in her, and the Netflix versions of both characters won’t feel complete until they’re both onscreen together.

Will we see her:

The odds are pretty dang good. Misty is already being introduced in September’s Luke Cage series, played by Simone Missick, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see her jump over to this series as well. It’s exactly the kind of worldbuilding that’s worked so well in the shows already, like Luke Cage appearing in Jessica Jones before his own series. Plus, if the Daughters of the Dragon team up sooner, they’ll be able to have their moment to shine before being overshadowed by the Defenders.

ORSON RANDALL

Why he needs to be in the show:

The only thing cooler than Iron Fist is Iron Fist with guns. Orson Randall is Danny Rand’s pistol-whipping predecessor, who, with the Thunderer’s help, tricked K’un-Lun into thinking he’d died, and instead spent his time as Iron Fist adventuring and fighting alongside other early superheroes as part of Freedom’s Five and the Confederates of the Curious. He fought through WWI, succumbed to a nasty opium addiction, and inspired Danny’s father Wendell’s obsession with finding K’un-Lun. Orson Randall is a tortured soul, and did I mention he channels the power of the Iron Fist through a pair of guns?

Will we see him:

Marvel would be foolish not to be adapting the 2007 series Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja, and if they’re doing that to any extent, then we’ll be seeing Orson Randall. He’s a fun dark mirror of Danny in his rebellious slacker attitude, and he highlights one of the most unique aspects of the character, the historical legacy. Depending on how Marvel wants to use him, Orson would work as both a begrudging ally and a formidable enemy for Danny. Also, Iron Fist with guns.

SHANG-CHI

Why he needs to be in the show:

Shang-Chi is probably Marvel’s next most popular martial arts hero, and is every bit Iron Fist's equal in hand-to-hand combat. Shang is the son of a Chinese criminal mastermind, who had him trained to fight from a very young age. After rebelling against his father, Shang became one of the Marvel Universe’s most enduring heroes, teaming up with a number of other heroes such as Iron Fist and Spider-Man, and has even recently been an Avenger.

Will we see him:

There were persistent rumors earlier this year that the Master of Kung Fu would be included on the show, but Marvel remained unsurprisingly silent on the topic, so we still don’t know whether there was any truth to the rumors. But as I said, Shang-Chi is nearly as iconic as Iron Fist as far as Marvel martial artists go, and if he doesn’t pop up here, it’s hard to imagine where else Shang-Chi would find a place in the MCU. I’d call this one a coin flip.

STEEL SERPENT

Why he needs to be in the show:

Davos, a.k.a. the Steel Serpent, is the son of Lei Kung and has always been consumed with jealousy over Danny’s power. He has even stolen the power of the Iron Fist briefly on a couple of occasions, but was unable to control it the first time and was defeated by his father and Iron Fist the second time. He was eventually granted his own power by Crane Mother when he agreed to be the champion of K’un-Zi for the Tournament of the Heavenly Cities. Davos is ruthless, power hungry and unpredictable, making him a perfect choice for a primary antagonist in the series.

Will we see him:

Steel Serpent is the closest thing that Iron Fist has to an arch-enemy, so there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be included. He makes for an exciting matchup with Iron Fist physically, and is also conniving and cunning, and their rivalry is deeply personal and rooted in the story of K’un-Lun. I’d be shocked if Davos doesn’t make an appearance in Iron Fist.

MADAME GAO

Why she needs to be in the show:

Madame Gao was the most mysterious of the cadre of crimelords that Matt Murdock ran out of Hell’s Kitchen in the first season of Daredevil. Her backstory remains undefined, but the most popular theory is that she is from K’un-Lun or one of the other Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, due to her comments about being from a far-away place, and the heroin she was selling being stamped with the symbol of the Steel Serpent. My guess (and a large part of the internet’s) is that she’ll turn out to be Crane Mother, the Yu-Ti of the city K’un-Zi, and the person who gave Davos his powers.

Will we see her:

We’d better! There has been far too much setup of the character already in Daredevil, and pretty much everyone expects that to pay off in Iron Fist. Whether she’s actually Crane Mother or not, she’s definitely connected to K’un-Lun in some way, and will show up in some capacity.

WHITE TIGER

Why she needs to be in the show:

While she’s yet to appear on screen, we at least know that Jessica Jones has met a fellow P.I. named Angela del Toro, known to Marvel readers as the fourth White Tiger. While it may have been a throwaway reference, how great would it be to see it pay off? Also, White Tiger gets her enhanced abilities from a mystical Jade Tiger amulet, so the magic angle makes Iron Fist more natural fit for her than the other more grounded series.

Will we see her:

Probably not. This show has enough worldbuilding to do without needing to fulfill a throwaway line from another series, but I can dream! It would be nice to have her established so she can mix it up with the bigger guns in The Defenders.

THE IMMORTAL WEAPONS

Why they need to be in the show:

Okay, so this one might be a bit of a cheat, since it’s five characters in one entry, but the Immortal Weapons are some of the best supporting characters Iron Fist has! In addition to Iron Fist, the Immortal Weapons include the legendary fighters Bride of Nine Spiders, the Prince of Orphans, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, Dog Brother #1, and Fat Cobra, who are each champions of the other Capital Cities of Heaven. They were forced to compete in a tournament as their predecessors had before them, but they were eventually able to put their differences aside to become an incredibly formidable team.

Will we see them:

It’s hard to say. They could easily be the focus of the series, but if the first season of Iron Fist dwells more on his origin, then the big tournament and the introduction of the Immortal Weapons might be a slower build and left for a hopeful second season. But I’m optimistic that the show will take a different story structure than Daredevil, so there may be a good chance that we can move passed the origin quickly and jump right into the tournament plot in season one. I just really need to see Fat Cobra in live action, Marvel.

LUKE CAGE

Why he needs to be in the show:

There is no more iconic bromance in comic books than that of Power Man and Iron Fist. Before they join together with Daredevil and Jessica Jones to form the Defenders, we need to have some time to enjoy the unique super-best-friendship that Danny and Luke share. Iron Fist and Luke Cage are like peanut butter and chocolate, and the series just won’t taste right without some quality time with just the two of them.

Will we see him:

It’s hard to say. Mike Colter will have already appeared as Luke Cage in a significant part of Jessica Jones and will have had a season of his own by the time Iron Fist releases, so Marvel may not want to overexpose the character by putting him in a third series when he’s already slated to appear in Defenders as well. But not getting just Luke and Danny as a duo before they join a team together would just feel wrong somehow. If we don’t get Luke in this series, then I hope we can at least just combine the second season of both series into Heroes for Hire.