The second season of Iron Fist was a vast improvement over the first, focusing more on the supporting cast and introducing a compelling new villain to the mix — but things go legitimately bonkers in the final 30 minutes. It’s for that reason I’ll say something I never thought I would, especially after suffering through the first season of Iron Fist:
This show has to come back for a third season. For real.
Spoilers ahead for “A Duel of Iron,” the Season 2 finale of Netflix and Marvel’s Iron Fist.
The final episode of Iron Fist’s shortened second season (10 episodes, compared to 13 episodes the first year) is an odd piece of narrative work on the surface. The big battle between Danny, Colleen, and Davos comes to an end before the midway point, leaving a good half-hour for slow character moments and providing some breathing room for dangling plot lines. It’s at this point the show starts moving forward with what it could be and — arguably — what it should be if it returns.
Danny spends the back half of the season coming to the stark realization that he may not have been the best equipped to carry the Iron Fist after all. The fire was burning him up inside, to the point where he becomes obsessed not with carrying out justice or trying to clean up the streets, but simply just lighting up his fist and blasting things. He’s hooked on the power and the destruction it represents. For all his talk of balance, Danny has lost his center. It’s here the story takes its most interesting turn. Instead of following Danny’s quest to regain the Fist and become worthy of its power, it instead dawns on him that Colleen is actually best suited to channel the dragon. She’s always been his center, so why not the Fist’s center, too? Then he helps her take the power from Davos.
Yeah, that’s right — Colleen Wing is the new Iron Fist. And she can channel it through a freaking katana, and it’s awesome.
But there’s more than that to the story. As for how Colleen is capable of controlling a power that normally takes years of training (and a dragon battle) to control, it turns out she might be the descendant of the first-ever female Iron Fist. Danny comes to the realization that a family heirloom Colleen recovers is connected to the legendary Wu Ao-Shi, a pirate queen who once wielded the power of K’un-Lun. That explains how Colleen would be able to control (and, as we see via a flash-forward, thrive) with the power.
But more than the logistics, it made for a brave narrative twist unlike anything we’ve seen up to this point in Marvel’s Netflix run. The supporting cast has always been the best thing about Iron Fist, and Jessica Henwick’s Colleen the best of that bunch. Now she’s literally become the starring hero. It also made for a fascinating arc to put Colleen through, pulling her from the sidelines and making her not only Danny’s trainer, but a reluctant superhero in her own right.
As for Danny, he sets off to Asia (with Ward in tow) to try and find his own worth and chase down exactly where Davos got that former Iron Fist corpse in the first place. The time jump a few months forward also leaves us more questions than answers, as we see Danny, sporting a duster, light up his hands and channel his classic Iron Fist powers into a pair of pistols — firing off a glowing bullet in the process. It’s understandably wild and leaves a whole lot more questions than answers. Namely, how exactly did Danny seemingly regain his powers?
Some of the name-drops in the scene are comic deep cuts, but definitely could provide some answers. Danny and Ward are searching for a mysterious man named Orson Randall, and Danny apparently has some of his property and Randall wants it back. In the comics, Randall is a former Iron Fist prone to using two handguns that could channel his Iron Fist powers. Sounds familiar, right?
It at least seems like Randall was the one selling the former Iron Fist corpse, and Danny stole his guns. But does Danny actually have his Iron Fist powers back, or are they simply tied to Randall’s weapons of choice? It seems we’ll have to wait a while to find out.
At this point, Marvel and Netflix have yet to announce plans for a potential third season of Iron Fist, though it stands to reason one could be in the cards (especially considering the massive twists in the finale here). As a point of reference, Daredevil has a third season dropping soon, and production is underway on a third season of Jessica Jones. Still no word on a third season of Luke Cage, but it seems likely Netflix will order one at some point (that show similarly ended with a big twist, though arguably not quite this big).
There’s no doubt Marvel had the deck stacked against it bringing Iron Fist back for a second season. It wasn’t something fans were clamoring for, and the pressure was on to produce something that could get fans excited about the character again. Season 2 did that in spades, and if they follow these threads down the rabbit hole, a third season could easily be the best yet. Not to mention that a super-powered Colleen would only help the odds of a Daughters of the Dragon spinoff down the line, right? Right?